About °Bx and The Science of Sweetness

Chemistry Class

The term Brix or °Bx is used to describe both degree of sweetness and amount of sugar. Technically, Brix (°Bx) is a measure of the amount of dissolved solids in a liquid via its specific gravity, and is used to measure dissolved sugar. One degree Brix is 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution.


Diabetics use BRIX to detect sugars, as the level of sugar in the urine can be measured in Brix, which is percentage of total sugars in a solution. If urine contains 2% total sugar or total carbohydrate, the Brix reading is 2.0. This information helps them keep their blood sugar levels in range.


The degree of BRIX (°Bx as DEGREES BRIX) level varies in carbohydrates, sugars, sweeteners and other elements, foods and beverages (and edibles/consumables), juices, and anything that contains sugars, carbohydrates, juice or juice extracts, fruit and fruit extracts, corn syrups, maltodextrins, glucose polymers, vegetables, and plant extracts or other oral ingested substances that have a Brix value.


Depending on the degree of processing, fruit juice sweeteners contribute primarily carbohydrates in the form of sugars. Structurally, they include monosaccharides and disaccharides. 


The United States FDA and USDA have strict guidelines on Brix. 


As an example: “If a batch of apple juice, for example, contains less than its USDA minimum Brix of 11.5°, a manufacturer can add apple juice concentrate to standardize sugar content without having to count the concentrate as added sugars” The USDA requires manufacturers to maintain written records of the amount  of sugars added to a food or a beverage during processing and of the source(s) of Brix values used for any calculations.

Anything orally ingested in humans that carries a glycemic value and a Brix value, helps provide day-to-day management of blood glucose. For decades, the Glycemic Index has been acknowledged as the Gold Standard for determining GI, Glycemic Load, and Insulin Index (particularly by Harvard University). 


The Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load are related to °Bx. The GI and GL are numerically defined, and °Bx is typically numerically defined, whereas the Glycemic Impact is not numerically defined in all cases. Clinical trial results are used in determining Glycemic Impact, whereas °Bx is a mathematical equation.