The Dentist Magazine.

Sugar-free taste myth busted

Published: 20/06/2017

New research by Peppersmith and the Oral Health Foundation as part of National Smile Month has highlighted a widespread belief that sugar-free products taste inferior to similar ones which include sugar, with half (52 per cent) of consumers saying picking a healthy option means compromising on taste.

But sugar-free brand Peppersmith have set out to bust this myth by raising awareness of xylitol, a naturally derived sweetener used in their mints and gum, which is proven to mean no compromise on taste with the benefit that it also helps to keep your teeth healthy. 

Commissioned as part of Peppersmith’s involvement in National Smile Month, the new research set out to examine consumer attitudes to both sugar and artificial sweeteners in their daily diets with some interesting results.

With this survey also discovering that many people eat confectionary every day, it suggests that more needs to be done to publicise healthier alternatives that don’t contain sugar or artificial sweeteners, especially with the £6bn annual cost of obesity to the NHS.

Peppersmith have been leading the way in mint and chewing gum as the first UK brand to be sweetened with 100 per cent xylitol instead of sugar or aspartame. Xylitol is a naturally derived ingredient sourced from beech trees and starchy vegetables. It is proven to reduce the bacteria that can lead to plaque and prevent damaging acid attacks, as well as having 40 per cent less calories than sugar and being low GI.

Accredited by the Oral Health Foundation and with numerous Great Taste Awards, Peppersmith bridges the gap between oral care, great taste and sugar-free. Their mints and gum are particularly effective when used after eating and drinking when teeth are at risk from acid attacks. 

Mihir Shah, head dentist at Battersea Park Dental and dental spokesperson for Peppersmith, comments that,“These results highlight a perception that there has to be a trade-off between health and taste, but this isn’t the case. I see lots of patients who aren’t aware of the impact of sugar on their dental health. I recommend Peppersmith as it's an easy way to keep your teeth healthy and protected, especially after eating. And it tastes great.

With nearly half (47 per cent) of people highlighting the health benefits of sugar free products as the main reason for buying them, Peppersmith are keen to publicise the dental benefits of xylitol and encourage consumers to make the switch from conventional confectionary.     

Mike Stevens, founder of Peppersmith, comments that, “With more people than ever looking to reduce sugar from their diets, there is a suspicion that they will have to choose an inferior tasting product or one packed full of synthetic ingredients. We are proud to show there is no need for this compromise. We produce mints and gum which taste as good, if not better, than their sugary equivalents, have a clean ingredient deck and unrivalled health benefits, especially in regards to your teeth”

In addition to scepticism about the taste of sugar free products over their unhealthy counter products, the results show that around a third (30 per cent) of consumers believe artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, are not safe in their food and drink. Aspartame is a common sweetener found in many sugar free foods and drinks and is often used as a replacement for sugar, but the use of xylitol has been proven to actually beneficial to health.

Peppersmith is a sponsor of the Oral Health Foundation’s National Smile Month 2017. They worked in partnership with the charity on this research which was carried out by Atomik Research to just over 1,000 consumers in order to understand consumers’ attitudes to sugar and artificial sweeteners.