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FINAL REPORT Effects of Nectresse and Stevia on the Sensory Quality and Color Acceptance of Sugar-Free Brownies

Nicole Keally Sandra Merlan Leo Ontiveros Elizabeth Ramos Rodney Rodriguez

NTRS 410 – Experimental Foods Monday Lab: Section 02 California State University, Los Angeles 2 June 2014 Spring Quarter


The rise in obesity and metabolic syndromes such as diabetes has increased consumer awareness and created a demand for healthier food choices. Sugar as an ingredient is a culprit of increased caloric intake and with a high glycemic index should be avoided by diabetics. A more healthy and low calorie baked good can be produced by replacing sugar with a natural alternative. The aim of this research was to study the effectiveness of natural sweeteners as sucrose replacers in brownies. The objective of this experiment was to assess the color and sensory characteristics of sugar-free brownies. The independent variable was granulated sugar (sucrose) with Nectresse (V1) and Stevia (V2) as the variants. The dependent variables, color and consumer acceptance, were assessed with a colorimeter and nine-point hedonic scale, respectively. The null hypothesis for this experiment was that there are no significant differences in color and consumer acceptance between the control and variants. The alternative hypothesis was that there is a significant difference in color and consumer acceptance between the control and the variants. Sensory evaluation indicated that there was a statistical significance (p<0.05) among all variations, control included. Color evaluation revealed that there was no statistical significance in L* values between the control and the two variants, but there was a significant difference among V1 and V2. For the a* and b* values, there was a statistical significance between the control and the two variants, however there was no significant difference among V1 and V2.

Keywords: sugar-free, low-sugar, reduced sugar, Nectresse, Stevia, brownies, natural sweeteners, alternatives, substitutions, baked goods

Introduction/Literature Review/Objectives

It is inevitable to admit that the human palette has a high affinity for sweets and other baked goods. As sugar is added to almost all processed and prepared foods it is easy for any American to consume it in excessive amounts leading to health complications. Through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HANES) the Center for Disease Control most recently found that sugar accounts for 13% of the average American adult diet (Ervin and Ogden 2013). This percentage is relatively high, since the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that no more than 5% to 15% of calories should come from added sugars. Based on these findings consumers are being urged to reduce their sugar intake, leading to an increase of sugar-free, low sugar diets or products. Their demands need to be met by providing a low sugar and low caloric product, while retaining as much of the original characteristics looked for in sweet goods. Today’s conscious consumer is looking for alternatives to artificial sugars that are both low caloric as well as natural, creating space in the market for products like Stevia and Nectresse. Stevia is derived from the leaves of the plant Stevia rebaudianas and has been used in parts of Central and South America (Goyal and others 2010). It is 100 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar (Goyal and others 2010). Nectresse, on the other hand, is derived from monk fruit and other natural sweeteners (McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, 2013). According to their company site, the sweetness equivalence in comparison to granulated sugar is actually 100 times more. Even though these products are sweeter than granulated sugar, they are both natural and low caloric to calorie-free, appealing to many American consumers as alternatives. After thorough research and consideration, brownies, a popular baked good, will be prepared with these products.

