Israeli Company Replicates DNA of Sweet Fruit to Create a Better Sugar Alternative

Sugar overconsumption was condemned by global health organizations to be the world’s largest health challenge, as it underlies diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Israeli-based company Amai Proteins (“amai” is sweet in Japanese) has taken a novel approach to combating these diseases by replacing the sweet carbohydrate-based additives in food with a protein that will satisfy taste buds, but will neither raise the sugar levels in the body nor impose calories. Moreover, it is a healthy alternative as it is digested as a protein and, unlike other sugar substitutes, does not interact with the microbiome, liver, or kidneys. The company employed  computer protein design, or CPD technology, to study the protein structure of sweet proteins and redesign their amino-acid sequence to fit the mass food market. Just like brewing beer, the protein is produced by yeast fermentation, and the resulting designer protein is 10,000 times sweeter than sugar, tastes like sugar, and is stable for pasteurization. The company is customizing the product further to be suitable for additional applications, and is in talks with multinational food and beverage companies that are looking to introduce the Amai sweetener in their global products.