As suppliers, manufacturers and marketers in the food industry, we see trends come and go, however every now and again a trend takes hold because of a fundamental shift in thinking. The need to reduce sugar in our food and drinks is just one of those trends.
The ‘low sugar’ or ‘no sugar’ trend is no longer being driven by diet crazy fitness fanatics. The health sector, general population and governments around the world have finally had to admit that sugar has become a serious issue that is affecting the health of millions.
Sugar addiction is a reality – in fact it has been proven that sugar is more addictive than cocaine – and just as hard a habit to kick. The average American is believed to consume between 19 and 22 teaspoons of sugar a day which has led to a rise in obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
As an industry, ingredient suppliers and food manufacturers have a responsibility to play their part in reducing this reliance on sugar.
Rather than a crisis, it presents the sector with the opportunity to innovate and formulate with a different goal in mind. Yet how many of us involved in this market really know fact from fiction?
Below are a few common myths which have been debunked and the truth explained:
Myth: Low-calorie sweeteners increase the risk of adverse health conditions.
Fact: Low-calorie sweeteners have a long history of safe use in a variety of foods and beverages. Hundreds of studies have been conducted on low-calorie sweeteners and they are among the most studied ingredients in the food supply. They are thoroughly tested and carefully regulated by U.S. and international regulatory authorities, as well as scientific organisations, to ensure their safety. Suggestions by some that low-calorie sweeteners are associated with adverse health effects are not supported by the broad-based research. Also, a few studies linking low-calorie sweeteners to certain types of cancer did not follow established Good Laboratory Practices and have been dismissed by regulators and scientists. Acesulfame-K, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, stevia, and sucralose are the permitted low-calorie sweeteners by the FDA and are safe to eat in foods and beverages.
Myth: There are no standard limits on the amount of low-calorie sweeteners that can be consumed.
Fact: The FDA and other bodies have set Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) levels for each low-calorie sweetener as an added safety measure. The ADI is the amount of an ingredient that a person can safely consume every day over a lifetime without risk. It has been shown that even the most common users of low calorie sweeteners, such as dieters, adults, and children with diabetes, only consume 5-10% of the ADI.
Myth: Low-calorie sweeteners cause weight gain.
Fact: Several studies show that low-calorie sweeteners do not cause weight gain and in fact, can offer help with weight management. According to the research, people who incorporate foods and beverages sweetened with low-calorie sweeteners into their diet in place of calorie-containing sweeteners actually consume fewer calories than those who do not. Low-calorie sweeteners are a tool that can be used to reach weight loss goals in conjunction with other healthy lifestyle practices such as portion control and regular physical activity.
Chemgrit offers several natural sweetener solutions including stevia, maltitol, Monk Fruit and sucralose. They also supply the following synthetic sweeteners – sodium cyclamate, sodium saccharin, acesulfame k, and aspartame.
[Additional Info: International Food Information Council Foundation]