The first study by Ronda and others (2004) looked at the quality of sponge cakes after replacing sucrose with seven different bulking agents and found that sponge cakes without sucrose still featured the similar qualities in taste and appearance. Sucrose was substituted in sponge cakes with maltitol, mannitol, xylitol, sorbitol, isomaltose, oligofructose and polydextrose. The color of the various sponge cakes differed based on the bulking agent that was used in their preparation. Researchers found that sponge cakes made without sucrose were more likely to be lighter in color, their (L*) values were higher, the only exception being the cakes made with oligofructose. Crumb color of the sponge cakes was also observed. The sponge cakes made with oligofructose resulted in the largest deviation from the color of the control, 20° from yellow to red. The cakes made with isomaltose also showed a difference in hue in comparison to the control, 7°, not as significant of a change as oligofructose. The remaining bulking agents did not provide notable deviations in crumb color from the control. Sensory evaluation of the sponge cakes was conducted with the hedonic 1-9 scale. The cakes made with polydextrose and oligofructose developed the strongest flavored cakes and on the other end, the cakes made with mannitol resulted in the weakest flavored cakes. Flavor intensity did not have an effect on the hedonic panel’s preference of cake. Considering the sweetness of the cakes, the ones incorporated with xylitol produced the closest taste to the control, followed by the cakes made with either maltitol or sorbitol. Oligofructose and polydextrose resulted in the least sweet tasting cakes. The cake with the best aftertaste was the ones made with xylitol. Overall the sponge cakes made with xylitol were the most similar to the control followed by maltitol, sorbitol, isomaltose, polydextrose, oligofructose and mannitol being the least similar to the control. Creating a blend of two different types of sweeteners is also another effective method to consider for baking sugar reduced or low caloric baked goods. A study conducted in Thailand,

found statistically significant sensory differences in 100% sucrose cakes versus cakes baked with erythritol-sucralose (Akesowan 2009). Erythritol-sucralose is a mixture of a sugar alcohol and an artificial intense sweetener. It is low in calories and has a reduced sugar quality overall. In the study there were four different variants, aside from the control cake, that used this sweetener. The control cake was made with 100% sucrose, while the partial erythritol-sucralose replacements were at 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% levels. The biggest findings were in relation to color, texture, and sensory scores. In relation to color, they found that there was a vast difference in lightness (L* value), but no differences in redness (*a value) or yellowness (b* value). The more erythritol-sucralose used in the baked product the darker the color of crumb. The control cake was more of a yellowish brown versus the erythritol cake that had a brown crumb. This is due to the thermal stability of both erythritol and sucralose that prevents them from reacting with amino acids and thus causing a Maillard reaction. In terms of texture, cakes prepared with the sucrose replacement variable were more cohesive, with fewer tunnels; however it was slightly less springy and tender. This factor can be attributed to the fact that this sweetener slows down the gelatinization of starch. Overall across the scale, the cake baked with erythritol-sucralose had lower calories than the sucrose cake with an impressive sensory acceptability. Psimouli and Oreopoulou (2011) did a similar study to analyze if polyols (mannitol, maltitol, sorbitol, and lactitol) along with fructose, oligofructose, and polydextrose can effectively replace sugar in cakes. Sucrose was fully replaced by the polyols on an equal-weight basis. A color measurement was taken for the crust and crumb on nine different regions, three times at each point using a Minolta CR200 tristimulus chromatometer (Minolta Company, Osaka, Japan). The measurements were averaged out and expressed as L* (0 for black, 100 for white), a* (-100 for red, +100 for green) and b* (-100 for blue and +100 for yellow) values in

reference to the CIELAB system. Compared to the control (sucrose), cakes containing mannitol and polydextrose had a lighter colored crust, the cakes containing fructose and oligofructose had slightly darker crusts. Mannitol resulted in a lower a* value (8.0) demonstrating a lesser redness, likewise sorbitol resulted in a lower b* value (26.9) demonstrating a lesser yellowness. Oppositely, oligofructose had the highest a* and b* values (18.0, 31.6). The color of the crumb was not affected as strongly as the crust. Mannitol (85.0) resulted in a significantly lighter colored crumb compared to the control. Fructose (64.4), oligofructose (69.4), polydextrose (74.2) were significantly darker. All of the substitutes, excluding oligofructose and fructose, increased the redness of the crumb. Oligofructose and fructose demonstrated an increase in yellowness. Researchers concluded that mannitol and fructose presented the most significant differences as substitutes of sugars in cakes. A different study explained the interactions of sugar replacement in cakes using liquid sorbitol (SO), hydrocolloids, debittered fenugreek seed powder (DFSP) and emulsifiers in cakes (Manisha and others 2012). The study showed that addition of liquid sorbitol (SO) increased the L* value from 69.5 to 72.4 indicating that the lightness of the cake increased. The b* value in the cake decreased from 20.5 to 19.7, which means that the yellowness of the cake decreased when adding SO. The researchers also stated that the color of the cake changed when adding the emulsifiers, such as Glycerol monostearate (GMS), sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate (SSL) and polysorbate-60 (PS-60). The results showed that GMS increased the L*value from 72.4 to 76.1, SSL to 78.5 and PS-60 to 78.6 and b* values decreased from 19.7 to 18.2 (GMS), 18.8 (SSL) and 18.4(PS-60) respectively. The researchers also experimented with the mixing of SO with Xanthan (XA) on the cake. The outcome was that the L* value increased from 72.4 to 78.8 and b* value decreased from 19.7 to 18.2. On the other hand, when addition of 10% DFSP with

