Qualitative differences among sweeteners

Susan S. Schiffman, Debra A. Reilly, Thomas B. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Seventeen sweeteners varying widely in chemical structure were arranged in a three-dimensional space by two multidimensional scaling procedures, INDSCAL and ALSCAL. Fructose, glucose, sorbose, xylitol and xylose tended to fall near one another. Two sweeteners with a syrupy component, maltose and sorbitol, fell further away. Ca cyclamate and the dipeptide aspartame were the two artificial sweeteners which fell closest to and thus tasted most like the sugars. The proteins monellin and thaumatin, as well as the chalcone glycoside, neohesperidin dihydrochalcone, all have long aftertastes and thus tended to fall proximate to one another. Stimuli with the highest metallic and bitter ratings (acetosulfam, sodium saccharin, rebaudioside and stevioside) tended to fall near one another with the amino acid d-tryptophan located a little farther away. Adjective scales were related to the spatial arrangement. Wide variability in the patterns of intensity ratings over subjects suggests that the sweet taste may be mediated by several peripheral receptor mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1979
Externally publishedYes


  • Multidimensional scaling procedures
  • Spatial molecular arrangement
  • Sweeteners

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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