Qualitative differences among sweeteners

Physiol Behav. 1979 Jul;23(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(79)90113-6.


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 (acetosulfan, 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Humans
  • Psychophysics
  • Sweetening Agents*
  • Taste*


  • Sweetening Agents