100% of SO, XA, and PS-60 the L* value decreased from 72.4 to 67.8 and b* values decreased from19.7 to 21.8. In a different study that involved muffins, polyols (sorbitol, maltitol, isomalt and erythritol) were integrated as sugar replacers. Martinez-Cervera and others (2013) carried out sensory analysis to know the acceptability of the different muffin formulations. Sucrose was replaced completely with the 4 polyols to create 5 variations. The muffins were evaluated in a single session and each consumer tasted 5 different muffin variations. The acceptability of each muffin was scored based on a nine-point hedonic scale, ranging from a score of 1-9. Researchers found that for general acceptability the sucrose, sorbitol, and maltitol muffins had a hedonic score of 7.06, 6.25, and 6.43, respectively, with no significant differences among them. Meanwhile, the isomalt and erythritol muffins had hedonic values of 4 and 3, respectively. This study concluded that maltitol and sorbitol were acceptable replacers for sucrose in muffins while erythritol and isomalt were not. A study on color and sensorial characteristics on low sucrose muffins was investigated by Martinez-Cervera and others (2012). In this experiment, five (5) muffins were prepared and replaced by polydextrose and sucralose in the following increments for (PD-SC): 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. The finding of this experiment was that an increase in PD-SD resulted in an increase of redness (a*) and yellowness (b*) values of the crumb. On the other hand, the crust of the muffins did not show a significant difference in the darkness (L*) and redness (a*) values, but there was a significant difference in b* values in high degree substitution of PD-SC in the muffins. Furthermore, the researchers conducted a sensory analysis using a nine- point hedonic scale ranging from dislike extremely to like extremely. The muffins with 50% PD-SC had similar appearance, color, texture, flavor, sweetness and overall acceptability to that of the control. The

muffins that were substituted with 100% PD-SC had the lowest consumer acceptability because they did not like the appearance and taste of the muffins. These results led the researchers Martinez-Cervera and others to conclude that at 25% PD-SC replacement of sucrose altered nothing in the properties of the muffins, but further replacement of sucrose with PD-SC affected the overall structure of the muffin. They also concluded that sensory acceptability of sucrose replacement can go up to 50%, but at 100% replacement consumer acceptability will decrease significantly.

An additional study on muffins conducted by Zahn and others (2012) looked at the effects of replacing 30% of the sucrose sweetener with reabaudioside A, a stevia glycoside. Color characteristics of baked cookies were analyzed with a Luci 100 spectral reflectometer. The combination of rebaudiside A and fibers used to bake the muffins, produced a product that was similar to the reference one, made with pure sucrose. Stevia, along with different fibers, were

used to replace sucrose creating some differences among muffins baked with stevia due to the use of fibers. The value of L* (lightness) for the crust of the muffins varied from 52.1 to 64.9. The reference product had an L* value of 55.3 ± 1.85. The sample that was not significantly different to the reference were the cookies made with Stevia and the fiber inulin, which had an L* value of 54.3±2.58. The majority of the results showed a difference in the crust color of the muffins depending on the type of fiber used with the 30% Stevia replacement. The results of this study concluded that replacing sucrose with the stevia glycoside (rebaudioside A) to make a product similar to the original is possible, as long as the amount of sucrose being replaced is carefully determined and other ingredients such as fibers, are incorporated into the product.

