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Hello, Hollow Sugar! What We Know About Nestlé’s Sugar Breakthrough

Sep 13, 2017 02:00PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds

By Lisa J. Gotto

Too good to be true?

It has been maligned, denied, and largely tagged as a diet pariah. Whether it’s whole, processed sugar or its low-cal synthetic derivatives, sugar in the diet has become synonymous with being detrimental to one’s health. With that in mind, some food manufacturers who deal in sugar-based products are working very hard to give consumers what they want. And what they want are foods that taste every bit as good without all the sugar. Good luck, right?

Last year Nestlé announced that their researchers had developed a breakthrough that could decrease the sugar content in their chocolate by 40 percent.

Talk about an “A-ha!” moment!


The American Heart Association recommends no more than

Making a good thing even better, Nestlé states that the new process uses only natural ingredients. What the researchers have done is alter the structure of sugar. The result leaves your tongue perceiving the new product as nearly identical in sweetness to those with unaltered sugar. The company describes it as, “a completely new way to use a traditional, natural ingredient.”

As you might expect, the process is proprietary and currently patent pending, so we may never know how it’s done, but it is anticipated that we will be able to taste the results sometime in 2018.

At this point, given the bad bill of health sugar has been given by the medical and nutritional communities, it is reported that other companies are looking into ways to manipulate the sugar molecule. Nestlé is the only company actually talking about what they’re doing and to some extent what progress is being made.

So we have been drinking sugary soft drinks and snack foods for the better part of century now, so what’s the urgency in finding a fix? Well, perhaps we need a fix.


Americans currently consume an average of 30 tsp. of sugar a day.

In fact, since 1977 Americans have consumed at least 30 percent more calories per day from sugar, according to The Obesity Society. Why? Because research shows your brain treats and reacts to sugar in much the same way it does drugs like cocaine by stimulating your pleasure center. And like an addictive drug, the more you get the more you want. So steadily, and over time, we have become our own worst enemy and manufacturers were more than happy to deal in the goods—or goodies, as it were.

After all, the big enemy in diets a few decades ago was determined to be fat, especially saturated fats. So that ushered in the era of replacing the fat in foods that made things taste so good with guess what? Sugar. It didn’t take long though to realize despite the best of intentions, “Snackwells” were just the devil in a different disguise. And then in 2011, was the first time the words “sugar” and “toxic” were used in the same sentence. The seminal article, “Is Sugar Toxic?” appeared in The New York Times that year and opened up a much larger discussion about what is making us fat.


Worldwide, people consume 500 extra calories a day from sugarroughly the amount of calories needed to gain a pound a week. – The Huffington Post

So the development at Nestlé was hardly the first shot over the bow in the war on sugar. Over the last decade we have seen a shift away from added sugar in the diet especially when it comes to kids and what they’re consuming. We used to think that orange juice was a wonderful beverage for kids until we learned about all the added sugar used in most brands. Now we are seeing alternatives offering less sugar or natural sugars only, and we are even taking a look at those once widely popular sugar substitutes like Aspartame or “NutraSweet” as it is known.

For many Americans there are too many health warnings about the long-term use of these substitutes and as a result, sales of diet sodas, are—pardon the pun—going flat, and experiencing a 30-year low, according to Forbes magazine.

It may be too soon and too strong to say that what Nestlé is doing will be the panacea for all our fat and sugar woes, but if the research rings true, it could be a huge step toward living the sweet—and healthier—life.

Just how many calories this will shave off a Nestlé Crunch bar or a bottle of sweetened tea, we are not quite sure yet, but you can be sure that there will be an eager nation of sweet tooths willing to give them a try.

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