Goodbye Sugar, Hello Fungi

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A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Adding sugar helps, but isn’t the most desirable especially when trying to eat a healthy diet. One company in Aurora, Colorado claims they have solved the need for additive sugars in nearly any product… using mushroom fungi.

Picture of Erin Sullivan in lab

Erin Sullivan for Newsteam Boulder

Though fermentation technology is an older technique, MycoTechnology is only a four year-old company. And, their innovative technology has blown away scientists who have been tackling the issue for decades: how to manage sugar without compromising flavor.

Marketing Director at MycoTechnology, Josh Hahn, explained these challenges, “So if you look at really any product on the market you’ll find adder sugar in everything. And so what we found when we went to these companies to find out what they were struggling with it was all around the formulation of the product.”

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 12.29.58 AMMycoTechnology’s solution is a fermented mushroom powder that can be applied to processed products during production, and naturally blocks the bitter receptors on a human tongue, discarding the need for additive sugars to cover up unwanted flavor profiles, “organic mushroom bitter blocker can actually block the perception of those unwanted tastes in products. So now you don’t need sugar to cover up things.”

From petrie dish, to flask, to a series of bioreactors, their mushrooms are fermented down to a powder that they claim will gut out the food industry’s sugar challenges from the core.

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Their product, called Clear Taste, can be added to artificial sweeteners as well to take away the lingering metallic flavor that most of them contain. This offers a solution for countless companies who have been wanting to offer zero-sugar products without turning away customers who dis-like those artificial flavor components.

According to the world health organization, the average american consumes more than three 12-ounce cans of coca-cola a day. That’s over twice the recommended daily intake.

Sugar, not fat, has been exposed as the lead villain in both obesity and diabetes. And problems with blood sugar kill nearly four million people each year.

Despite efforts in the U.S. to put calories on menus, provide more nutritious school lunches, major restaurant chains re-vamping their menus to include healthier options, and promoting these changes in ads and labels. And although medical intervention has helped the percentage of fatality from diabetes decrease by 24 percent in the past decade, treatments add up to an approximate national total of 176 billion dollars per year…. that’s more than 20% of all healthcare spending just on diabetes treatment.

The sugar epidemic is a crisis that needs addressing immediately. MycoTechnology has offered a very tangible solution, and one that has the ability to scale up. According to Josh, it would take only one kilogram of Clear Taste to vanish all the flavor problems in an entire train-car of wheat.

We spoke to Boulder resident and vegan, Sydney Martin, about her troubles in finding a solution to sugar in her diet while embracing a health-conscious life-style. It seemed like Martin had tried them all: from agave, to organic cane, to Stevia… if it tasted good it contained too much sugar. And if it was a natural sweetener, the flavor wasn’t ideal for daily consumption.

When we introduced the concept of Clear Taste to Martin, her eyes lit up, “not having to add a sweetener? I’d so be down for that! That’d be really cool.”

In the coming months and years, MycoTechnology is tackling the issue of protein. With 2-3 more billion people expected to inhabit Earth by 2040, sustaining enough protein to feed the population is a challenge MycoTechnology feels that can also address via their mushroom fermentation technology. Check out their PureTaste Protein. Their first store front opens soon.

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