In another study conducted by Handa and others (2011), short dough cookies were baked using a sweetener referred to as fructoligosaccharide (FOS). Fructoligosaccharide is both a low

calorie sweetener and prebiotic soluble fiber that is naturally found in plants as “storage carbohydrates.” This sweetener was used as a substitution for granulated sugar to produce a low caloric and fiber enriched cookie. With a control recipe of 100% granulated sugar and three variations of FOS amounts 40%, 60%, to 80% replacement levels, appearance and flavor for acceptability were analyzed. A nine-point hedonic scale was used by ten random untrained college students who consume cookies on a regular basis. The results found that there were statistically significant differences in 60% sucrose replacement for FOS in relation to color, texture, and appearance. The cookies resulted in a golden sheen that appealed more to the panelists than the control cookies. In terms of texture, the cookies were crispier and a bit soft, not hard and crumbly as the control products were. This can be attributed to the fact that FOS retains water more than sucrose resulting in inhibition of gluten development. For this reason, FOS is also less likely to recrystallize than sucrose, thus preventing future crumbling or drying out of the cookie. In terms of sweetness, there were no statistically significant outcomes. Sweetness seemed to decline with more FOS being used as a full sugar replacement. However, since the texture and color of the cookies in 60% partial replacement of sucrose with FOS were most liked by panelists, the score of overall acceptability was statically significant. This study showed that fructoligosaccharide can be used as a successful partial sucrose replacement in low caloric baked goods.

Another study examining cookies, Winkelhausen and others (2007) prepared home-made cookies were with sucrose, glucose, and xylitol (a sugar alcohol) to evaluate the physical and sensory characteristics and acceptability of the baked product. The cookies were all prepared using the same ingredients, except for the sweetener. They were made with 10.5 grams of table sugar, glucose, or xylitol. For the sensory evaluation researchers used the nine-point hedonic

scale. The hedonic scale showed that even though xylitol contributed as much sweetness as sucrose, they were not equally liked. Sucrose cookies were “liked moderately” (7) by 56% of the panelists, while xylitol and glucose were both “liked moderately” at 28%. In the “like slightly” (6) category xylitol was chosen by 31% of panelists and glucose only by 6%. Glucose cookies were the ones least liked by panelists. They were the only cookies to be assigned the “dislike extremely” (1) and “dislike very much” (2) category. The results show that changing a product that consumers know and expect to have a specific taste can be a slow process and may require additional modification in order to be accepted. The last study focused on the replacement of 20-30% sugar with Raftilose in biscuits. Gallagher and others (2001) revealed that biscuits made with the sugar replacer, Raftilose resulted in a darker surface color (lower L* readings). The darkness of the biscuits correlated to the amount of Raftilose, the more Raftilose in the biscuits the darker they were. Biscuits that were made with less than 30% Raftilose showed no statistical difference to the control. The biscuits made with 30% Raftilose did not show a notable difference to the control. Conversely, the biscuits made with 20% and 25% Raftilose did show prominent differences in color. The researchers concluded that the biscuits made with the largest amount of Raftilose produced the largest disparity in surface color. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the sensory and color characteristics of sugar-reduced brownies. The control brownies were made with regular table sugar while the variants with Nectresse and Stevia. Table sugar was replaced by 100% with these natural sweeteners.


The null hypothesis of the experiment states that there will be no significant differences in color

or consumer acceptance (evaluated through a nine-point hedonic scale) among all variants, including the control. The alternative hypothesis will state that there will be significant differences in color or consumer acceptance for all the variants, including the control.

