What is Supplant™ sugars from fiber?

The Supplant Company is defining a new category of food ingredient: sugars from fiber. Supplant™ sugars from fiber is a brand-new blend of sugars found naturally in plant fiber. With Supplant™ sugars from fiber, your favorite treats can look, feel and taste like they’re supposed to. Because it’s made from fiber, Supplant™ sugars from fiber is lower in calories, has a lower glycemic response (compared to glucose), and is prebiotic. It’s made by upcycling agricultural side-streams. For example, in corn (maize), it’s made from the cob, not the kernel. In wheat and rice, it’s made from the straw, not the grain. These fiber-rich parts of crops are hugely abundant and don’t typically make their way into the food system.

How are sugars from fiber made?

In fiber, sugars are bound together into long and complex chains. The Supplant Company’s patented method breaks down the long chains of sugars into shorter ones, even as short as the chains in traditional table sugar. Those fiber-derived sugars then behave like traditional sugar in food. But because they are still the same types of chains found in fiber, they retain certain beneficial fiber-based qualities. Crops, such as corn and wheat, are harvested primarily for corn kernels and wheat grains. However, the main source of plant fiber in the world is actually not in seeds or grains – it’s in stems, stalks and cobs. The main role of these other parts of the plant is structural support. Despite being more abundant, they often go unused in the food system. The Supplant Company uses these fiber-rich structural parts of agricultural crops that don’t typically make their way into the food system.

What are sugars?

For most of us, sugar is just the white, crystalline, granulated sweet product that we buy at the supermarket. This ‘table sugar’ is known technically as sucrose, which is processed cane or beet crops. But there are over 100 different types of real sugar known to scientists.

As well as table sugar, other well-known sources of sugars include honey, syrup and molasses. All of these types of sugars are high in calories. But not all sources of sugars have the same impact on the body. Carbohydrates, such as starches and fibers, are composed of sugars bound together in long chains. The chains of sugars in starch are broken down in the human digestive system and as a result, starch-rich foods like potatoes are high in calories. In contrast, the chains of sugars in fiber are not broken down in the human digestive system and, as a result, fibers are lower in calories.

What is fiber?

The scientific definition of fiber is the parts of food components such as fruits, vegetables and nuts that don’t break down during human digestion. This is why fiber is low in calories. It is also a cause of how fiber intake can support broader health, including digestive health. Fiber is mainly made up of sugars bound together in long chains. In fact, plant fiber is the most abundant source of sugars in the natural world.

Why has no one “discovered” sugars from fiber before?

It has long been understood that fiber is made up of long chains of sugars but developing the process to unlock those sugars wasn’t easy. Dr Tom Simmons’ deep knowledge of carbohydrates and his extensive plant science experience made it possible, along with considerable trial and error.

With his plant science background, Dr. Simmons brought a new perspective to a problem that food scientists have been trying to solve for decades. Dr. Simmons’ approach was that if we broke fibers down into the sugars that they’re made from, we could get the best of both worlds. That’s because sugars from fiber retain 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. And because the sugars in plant fiber really are a type of sugar, Supplant™ sugars from fiber caramelizes, bakes and cooks comparably to traditional sugar, which is why it can replace traditional sugar at roughly a 1:1 ratio.

What is the impact of sugars from fiber on blood sugar?

Glycemic response is a measurement of how individual foods impact blood sugar levels. The glycemic response value is a comparison between individual foods and a sugar called glucose, which has a reference value of 100. Foods with a lower glycemic response value, below 100, impact blood sugar less than glucose. Foods with a value over 100 impact blood sugar more than glucose. A blood sugar study showed that the glycemic response of Supplant™ sugars from fiber is less than 15% of the glycemic response to glucose.

What is the impact of fiber on the microbiome?

Dietary fiber is the part of plant foods that isn’t broken down during digestion. But because of that, fiber is then able to become food for the good bacteria in our gut. For that reason, fiber is often referred to as “prebiotic.” It promotes the growth of good bacteria in our bodies, because it’s the food good bacteria feed on. Having healthy colonies of good bacteria in your gut is healthy, and not only in aiding digestion; science has begun to look more closely at how this enormous system of organisms influences — and even improves — health conditions, from heart disease to arthritis to cancer.

What is the regulatory process for approval for Supplant™ sugars from fiber?

Supplant™ sugars from fiber is legal to sell nationwide across the US through the self-affirmed Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) process. The Supplant Company will be pursuing further regulatory steps, including in different countries, as they continue to scale their commercial operations.

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