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Alex Heigl
December 01, 2016 01:05 PM

Can you imagine a Kit Kat with 40 percent less sugar? What if it’s on a molecular level?

Nestlé has announced that its researchers have found a way to alter the subatomic structure of natural sugar in such a way that it can use over a third less of the substance in its products without altering their taste. Basically, their work hollows out the structure of sugar crystals so that they dissolve more quickly, in effect fooling your tastebuds into thinking that they’re consuming more sweet stuff than they are.

Nestlé’s chief technology officer, Stefan Catsicas, called the innovation — which the company intends to patent, then implement in 2018 — “truly groundbreaking research.” It’s an extension of the company’s 2007 promise to cut sugar in its products on a global level.

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Currently, your average four-bar Kit Kat contains 23.8 grams of sugar; with the new sugar molecules in place, that would be cut to 14.3 grams. That’s about three cubes’ worth, per Sugar Stacks.

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Nestlé isn’t alone in its molecular hacking of taste: Pepsi introduced a proprietary salt molecule in 2010 that similarly promised to reduce the amount of sodium in its snacks (like Cheetos) without affecting the taste.

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