Materials and Methods

All recipe ingredients for the three variants will be procured from local grocery stores. These ingredients are listed in Table 1 of the Brownie Preparation section of the Methods. The equipment for both objective evaluation (color) and sensory evaluation are available in the laboratory, and will be used during this experiment. This equipment is listed in the color and sensory evaluation sections of the Methods, respectively.

Brownie Preparation

Refer to Attachment 2 in the Appendix for the adapted recipe with original measurements and

Attachment 3 for Nutrition Label information.

Table 1: Brownie Formula


Sugar, white,

Ingredients (g)






Variant 1

Variant 2

Granulated sugar, white












Unsweetened cocoa powder








Large egg 2




unsalted butter




vanilla extract




Flour, all-purpose, white












* These numbers were obtained from product label, please see materials and methods.

All of the ingredients listed above were converted to grams using ESHA Food Processor

(Version 10.11 ESHA, Salem, OR, USA) from the standard recipe in the Appendix as

Attachment 2. According to the manufacturer the entire bag of Stevia was equivalent to 5 pounds

of sugar (2270g). The net weight of the container was 275g, from this it could be stipulated that

275g Stevia is equal to 2270 g sugar. The original recipe called for 1¼ cup of sugar which

converts to 252g. 252g of sugar was multiplied by 275g of Stevia/2270g sugar which equaled

30.53g Stevia which is the amount needed per serving for the Stevia recipe. The value 30.53g

Stevia was entered into the food processor to calculate the equivalent amount to 825g and which

became 61.58g Stevia, the amount used to bake the Stevia variant brownies.

The packaging of Nectresse claimed that 1 teaspoon sugar equals ¼ teaspoon of

Nectresse. Using the conversion of teaspoon to grams for sugar, it was found that 1.2g of

Nectresse is equivalent to 4.2g of sugar. 252g sugar was multiplied by 1.2g Nectresse/4.2g sugar

and which equated to 72.6g Nectresse per serving for the variant recipe. Once again the value

72.6g Nectresse was added into the food processor and adjusted to equal 825g, resulting in

131.80g Nectresse for the adjusted recipe.

The first step in preparing the brownies is to gather all materials needed for the

preparation of all brownies variants. When all ingredients have been gathered weigh each one to

obtain needed amounts for preparing the control and both variants. At this time, position a rack

in the lower third level of the oven. Oven should be preheated to 162.7 degrees Celsius. Prepare

3 baking pans with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides to facilitate

removal of baked brownies. When all ingredients have been weight start by combining the butter,

sugar, cocoa powder, salt and mix twenty-three (23) times, and then an additional forty (40)

times cutting the butter further into the mixture. The bowl is then placed in simmering water for

twelve minutes. Stir the contents of the bowl once at 2 minutes, stir twice at 4 minutes, three

times at 6 minutes, four times at 8 minutes, five at 10 minutes, and six at 12 minutes. The bowl is

then removed from the heat and allowed to cool, but still warm. The vanilla is added next stirring

mixture 4 times. Add half of the egg to mixture and stir fifteen (15) times, then add other half

and stir thirty more times. The flour is added next, combining it with the mixture until it cannot

be seen anymore. Mix an additional forty times and transfer to prepared baking pan and place in

oven. Place baking pan with control in the back of the oven and the variants in the front. At

fifteen minutes switch the control batter to the front and variants to the back. The control

brownies are to be baked for thirty-five (35) minutes and the variants (Nectresse and Stevia) for

thirty (30) minutes. When time baked is reach, allow to cool completely before cutting into about

1 inch squares, (a fan was used to speed the cooling process). The crust is not to be used, cut 1

inch into baked product to prepare samples for objective and sensory evaluations.

Sensory Evaluation

14 untrained panelists were assessed and recorded the extent of liking of the brownies by

selecting a category on a 9-point hedonic scale that ranges from ‘extreme like’ to ‘extreme

dislike’ (Refer to Attachment 1 in the Appendix). The data was used to evaluate the overall

acceptability of the brownie variants.


