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Dihydrochalcone (NHDC)

Dihrochalcone, chalcones or NHDC are the uninformative labels that may be found on some 'diet' products. They indicate the use of the artificial sweeteners naringin dihydrochalcone (derived from naringin fruit) or neohesperidin dihydrochalcone - NHDC, (derived from citrus peel). Although the feedstocks are natural, the sweeteners have been chemically modified and so are effectively synthetic molecules.

NHDC is about 1-2,000 times as sweet as sugar, is stable under acid or alkaline conditions or when heated, and has a synergistic effect when used in conjunction with other artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame or cyclamate, as well as sugar alcohols such as xylitol. The adition of NHDC increases the perceived sweetness of these other synthetic sweeteners and so allows less to be used, decreasing the overall cost.

Unfortunately NHDC has an intense cooling effect on the tongue similar to xylitol, and there is a delay before sweetness is tasted. It also has slight licorice-like and bitter off-tastes, and a persistent after-taste. 

There have not been any reports to date of side effects, either anecdotal or in the few long term animal studies that have been carried out. However, this sweetener is almost always used in conjunction with other artificial sweeteners known to be harmful.

Please feel free to post your own experiences using the comments area below.


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