Rare-sugar products raise dieting interest for taste, zero-calorie benefits

JIJI

Food stores are increasingly offering products made with rare sugars, which are 70 percent as sweet as regular sugar but contains no calories.

This kind of sugar helps to prevent spikes in blood sugar and is particularly popular among those looking to lose weight.

Rare sugars are not commonly found in nature, but researchers, including a team at Kagawa University, have developed techniques to manufacture it.

Officials of the Ministop Co. convenience store chain said products containing rare sugar are doing selling briskly in outlets near hospitals and business districts. On Tuesday, it launched yogurt-flavored desserts with rare sugar and acai, a Brazilian fruit, for ¥180 each, expanding its rare-sugar product lineup to five.

Lawson Inc., another convenience store chain, also offers a range of rare-sugar products, including desserts and alcoholic beverages.

Most goods on the market use a syrup containing 15 percent rare sugar, but a Lawson official said the company “hopes to develop products with 100 percent rare sugar in the future.”

Tea drinks maker Ito En Ltd., which sells carbonated drinks and coffee made with rare sugar, plans to launch a related lemon juice in early July. “Rare sugar is becoming better known,” an official said.