CIELab color was measured with a Minolta Chroma Meter (Model CR-410, Konica Minolta

Sensing Americas, Inc., Ramsey, NJ, USA), which was calibrated using a Minolta white

calibration plate No. 17333240 for CR-200/CR-300/CR400 with 2° OBSERVER to measure

lightness (L*), red/green (a*), and yellow/blue (b*) color values. Readings were collected from

the center of each sample. A total of two (2) samples of the brownies were randomly chosen per

variant (3).

Statistical Analysis

Two formal replicants were performed and raw data was collected and combined for analysis.

Descriptive statistical analysis, t-tests for the significance of the difference between the means,

and an analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed using Excel 2010. Alpha level was set at

P= 0.05.

Results and Discussion:

The results of the sensory and color evaluations are presented below in Table 2.

Table 2: Means ± Standard Deviations (SD) of S-free Brownies Results for Consumer Acceptance and Color





Color (L*)²

Color (a*)²

Color (b*)²


7.00± 1.87 a

29.30±4.31 ab

6.92±1.55 a

5.36±1.26 a


sugar, white

Variant 1 (V1) Nectresse

4.29±2.14 b

30.65±6.86 a

5.35±1.22 b

4.36±1.17 b

Variant 2 (V2) Stevia

2.71±2.00 c

25.32.±6.88 b

4.13±0.65 b

3.31±0.49 b

¹Means±SD of 2 replicants; 14 judges per variant within replicant one and two. ² Means±SD of 2 replicants; 2 readings per variant within each replicant.

abc Means within the same column with the same letter are not significantly different (p>,0.05), while different letters within the same column represent significant differences (p<0.05).

Sensory Evaluation:

Sensory evaluation was performed using a nine-point hedonic scale to test consumer

acceptance (Table 2). The control produced the highest overall acceptability score (7.00), which

represented “liked moderately” on the hedonic scorecard. Nectresse (V1) had a mean value of

4.29, which translated to “disliked slightly” on the hedonic scale. Stevia (V2) was “disliked

moderately” with a mean of 2.71. The hedonic scores show that the consumers preferred the

control over the two variants, with Stevia the least liked. The sensory evaluation results

demonstrated a significant difference among the control, V1, and V2. The null hypothesis for

consumer acceptance was rejected illustrating that the consumers found a significant difference

among all three samples.

Ronda and others (2004) reported that sugar-free sponge cakes produced varying overall

acceptability scores below that of the control which was 7.07. Xylitol, Malitol, Sorbitol,

Isomaltose, Polydextrose, Oligofructose and Mannitol produced scores of 6.87, 6.32, 5.26, 4.76,

4.23, 3.65 and 3.15 respectively.

Psimouli and Oreopoulou (2011) reported overall acceptability scores between cakes

made with certain polyols that completely replaced sucrose by an equal weight to create sugar-

free cakes. The control (sucrose) had an overall acceptance score of 7.9 while maltitol, sorbitol,

oligofructose, lactitol and polydextrose all had acceptable scores of 7.3, 6.0, 7.4, 7.4, 6.5


Handa and others (2011) found that the overall acceptability score for partial sucrose

replacement in chiffon cakes using fructoligosaccharide (FOS) was statistically significant. The

variations with sucrose replacement were done by 0%, 40%, 60%, to 80% replacement levels

and the sample with most significance was 80%. The overall acceptability was 7.1 versus 8.2 for

the control recipe. The other replacement levels, 40% and 80%, scored overall acceptability

values of 8.1 and 8.0 respectively. The more that sucrose was replaced by FOS in the cakes, the

lower the overall acceptability score the panelists rated the product.

Martinez-Cervera and others (2012) reported lower overall acceptability between muffins

made with sucrose and low-sugar muffins made with polydextrose as the sugar replacement

increased from 25% to 100%. Average scores of the control muffins and low-sugar muffins were

6.4 and 4.8, respectively.

