Iron Fortified Sugar: Evaluation of Four Fortificants

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The objective of this study was to compare the impact of selected iron fortificants on the color of granulated sugar and two products sweetened with the sugar.

Granulated white sugar was fortified with NaFe-EDTA, iron bis-glycinate, elemental iron powder, or ferrous sulfate to yield an iron concentration of 0.12 mg/g sugar, with plain sugar as a control. Color change was monitored over three months by dissolving samples in water, and measuring the absorbance at 350 nm. A 12.5 g sugar sample was added to 250 mL of brewed green tea after each month and was monitored at 560 nm. Hard candy was made with each fortified sugar and the control (unfortified sugar), stored for three months, and monitored for color changes at 350 nm.

Color intensities of the fortified sugar relative to the unfortified control were as follows: iron bis-glycinate, NaFe-EDTA, ferrous sulfate, and elemental iron. These rankings changed little over time. Tea sweetened with fortified sugars ranked (most to least different from the control) as ferrous sulfate, iron bis-glycinate, NaFe-EDTA, and elemental iron. The candy didn?t visually change over time, although there were initial differences from the control candy. The color of the samples ranked (most to least different from the control candy) as iron bis-glycinate, ferrous sulfate, elemental iron, and NaFe-EDTA.

The best fortificant for sugar depended on the application. Elemental iron was the best for granulated sugar, but NaFe-EDTA was most suitable for the candy, and perhaps the tea, since the elemental iron is insoluble in water.

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