It is already well known that too much sugar and high-fructose corn syrup contribute to world wide health problems. Artificial sweeteners have also come under scrutiny recently and not only do not necessarily provide any lasting benefit in reducing body fat and in fact can trigger increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even mortality after long-term use.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new recommendation to avoid artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharine, sucralose and stevia. This is in addition to earlier studies, including Israeli ones, that showed that six FDA approved sweeteners are toxic to digestive gut microbes and three interfere with Bacterial communication.
Despite all the issues and the recommendations on how to reduce sugar intake, the food and beverage industry still needs to come up with a safe way to satisfy the global sweet tooth. As in many other fields, Israeli companies rose to the challenge to help reduce the consumption of added sugar:
Made from cane sugar, Incredo Sugar is already found in snacks such as chocolate chip cookies, nutritional gummy bears, chocolate bars, hazelnut spread and energy bars. TIME magazine called it one of the best 100 inventions of 2020.
“You can plug our natural sugar easily into almost any food and beverage application,” said Udi Alroy, CEO and cofounder of CarobWay.”
The syrup contains natural sugars and D-pinitol, an organic compound with a sweetness about 50% that of sucrose. D-pinitol has been shown to lower blood glucose levels, among other health benefits such as supporting immunity and liver health.
“This is good news for prediabetics who desire to enjoy pastry confections and sweets,” says Monica Colt, scientific director for CarobWay.
Small amounts of allulose are found in figs, raisins, wheat, maple syrup and molasses. It can replace table sugar one-to-one, with up to 95 percent fewer calories and virtually no effect on blood glucose.
Allulose could be used in both solid and liquid products that would be labeled “no added sugar,” a critical marketing claim.
However, allulose was only approved by the FDA in 2019 as a sugar replacement and isn’t cheap or abundant enough to supply big companies interested in using it.
Ambrosia Bio proposes producing allulose from low-cost feedstock (sucrose, starch, or even food manufacturing side streams) using an enzyme catalyst.
Founder and CEO Ziv Zwighaft says the company plans to help clients revamp existing sugar refineries to produce allulose, providing “everything for the process from raw materials to engineering.”
Ambrosia is now raising funds to set up a production facility in Israel and is working with Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks to find the optimal organisms from which to generate its catalytic enzyme.
Dozens of American, European, Australian and Brazilian manufacturers successfully reduced simple sugar content by up to half in strawberry, cherry and blueberry juices, while preserving their flavor, texture and nutritional value.
“Fruit juices contain 10% or more sugar, with berry and cherry juices comprised of 10% to 20% sucrose and the remainder fructose and glucose,” explains Eran Blachinsky, cofounder and co-CEO of Better Juice. “Our technology reduces loads of all three of these simple sugars.”
The sugar-reduction beads are non-GMO microorganisms that naturally convert the juice’s sugars into prebiotic oligosaccharides and other non-digestible fibers.
“Our first product, Sweelin, is a sustainable, 100% sweet protein that can reduce 40% to 70% of added sugar in a wide variety of food and beverages, without changing the consumer taste experience,” said CEO and founder Ilan Samish.
“The novel proteins mimic proteins that reside in harsh conditions, such as the Dead Sea, hot springs or acidic swamps, and are thus fit for the requirements for the mass food market.”
Lycored notes that Sante is approved as a flavoring in the US and EU, certified kosher and halal, and can help manufacturers “clean up your nutrition facts panels and remove added sugars from your ingredients list.”
The active ingredient is a native Indian natural botanical, gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre), known in traditional medicine as the “sugar destroyer” due to its ability to block the tongue’s taste receptors for sweetness and slow intestinal absorption of sugars.
In an independent consumer study of 80 participants, more than 80% reported cutting down on their intake of sweets by chewing Sweet Victory at least three times a day, either after meals, between meals, or whenever experiencing a sugar craving. Nine out of 10 participants reported measurable weight loss during the two-week trial.
“A significant decrease in the consumption of sweets was observed from the fourth day until the end of the experiment compared to the first days, suggesting an enduring effect,” said cofounder and psychologist Gitit Lahav.
Fruitlift can be added to flour mixtures of puffed cereals in a variety of mild fruity flavors or sprayed onto finished cereal. Each formulation can be designed according to the manufacturer’s needs.
Fruitlift was conceived for Gat Foods by Practical Innovation, an Israeli company that finds new growth engines for traditional industries, in this case fruit-based beverage and food solutions.
Here’s wishing all of us a healthy, happy and sweet year!