Winkelhausen and others (2007) found higher overall acceptability scores in the cookies

made sucrose compared to the xylitol and glucose cookies, with score values of 7, 6, and 2,


The results are consistent with findings by Martinez-Cervera and others (2012) and

Handa and others (2011) in that the more sugar (sucrose) is replaced, the lower the acceptability

scores. Neither of the brownie variants had satisfactory acceptability ratings, in contrast to

Psimouli and Oreopoulou (2011) and Winkelhausen and others (2007) which found highly

favorable alternatives by replacing sugar with sugar alcohols.

Measurement of Color:

L* values for all three variants were low, indicating the samples were dark. The Nectresse

variation had the highest L* value (30.7) indicating it was the lightest of the three, while the

Stevia had the lowest L* value (25.32) revealing it was the darkest. The L* values demonstrated

no significant difference between the control and the two variants however there was a statistical

significance between the two variants, Nectresse and Stevia. The null hypothesis was rejected for

the L* measurement illustrating there were significant differences between L* values of some


The mean a* value for the control (6.92) was significantly different from the variants

Nectresse (5.35) and Stevia (4.13). However, there was no statistical significance between the

variants (V1, V2) themselves meaning they exhibited a less red pigmentation when compared to

the control. The null hypothesis was rejected for the a* measurement demonstrating a significant

difference among a* of some variants.

Similarly, the mean b* value for the control (5.36) was significantly different from the

variants Nectresse (4.36) and Stevia (3.31). However, there was no statistical significance

between the variants (V1, V2) themselves meaning they exhibited a less yellow pigmentation

when compared to the control. The null hypothesis was rejected for the b* measurement

demonstrating a significant difference among b* of some variants.

Ronda and others (2004) reported the lightness (L*) of sugar-free sponge cakes increased

up to 25% compared to the control sponge cakes. The only exception being the sponge cakes

made with oligofructose. Sponge cakes made with oligofructose had an 18% lower L* value

(darker) than the control. All the sugar-free sponge cakes were less yellow than the control

(lower b* value). On average the sugar-free sponge cakes were more red (higher a* value) than

the control.

Psimouli and Oreopoulou’s (2011) outcomes of cakes made with many polyols in place

of sucrose varied in respect to the L* values. The control L* value was 48.8 while Mannitol had

a very light color of 66.4 and Oligofructose along with Fructose had the darkest color of 43.9. In

regards to the a* value, there was a statistical difference among most variants. The control had an

a* value of 15.0 while Mannitol had the lowest a* value of 8.0 and Oligofructose had the highest

(18.0). The b* values showed statistical significance between the variants. The control had a b*

value of 29.8 whereas Sorbitol had the lowest value (26.9) and Oligofructose had the highest


Manisha and others (2012) reported that L* and b* values of cake when adding liquid

sorbitol (SO) changed. When adding SO from 25-75% in the cakes the L* value increased from

  • 69.5 to 72.4 indicating that the lightness increased. The b* value decreased from 20.5 to 19.7

indicating that the yellowness of the cake decreased. In addition, the effect of adding emulsifiers

on the cake change the L*value from 72.4 to 76.1 and the yellowness of the cake decrease from

Furthermore, adding hydrocolloid, emulsifier and DFSP also increased the lightness of the cake

and decrease the yellowness of the cake. The L*value increased from 72.4 to 78.8 and b* value

decreased from 19.7 to 18.2.

Martinez-Cervera (2012) and others reported that an increase in polydextrose-sucralose in

muffins increased the a* and b* values, but decreased the L* values in the crust. The L* values

with replacement of 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% polydextrose-sucralose were 65.61,62.43, 60.62,

and 58.35. The a* values were 1.58, 1.85, 2.06, and 3.36. The b* values were 20.66, 20.90,

20.65, and 24.53. These results indicate that the product became darker as more polydextrose-

sucralose was added and the muffins red and yellow color values increased as the polydextrose-

sucralose increased.

