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Mon, Mar 09
Searching for the perfect sugar substitute
Think of all the kinds of sugar: white for cakes, brown for cookies, powdered for frosting, turbinado for single-origin pour-over coffee, simple syrup for brandy old-fashioned cocktails. Despite these different forms and uses, chemically speaking, they’re all the same, made of a molecule called sucrose. Sucrose and its even simpler component parts, fructose and glucose, are packed with energy—but also calories. The ubiquity of sugar is a growing problem for global public health, as obesity has reached epidemic levels in some parts of the world.
But there are other sugars with nearly identical yet fundamentally different chemical structures, dozens of them, including some that taste just like table sugar but have almost zero calories. And now a Japanese scientist who had been working in obscurity for decades has found a way to make them all, using a microbe he found in a garden.