Trehalulose is a disaccharide sugar composed of two glucose molecules linked together in a specific way. Unlike the more common disaccharides, such as sucrose (table sugar) and lactose (found in milk), trehalulose is relatively less known and not as commonly found in nature or used in the food industry.
One unique aspect of trehalulose is its chemical structure. In trehalulose, the two glucose molecules are linked by an α,α-1,1-glycosidic bond. This bond configuration differs from the α,β-1,4-glycosidic bond found in maltose (another disaccharide composed of two glucose molecules) and other common disaccharides. This difference in linkage gives trehalulose distinct properties and behaviors.
Trehalulose has been identified in some natural sources, including:
- Certain Microorganisms: Trehalulose is produced by certain microorganisms, including bacteria and yeast, as a metabolic product.
- Insects: Some insects, such as certain species of aphids and ants, produce and use trehalulose as a source of energy and a means of osmoregulation (maintaining water balance).
- In Plant Sap: Small amounts of trehalulose have been detected in the sap of certain plants.
Trehalulose is not as commonly found in the human diet as other sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose. It does not have a significant presence in most commonly consumed foods. As a result, it is not a well-known or widely used sugar in the food industry or in culinary applications.
Research into trehalulose and its potential applications, both in the food industry and for specific health benefits, is ongoing. However, it is not a sugar that the average person encounters regularly or uses in cooking or food preparation.
Trehalulose is a relatively less common disaccharide sugar, and its specific health effects and benefits are not as extensively studied or well-established as those of more common sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose. As a result, claims about the health and wellness benefits of trehalulose should be approached with caution, and more research is needed to fully understand its potential effects.
That said, here are some considerations regarding trehalulose and its potential health implications:
- Low Glycemic Index: Trehalulose has a lower glycemic index (GI) compared to other sugars like sucrose and glucose. Foods with a lower GI may lead to slower and more stable increases in blood sugar levels when consumed, which can be beneficial for individuals trying to manage blood sugar levels, such as those with diabetes.
- Prebiotic Potential: Some studies have suggested that trehalulose may have prebiotic properties, meaning it could promote the growth and activity of beneficial gut bacteria. A healthy gut microbiome is associated with various health benefits, including improved digestion and immune function.
- Potential Caloric Reduction: Trehalulose is not as sweet as sucrose, which means it may be used in food products to reduce calorie content while providing sweetness. This could be of interest to individuals looking to reduce their calorie intake.
- Limited Digestion: Trehalulose is not easily digested by human enzymes, which may have implications for its impact on blood sugar levels and caloric content. However, the exact effects on digestion and metabolism are still being studied.
- Safety and Tolerance: Trehalulose is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by regulatory authorities, but individual tolerance may vary, and excessive consumption of any sugar can lead to adverse health effects, including weight gain and dental issues.
It's important to note that while trehalulose may have some potential benefits, it is not a magic solution for health and wellness. A balanced and varied diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, remains a key component of a healthy lifestyle. If you have specific health concerns or dietary goals, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized guidance and recommendations.
Stingless bee honey, a novel source of trehalulose: a biologically active disaccharide with health benefits
Stingless bee (Meliponini) honey has long been considered a high-value functional food, but the perceived therapeutic value has lacked attribution to specific bioactive components. Examination of honey from five different stingless bee species across Neotropical and Indo-Australian regions has enabled for the first time the identification of the unusual disaccharide trehalulose as a major component representing between 13 and 44 g per 100 g of each of these honeys. Trehalulose is an isomer of sucrose with an unusual α-(1 → 1) glucose-fructose glycosidic linkage and known acariogenic and low glycemic index properties. NMR and UPLC-MS/MS analysis unambiguously confirmed the identity of trehalulose isolated from stingless bee honeys sourced across three continents, from
Tetragonula carbonaria and Tetragonula hockingsi species in Australia, from Geniotrigona thoracica and Heterotrigona itama in Malaysia and from Tetragonisca angustula in Brazil. The previously unrecognised abundance of trehalulose in stingless bee honeys is concrete evidence that supports some of the reported health attributes of this product. This is the first identification of trehalulose as a major component within a food commodity. This study allows the exploration of the expanded use of stingless bee honey in foods and identifies a bioactive marker for authentication of this honey in associated food standards.