Sweetness can be a minefield in the pathway of current consumer migration toward low-calorie and natural foods and beverages. Science has long demonstrated that humans are hardwired to love sweets. Throughout early history, sweet taste was paramount to survival, helping humans distinguish edible, nutritious and caloric foods from poisonous, inedible or low-caloric ones. This is a fact lately stressed by Brian Wansink, PhD, one of the premier researchers into the crossroad where eating behavior and nutrition meet.
The discovery of natural sweeteners, such as honey, led to their use to impart sweetness to other foods. While honey was probably one of the earliest sweets—consumed since prehistoric times—sugar cane is believed to be first cultivated. Evidence of processed sugar cane has been found in Papua, New Guinea, dating back 8,000 years, and mounds of processed hard sugar were documented about 2,500 years ago during the Persian invasion of India.