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Carbon isotope measurements of foods containing sugar: A survey

Chartrand, Michelle M.G., Mester, Zoltan
Food chemistry 2019 v.300 pp. 125106
C4 plants, added sugars, carbon, corn syrup, diet study techniques, human nutrition, ingredients, photosynthesis, product authenticity, stable isotopes, statistical models, sugar content, sugarcane, supermarkets, surveys, sweeteners
Over 200 sugars, high sugar content foods, and sugar-free alternative products found in Canadian supermarkets were analyzed for carbon isotope (δ13C) values, adding to the record of food items with reported δ13C values, which can aid in food authentication and human diet studies. The δ13C values of the products were mostly consistent with the photosynthetic pathway of the plant from which the main ingredients were derived. With the exception of those sugars and syrups derived from known C3 sources, all of the sugars and syrups and most of the sugar added to food products were from C4 plants such as sugar cane or corn syrup. Many sweeteners are chemically manufactured, and most reflect an intermediate δ13C value. A mixing model estimated the contribution of C3- and C4-based ingredients in foods with high sugar content, which may be used to evaluate the percentage of added sugar from C3- or C4-sources.