Akesowan (2009) reported that color is affected in cookies when sucrose is partially

replaced with erythritol-sucralose. He found that L* values among the control and variants were

statistically significant, however the a* and b* values were not. The L* values for 0%, 25%,

50%, 75%, and 100% erythritol-sucralose replacement were 53.45, 51.39, 51.72, 49.82, and

48.74 respectively. The a* values for the same replacements were 7.69, 8.38, 7.84, 7.84, and

7.94, while the b* values were 25.46, 26.27, 25.18, 24.66, and 24.75, respectively. These a* and

b* values indicated no significance, while the L* values showed that the product become darker

with a higher percentage replacement of sucrose with erythritol-sucralose.

Gallagher and others (2001) reported when replacing sugar with Raftilose in short dough

biscuits the L* values decreased as the amount of Raftilose increased. Biscuits made with the

highest level of sugar replacement, 30% Raftilose, were the only ones that were found to be

statistically different than the control.

Nutrition Information:

Table 3: Nutrition Facts for sugar-free Brownies Control and Variants 1

Product (g/serving)








Fat (g)

Carb. (g)




Control – Granulated white sugar (40g)







Variant 1 – Nectresse








Variant 2 – Stevia (40g)







1 All numerical values have been converted with the aid of the ESHA Food Processor for Windows (v.8.0, ESHA Research, Salem, OR, USA).

All brownies had similar amounts of fat, fiber and protein per serving. The Major

difference was in the amount of sugar per serving provided by the control versus V1 and V2,

The control brownies had 16 grams of sugars per serving while both variants provide 0 grams of

sugar, which was the focus of this research. By replacing regular sugar in the variants with

Nectresse and Stevia, the amount of calories and carbohydrates were also reduced. This indicates

that alternative sweeteners could be a good substitute when trying to create a sugar-free product

that is as similar to a slightly unhealthy product, such as the control of our experiment.

Conclusion and Future Work

This research explored the possibility of replacing sugar with either Stevia or Nectresse

with the intent to create a sugar-free brownie. Consumer acceptability showed that when

compared to the control, both variants were not acceptable replacements. Sensory data results

demonstrated significant differences in panelists between all brownies with the preferred brownie

being the control. The consumers disliked both variants, but the Stevia brownie was the least

accepted with a score of “disliked moderately”. The color measurements revealed that the control

and Nectresse were not significantly different. The Stevia slightly differed from both the control

and Nectresse by being darker. For the a* and b*, the control had slightly higher values than both


Further work needs to be done to create a more acceptable sugar-free brownie. Studying

the effects of fat emulsification in this baked good made with Nectresse and Stevia may lead to a

product with a higher consumer acceptability rating. The modification of other ingredients in the

recipe can also be further studied to improve textural qualities in the sugar-free brownies. A

combination of sugar alcohol with partial sugar replacement, for instance, may explored to create

a more consumer-accepted alternative. If sugar alcohols are not highly accepted, another

alternative would be to use full 100% Monk Fruit extract and other natural sweetener alternatives

to provide a better tasting brownie. Sugar-free product research is justified due to the growing

concern and awareness of health risks associated with sugar.


Attachment 1


You may rinse your mouth with water at any time during the test if you need to. Please taste the

samples according to the 3-digit random code provided on the samples and the ballot. You may

not go back and re-taste the samples. No talking during sensory testing. Check the box that best

describes your overall opinion of each sample

3-Digit Sample Numbers










Attachment 2: Brownie Recipe


Brownies - Control

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cold large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)*

*Not used in this experiment


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and

sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide

skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture

is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to

test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not


Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each

one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot

see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.

Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25

minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut

into 16 or 25 squares.

This recipe was adapted from “Best Cocoa Brownies” which can be accessed at

Best Cocoa Brownies. Available from:

108346#ixzz2RgPziNC5 . Accessed April 7, 2014.

Attachment 3: Labels

Control – Table Sugar

Nectresse – Variant 1

Stevia – Variant 2

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