By using amino acids in combination with high intensity sweeteners, their bitter taste can be masked, according to new research from Ajinomoto.
Scientists at the firm prepared beverages containing arginine and the branched-chain amino acids valine, leucine and isoleucine, mapping out the concentrations at which respondents judged the drinks to be too bitter.
As the pH of the formulation increased, higher concentrations of amino acids could be used without creating a bitter taste. At pH 4.5, amino acids could make up as much as 1% of the beverage. This meant that pleasant-tasting sports drinks with 3,500mg of branched chain amino acids per serving could be formulated without difficulty, said the firm. The key to masking the bitterness was finding the balance between sweetness (from aspartame), and acidity.