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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #311328

Title: Sorbitol, Rubus fruit, and misconception

item Lee, Jungmin

Submitted to: Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/30/2014
Publication Date: 1/1/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Lee, J. 2015. Sorbitol, Rubus fruit, and misconception. Food Chemistry. 166:616-622.

Interpretive Summary: It is unclear how the misconception that blackberry and raspberry (both in the genus Rubus) fruits are high in sorbitol (sugar alcohols). In this review the levels of sugar alcohols are summarized from scientific papers. If sorbitol were consumed in large amounts, over 50g per day, it can cause laxative effects. Although at the highest sugar alcohol concentration reported for fresh red raspberries, a 140g serving of berries would contain only 0.042g of sorbitol. As most Rubus fruit has been found to contain no detectable levels of sugar alcohol, it is clear Rubus fruits are very low in sugar alcohols. This project was partially funded by a Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant from USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Technical Abstract: It is unclear how the misunderstanding that Rubus fruits (e.g., blackberries, raspberries) are high in sugar alcohol began, or when it started circulating in the United States. In reality, they contain little sugar alcohol. Numerous research groups have reported zero detectable amounts of sugar alcohol in fully ripe Rubus fruit, with the exception of three out of 82 Rubus fruit samples (cloudberry 0.01 g/100g, red raspberry 0.03 g/100g, and blackberry 4.8 g/100g*; *highly unusual as 73 other blackberry samples contained no detectable sorbitol). Past findings on simple carbohydrate composition of Rubus fruit, other commonly consumed Rosaceae fruit, and additional fruits (24 genera and species) are summarized. We are hopeful that this review will clarify Rosaceae fruit sugar alcohol concentrations and individual sugar composition; examples of non-Rosaceae fruit and prepared foods containing sugar alcohol are included for comparison. A brief summary of sugar alcohol and health will also be presented.