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Sweet Tooth

based on 18 ratings
Author: Judee Shipman
Type

Food Science

Grade Level

4 & up

Difficulty

Easy

Cost

Minimal

Safety Issues

Watch for allergies.

Material Availability

All materials readily available.

Project Time Frame

2-4 weeks

Objective

This project involves taste-test experiments with sugar.

The goals of this project are:

  1. To examine the properties of sugar.
  2. To evaluate consumer tastes and preferences.

Materials and Equipment

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Color printer
  • Digital camera
  • Typical office/hobby/craft supplies (paper, pens, poster board, glue, etc.)
  • Basic recipe ingredients (see below)

All materials can be found in your home, at local stores, or on ebay.

Introduction

Sugar as we know it is a sweet, soluble, edible crystal, primarily derived from sugar cane. Sugar is manufactured in huge quantities all over the world, and is present in most recipes, especially in America. For those whose diets don't allow sugar, many sugar substitutes (natural and artificial sweeteners) are commercially available. This project aims to demonstrate that commercial food products have much more sugar than the average taste buds require.

Research Questions

  1. Why do people love sugar?
  2. How is sugar manufactured?
  3. What are the health effects of sugar?
  4. What are the best sugar substitutes?

Terms and Concepts to Start Background Research

  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Molecular Gastronomy
  • Sucrose

Experimental Procedure

  • Read overview of relevant topics (see bibliography below and terms listed above)
  • Address each research question listed above.
  • Create 4-8 servings of a simple recipe chosen from one of the links below. BEFORE you add the sugar, divide the mixed ingredients of the uncooked recipe into three equal parts, in three separate bowls.
  • To one bowl, add the amount of sugar recommended in the recipe. To another bowl, add 2/3 of the sugar recommended. To the third bowl, add 1/3 of the sugar recommended.
  • Cook all three variants of the recipe, careful to keep track of which is which.
  • Run a taste test experiment (with at least 30 volunteers) to discover consumer preferences. Have each volunteer taste only ONE of the three dishes. Volunteers should NOT be informed of the sugar content beforehand.
  • Have each volunteer rate the sample they tasted on a scale of one to ten.
  • Calculate the average rating for each sample to see which one is most popular.
  • Carefully record all observations.
  • If desired, run a similar taste test, using granulated sugar in one recipe sample, and various alternative sweeteners in other samples.
  • Analyze the data.
  • Interpret your findings in a detailed report.
  • Include interesting photos and recipe samples in your science fair display.

Bibliography

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar (Wiki topic: Sugar)
  2. http://www.top50states.com/yellow-cake-recipe.html (Suggested Recipe #1)
  3. http://www.top50states.com/red-velvet-cake-recipe.html (Suggested Recipe #2)
  4. Internet searches of your choosing. Search any of the words or terms listed here, or make up your own phrases to search. Click on any results you find interesting. Have fun surfing the net!
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