Saturday, July 16, 2016

"Researchers have finally discovered the key to naturally stripping sugar from all our foods"

Mushrooms. Is there nothing they can't do?
From Quartz:
The global sugar-industrial complex is about to face a serious challenge—from a mushroom.

A young start-up based out of Aurora, Colorado is poised to disrupt how sugar is used in packaged goods. Three years after its founding, MycoTechnology is not yet a formidable force in the competitive food space, but its founders have forged deals with some of the largest food companies in the world, and are starting to command attention.

MycoTechnology seeks to answer a problem that has dogged food scientists for the last three decades, which is how to maintain a product’s taste while cutting back on sugar. The science behind its approach might be complex, but the concept is strikingly simple: By deploying invisible fungi molecules to camp out on a person’s tastebuds while they chew food, the company has found a way to block naturally-occurring bitter flavors that food companies have long depended upon sugar to mask.

“What we’ve done is create something that’s totally the opposite of a masking agent,” said Alan Hahn, one of the co-founders and CEO of MycoTechnology. “We created a bitter blocker.”
The mycelium itself is not a sweetener, it’s flavorless. But by working to keep people from tasting bitterness, it allows companies to cut back on the sweeteners they use.

A lot of foods are naturally bitter, including coffee, chocolate and many wheat-based products. To make them more palatable, companies have added ingredients—including sugar—to mask the bitter flavors. But as consumers became more health-conscious, and rampant obesity sets off red flags about the health effects of sugar, many food and agribusiness companies have begun searching for new ingredients.

Some of those sugar replacements worked for a while, but none of them stuck, partly because of their off-putting bitter flavors. Saccharin is about 400 times sweeter than sugar, but its metallic aftertaste turned off a lot of people. It didn’t help that for several years saccharin sat in the public crosshairs as researchers squabbled about whether it was potentially carcinogenic (it was later cleared)....MORE