What ever happened to left handed sugar?

No. That’s not a non sequiteur hook for a subject line; I remember hearing about 10 years ago, that someone was working on an economical manufacturing process for left handed sugar. The theory was that sugar was a chiral molecule and the sugar that occurs naturally in, well nature, is an enantiomer. Which means simply that it has a molecule that is a mirror image, structure-wise. The left handed sugar taste just like regular sugar when you disolve it in your tea, but supposedly your digestive enzymes won’t break it down so your body doesn’t absorb it. It was supposed to be the next great sugar substitute, but I’ve heard nil about it in the last several years. Anyone know the scoop? Was it determined to be uneconomical? Was there a health risk? Is it all a part of a giant conspiracy perpetrated by the cyclamate giants?

The problem is that your gut flora ARE able to digest it. Results similar to lactose intolerance or bean consumption: lots of gas. A non-digestible sweetener would need to be much sweeter, so as not to feed all those cute E. coli. Of course, if it’s all THAT sweet, it could still have some caloric value, like aspartame, and be much less fattening.

Science fiction writers have been talking about the possibility of alien proteins in foods to make them indigestible or low calorie but filling and tasty. The closest we have come is Oleaster Oil, which I think is cool, but right now the cost of such products is far to high. (Buy 5 pounds of potatoes for $1.00 and a regular bag of chips for $1.99 but Oleaster chips cost $2.98!! Plus they have less than 20 cents worth of potatoes in them! I don’t buy Frito-Lay.)

What I recall was that the sugar was hard to produce. All (or almost all) sugars found in nature are right-handed, so left-handed sugar cannot be extracted from natural products, it must be manufactured and so are very expensive. Sorry, I don’t recall where I read this.

Virtually yours,

These words are mine and they are true - Chief Meninock

It seems odd to me that left-handed sugar would taste sweet. Why would we have a taste receptor for a compound that doesn’t exist?
If left-handed sugar can’t be recognized by enzymes that break down regular sugar, it seems unlikely that the tongue’s taste receptors for regular sugar would recognize left-handed sugar either.

I used to rock and roll all night and party every day. Then it was every other day. Now I’m lucky if I can find a half an hour a week in which to get funky.