We, as a society, eat a lot of sugar. In Starbucks, in soda, and… just about everywhere else… we consume more sugar than we should. Many claim it’s an active health problem, and recently it’s been revealed that the sugar industry has been hiding links between sugar consumption and heart disease for fifty years. Which is all to say: Nestle announcing it has a new, healthier form of sugar on the way for 2018 is an enormous deal.
The full details of this “super sugar” (our name, let’s make it a thing) are currently under wraps, as Nestle is seeking to patent it. The basic science, however, is simple enough. Your typical sugar crystal is a dense lattice, and when you eat it, your body breaks it down and sends the sugars spiraling around your system. Simple sugars, like the sucrose in your sugar bowl, break down quickly, while more complex ones, like from whole grains and veggies, take a longer time to get broken up and shipped out. Nestle claims to have rebuilt the sugar into a different shape that has fewer sugars; the claim is that it’s more of a hollow globe. So, when you eat it, the sugar is still there to trigger your taste receptors, but you’re consuming less chemical energy overall, and thus there’s less actual sugar hitting your system. It’s basically a sugar-based reverse Trojan Horse (the molecule is empty, which is a good thing).
Nestle doesn’t claim to have the magical sugary bullet, however. It’s not going to work to sweeten liquids such as coffee or soda, and sweet drinks are, by far, the most likely source of added sugar in the average diet. However, it does claim that the sugar in its candy and baked goods will descrease by up to 40%.
That would, for example, reduce the sugar in your typical Butterfinger from 24 grams to about 15.