Chocolate fans around the world did a happy dance yesterday when Nestlé shared its plans to reduce sugar in chocolate by 40%—while retaining all of the delicious sweetness. According to the company, "using only natural ingredients, Nestlé researchers have found a way to structure sugar differently. So even when much less is used in chocolate, your tongue perceives an almost identical sweetness to before." Nestlé isn't releasing specifics before they publish their patent—for now, all we know is that the new process will make the sugar "dissolve faster."
Sugar: the health enemy all doctors agree on
Sugar has been known to contribute to chronic inflammation, feed the bad type of gut bacteria (acting, essentially, as the opposite of probiotics), and throw hormones out of balance. With its negative health effects pervading public consciousness, it's no wonder that mega-companies like Nestlé are keen to find ways to reduce sugar in their products. If consumers can keep buying candy bars and stave off the detrimental health consequences of sugar - well, isn't that too good to be true?
It just might be. Dr. Amy Shah, a double board certified MD who specializes in gut health, is wary of the low sugar chocolate. "In the past, when they've tried to modify molecules or structures of foods to lower calorie or fat counts, they've come up against health problems, which makes sense," she says, citing how hard modified foods are on our gut in particular.
We love Nestlé for acknowledging sugar's negative health effects and applaud their on-going company-wide initiatives to reduce sugar in their products. It's innovation like this initiated by massive corporations that can inch us toward a healthier world. While we hope their new chocolate will be a gut-friendly, natural option for people looking to curb their sugar habit, we won't know for sure until the company releases more information. In the meantime, you can cut sugar out of your life the proven way, or follow in Dr. Shah's footsteps and simply treat sugar like you'd treat a glass of wine. "You wouldn't have a glass of wine in the morning, afternoon and before bed," she says. "Have a little bit and really savor the smell, the flavor and the feeling, so you can be more satisfied with less. Then you'll be able to cut down—no tricks necessary."