A new technology in the food industry makes ordinary sugar twice as sweet—so food tastes exactly the same with half the calories, and without the controversy of artificial sweeteners.

By coating tiny food-safe particles with natural sugar like sucrose or glucose, the technology can trick the sweetness receptors on your tongue into thinking you’re eating a full serving. The startup behind the idea compares it to drug delivery in pharmaceuticals.

“Drug delivery allows you to take less of an active material and ship it to where you need it. . . . You ship less of it and you create less damage along the way,” says Eran Baniel, CEO of the Israel-based startup, DouxMatok. “We do flavor delivery. You take less of the active material—the active material being sugar in this case. But you still use sugar.”

Depending on the food, the technology cuts sugar by 25% to 55%. That means it’s also cheaper than a normal recipe. “If the coated particle were the same sweetness as sugar, it would be more expensive, obviously,” he says. “But what we sell is sweetness equivalence. If I’m twice as sweet as sugar you need only half as much in order to have the same sweet effect. So we are cheaper.”

The sugar-carrying particle is already a commonly used food additive, so it doesn’t require new safety testing. DouxMatok has already started testing it with manufacturers and plans to soon begin licensing the technology.

They’ve developed a version that can be used in things like candy or cake and another that could cut back sugar in soda, all while keeping the exact flavor of the original—and keeping people happier while they’re losing weight or reducing their risk or diabetes or heart disease.

“Health is not only a physical condition,” says Baniel. “Health is a mixture of the mental and the physical. The beauty of what we do is that we do not deprive people of what they like in terms of taste. We were proven—absolutely proven—as identical in sensory profile to sugars. But whilst we offer people what makes them happy mentally, we help them be happy mentally without consuming too much of what can really harm them.”

Image and article via Fast Company