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This Chocolate Won’t Spike Blood Sugar & You’ll Never Guess What It’s Made From

Supplant founder Thomas Simmons, Ph.D., first got the idea to start his company four years ago while working as a plant scientist. He was one of many researchers looking into ways to transform agricultural fibers–the structural parts of plants that protect the seeds inside–into usable products.

As it stands now, we eat a relatively small portion of the food that we grow. Ninety percent of the time, plant fibers like the cobs of corn or the stalks of wheat are thrown away, burned, or used around the farm for things like animal bedding.

These tough fibers are composed of sugar molecules that are held together in a way that is impossible for humans to digest, making them pretty worthless to us. But Simmons wondered if it was possible to give this material new value by breaking it down into edible sugars.

He proved it’s possible with Supplant. The product is made by physically crushing the plant fibers (sourced from farms in Europe) into smaller pieces–then recruiting fungi to break them down even further. These fungi produce enzymes that are uniquely equipped to break down the fiber on a molecular level, into chains that are short enough to resemble the sugar we’re used to.

The result is a white powder that tastes and acts just like table sugar but has half the calories. And, unlike other low-calorie sugar substitutes, it retains the natural properties of fiber (which most Americans aren’t getting the recommended daily intake of): It’s prebiotic with a relatively low glycemic index, meaning it’s less likely to spike blood sugar than a typical sweet treat.

The chocolate bar on my desk, made in partnership with chef Thomas Keller, is the first product to launch using the healthier and more sustainable sugar, but likely not the last.

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