Sugar has become a hot topic because of the role it plays in diabetes and obesity. Sugar has become a hot topic because of the role it plays in diabetes and obesity. Sugar has become a hot topic because of the role it plays in diabetes and obesity. (Photo: Evgeniy Agarkov/Shutterstock)

Go light on sugar but not on sweet with new technology

A new solution may just be the answer to our sugar addiction.

As more and more Americans are stricken with diet-induced diseases, sugar has become increasingly villainized, and for good reason: it's a major contributor to the epidemic. In high quantities, sugar can wreak havoc on the human body – blamed for everything from cancer to heart disease to tooth decay.

Geoff Norris, a nutritionist in Atlanta, told From The Grapevine that regulating sugar intake is a necessity. "Other than type two diabetes and tooth decay, sugar is also an empty calorie that is easily stored as fat. This is increasingly noticeable in our youth today. So cutting back on the consumption of sugar is beneficial in many different ways."

But it's not so easy to cut back on sugar, which some studies indicate may be addictive. Artificial sweeteners provide an alternative, but new data shows they also have very real health consequences. And regulating it, as Norris suggests, is easier said than done. Try reducing the number of sugars you add to your coffee and you've got a different drink, one decidedly less gratifying.

One company, however, plans to make it possible to cut back on sugar without a reduction in taste. DouxMatok, based in Israel, says it has developed, successfully tested and is currently optimizing technologies to make sugars with enhanced sweetness, enabling the use of considerably less sugar in a variety of food products and beverages while retaining the same “full sugar experience."

"One of the hottest subjects there is in terms of needing to achieve a reduction, for obvious reasons, is sugar," Eran Baniel, co-founder and CEO of DouxMatok, told From The Grapevine. He cited diabetes and obesity as two of the most widespread diseases associated with sugar consumption.

DouxMatok wants you to be able to enjoy your sweets while reducing the harm done to your body.DouxMatok wants you to be able to enjoy your sweets while reducing the harm done to your body. (Photo: ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock)

"The problem is in food and beverage, taste is king," explained Baniel. "People will not give up what they like, for the most part, even if their health is going to suffer. And most people won't compromise for artificial sweeteners or Stevia because of the aftertaste."

DouxMatok worked with Boston-based Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry to create its proprietary solution. Its criteria was to create a sugar with significantly lower caloric value, a similar energizing effect and no aftertaste.

What they've created is a sugar that makes the mind think it's consuming more of the sweet stuff than it actually is, thereby reducing the amount of sugar needed. This is done by coating fibers in the food with sugar or polyol molecules, and then “transporting” those clusters of sugar molecules and unloading them on the sweet taste receptors.

According to DouxMatok, the effectiveness of the enhancement varies between 30% and 100%, depending on the application (beverages, candies, dairy foods, baked products, dressings and so forth).

All this means DouxMatok is starting to catch the attention of people who matter. At Agrivest, an agriculture and technology convention held annually in Israel, DouxMatok took home the award for Best New Company. Baniel also said that many major food manufacturers have begun to express interest. As the conversation around the matter continues to grow, you can be certain DouxMatok will be in the mix.

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Related Topics: Healthy eating, Science