Excess sugar consumption is a major contributor to the alarming rates of obesity, diabetes, and dental disease that exist in many developed countries. According to the Credit Suisse Research Institute, close to 400M people worldwide are affected by Type II Diabetes. 4.8M people die of the chronic disease every year, a number that is quickly rising. Costs to the global healthcare system are estimated at a staggering $470B per year, representing 10% of all the healthcare costs. Artificial sweeteners offer a non-caloric alternative to sugar but have health concerns of their own, and are not always effective in maintaining a healthy diet. Saccharine, for example, previously used on a large scale, was abandoned as soon as it was linked with development of bladder cancer. Artificial sweetener consumption modulates the gut microbiota and raises the risk of glucose intolerance. Sweet proteins that occur naturally in some tropical plants can have a sweetness a thousand times that of sucrose. This indicates that proteins potentially represent novel low-calorie, nutritious sweeteners – superior to either sugar or artificial sweeteners. However, producing naturally occurring sweet proteins on a large scale is challenging and limitations of their physicochemical properties will constrain their application in the food industry.
Milis is a novel protein which will be 200 – 500 times sweeter than sugar per gram. Milis has a low caloric content, no unpleasant aftertaste, and no unhealthy chemical components. Using a protein as a flavouring agent guarantees that the ingredient will be low-calorie, easily digestible, and suitable for diabetics. Hence, Milis will allow consumers to enjoy their food without worrying about what’s in it.