The food industry has spent decades searching for a healthy replacement for sugar. In that time, dozens of artificial and natural sweeteners have come to market, but none can do everything that sugar does.
And despite the serious health and environmental risks of sugar, our addiction to it isn’t going anywhere soon.
Humans are born with a preference for sweetness. That’s one reason why some form of sugar or sweetener is added to roughly 74% of packaged foods. One of the particular difficulties faced by the food industry is the ability to properly play the role of sugar in food products outside of just sweetening. For example, when beaten into butter, sugar helps cakes rise. When whipped into egg whites, it can stabilize meringues. Sugar interferes with gluten to make cakes tender and because it’s hygroscopic, sugar absorbs moisture and helps keep ice creams and sorbets from freezing solid. Sugar also caramelizes and turns crusts and cookies golden brown. Sweetness is just one role of many.
Because they’re not actually sugars, most sweeteners can’t do any of this.
Supplant™ sugars from fiber is a first of a kind — a blend of sugars found naturally in plant fiber that can be used in place of traditional sugar across the food system. Because the sugars in Supplant™ really are sugars, they can perform the roles described above and so produce products that look and taste great. It can caramelize and contribute to the structure and texture of baked goods like cane sugar does.
But at the same time, because Supplant™ is made from plant fiber, it retains certain beneficial fiber-based qualities. Supplant™ sugars from fiber is lower in calories, because — like fiber — a portion of it isn’t converted to calories. It has a lower glycemic response, because — like fiber — it is not absorbed into the blood in the way sugar is. Supplant™ is prebiotic, because — like fiber — it acts as food for the ‘good bacteria’ in your gut. With Supplant™, we can have our cake and eat it, too.
Supplant™ is made by upcycling fiber-rich parts of agricultural crops that often go unused in our food system, such as cobs, stems, husks and straw from wheat, rice and corn. Plant fiber is actually the richest source of sugar in the natural world. The sugars in intact plant fiber are bound together into long chains that scientists call polysaccharides. The most common type of polysaccharide in fiber is cellulose.
Dr. Tom Simmons, The Supplant Company’s founder and CEO, discovered a way to break those long chains of sugars in fiber into shorter chains of sugars. Scientists call these shorter chains oligosaccharides and, when they’re really short, sugars. These sugars can be as short as the sugar in traditional sugar.
Supplant’s promise to deliver everything we love about sugar in a form that supports health and sustains the planet is a revolution in food science. And Dr Tom’s vision isn’t just restricted to high-end markets, “with Supplant™ we really believe we make an impact that helps the health and environment of communities around the world”.