Sugar Matrix Project
Sugar Project – Volunteers Needed
When Dr. Robert Lustig, Medical Advisor to the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation, wrote “Sugar has 56 Names”, he only scratched the surface of all the other names that have now been reported. We are aware of over 300 names, but the food industry is constantly thinking up new names for sugar. If you have hypoglycemia, or any other metabolic disorder, it is vital to be aware of added sugars in your diet. But how can we identify them if we don’t know their names?
Please help us, Dr. Robert Lustig, and an innovative start up called “perfact” collect basic data on added sugars so we can publish an updated “sugar matrix” in a collaborative open-knowledge format. If your contribution is helpful, you will be listed as a contributor. Check out this recent story about our efforts by Manya Goldstein.
If interested, simply email sugar matrix facilitator Wolfram Alderson ([email protected]) and include “Sugar Project” in the message header.
Meet Tom Gassner, Team Leader for the Sugar Matrix Project. Tom holds a degree in Exercise Physiology and Sports Administration (find him on LinkedIn). Once you sign up, Tom will be your liason for the Sugar Project.
If only “added sugars” could be so simple!
Sugar Project Details
In the ongoing “Food Choices Survey,” an overwhelming response to the question: “If you could only choose one substance, ingredient, or type of food (sugar, fat, preservatives, etc.) to filter out of your food supply, what would it be?” is, drum roll, “sugar” (68% of survey participants.)
The goal of the Sugar Project is to define what constitutes “added sugar” on a scientific basis. This entails defining what constitutes sugar first. For example, along the process from a corn grain via flour, starch, dextrin, maltodextrin, glucose syrup and high fructose corn syrup, where lies the border between sugar and non-sugar? Understanding the biochemistry of these sugars and their metabolic impacts is key.
This academically oriented project is independent and complementary to definitions put forward by regulatory bodies which are ultimately subject to political processes such as the FDA or FAO.
This project is carried out as a distributed, expert-supervised meta-study of saccharide research studies, and requires advanced academic skills. It entails the following steps:
- Contributors pick or are assigned a candidate substance (If there are more contributors than substances, substances are assigned to multiple contributors in parallel.)
- Contributors fill out and return a substance report form which has been approved by experts in the field. Contributors cite references that are as close to the original research as possible. The cited references are weighed by degree of confidence and evidence-base.
- Experts review the substance return forms and do one of the following:
- make a final decision on whether the substance constitutes sugar by the Sugar Project’s definition
- change the Sugar Project’s definition of what constitutes sugar
- revise the substance report form and initiate another round of data collection
Final and intermediate results are fully publicized with the names of all collaborators who made a contribution that become part of the final definition and sugar list. Data integrity and accuracy is permanently maintained during and after publication.
This information will be useful for a new technology that will allow consumers to filter the entire food supply for unwanted substances, and enable informed decisions when making food purchases…in real time.
The Sugar Matrix project actively shares data with public health leaders and organizations, and supports projects like the
EChO Added Sugar Repository.
Partners in the Sugar Matrix Project Listed Below
Eradicate Childhood Obesity Foundation (EChO) is a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to ending childhood obesity. EChO strives to use and develop technology-based strategies, as well as arts and culture, to reduce childhood obesity in the United States. EChO has created the first Added Sugar Repository to serve as a public reference for the different names of added sugar used in the U. S. food industry. This unique list extends beyond the information provided by the FDA by including all identified names and specific examples of U.S. food products for each added sugar.
The Hypoglycemia Support Foundation (HSF) provides support, advocacy and information about the causes, prevention and management of hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar. The HSF has been a patient’s advocate for almost four decades. Because HSF was founded by a patient, the organization places the people affected by the condition at the center of the conversation. HSF also brings together the expert opinions of world renown health care leaders who challenge the status quo and look to the source of metabolic disorders such as blood sugar dysregulation. HSF believes in the power of community and that powerful networks are essential to healthcare, healing and staying healthy.