The Latest In Fake Sugar

from the sweeeeet dept

I’m sure those who read Techdirt who are a bit more tuned into the chemistry world may have more to say about this article, but Wired Magazine is reporting about the latest sugar substitute, called tagatose, which is all natural, looks, tastes and cooks like sugar (it is actually a form of sugar), has 38% of the calories, prevents weight gain, doesn’t cause cavities, is safe for diabetics and may even help fight disease. It also happens to be invented (accidentally) by the guy who came up with the experiment that might (or might not) have discovered that there was life on Mars. The guy has been working on this sugar substitute for ages, and it’s finally coming to market. An interesting read, though, a lot of my skepticism alarms went off reading the story. I’d be interested to see what those who know more about chemistry have to say about the article.

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Comments on “The Latest In Fake Sugar”

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mhh5 says:

Old news...

This sugar is a kind of sugar that humans don’t metabolize. If you remember your organic chemistry, many biological compounds are “left or right” handed (aka chiral). It’s slightly more complicated b/c sugars can have multiple chiral centers, but this sugar is not digestible to humans due to its chirality or handedness.

The unwritten issue is that since this is a natural sugar, it has the same sweetness of regular sugar, so on a weight basis it is no more effective than regular sugar and costs more. Other artificial sweeteners are orders of magnitude sweeter on a weight basis…

John Bartley K7AAY (user link) says:

Tagatose article

Have provided it to my wife, a chemist who works for a laboratory instrumentation company whose equipment is used by Big Names in the food & beverage industry. At first blush, when I mentioned the concept, she found it reasonable. I’ll check back after she has actually read it.

However, the responder who expected tagatose to taste exactly like sucrose may not be entirely accurate. Some of the taste processes themselves are chiral, soit might (or might not) taste the same.

Time will tell; I don’t think we will be seeing Sinister Coke in bottles & cans very soon.

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