Posts Tagged sugar

Overweight people ‘less likely than average to consume soft drinks’

soft drinks

soft drinksDespite a difficult year for the soft drinks industry, the overall retail value of the industry rose by 3.3 per cent in 2012, to nearly £15 billion.

According to the 2013 Soft Drinks Report, soft drinks are consumed in more than 99 per cent of households. Soft drinks containing added sugar made up 39 per cent of the market, while no added sugar drinks represent 61 per cent.

The report also revealed that overweight and obese consumers were less likely than average to consume soft drinks, exploding the myth that soft drinks consumption is the cause of obesity.

“When they do choose a soft drink, overweight and obese consumers are more likely than average to choose a no added sugar drink rather than a drink containing added sugar,” says Gavin Partington, Director General of the British Soft Drinks Association.

He adds: “It’s been a tough year for the economy, but the soft drinks industry has come through it well.”

Nutrition claims & conditions governing their use






























Blood sugar control

Fiberous carbohydrates are digested slowly.

We get the energy we need from the food we eat. Much of the energy comes in the form of carbohydrates, and if these are rapidly digested the energy is quickly taken up by the body. Such rapidly digested carbohydrates are termed ‘high glycaemic’, as they give a rapid, high peak of blood sugar. But there is a problem here – blood sugar levels rapidly ‘crash’ because of the insulin the body produces to transport the sugar from the blood into the cells. Low blood glucose leads to a lack of alertness and even drowsiness, so if these extreme highs and lows of blood sugar can be levelled out, the body will better use the energy available.

Part of the answer comes in carbohydrates that are digested much more slowly, such as resistant starches, beta-glucan, pectin and sugar replacers. Unlike easily digestible carbohydrates such as simple sugars, these more complex carbohdrates pass through the small intestine unchanged and are digested more slowly in the large intestine where they provide a slower supply of energy, reducing the energy spike.

Blood sugar claims

Health claimFunctional ingredient
Reduction of postprandial glycaemic response Aribinoxylin from wheat germ
Reduction of postprandial glycaemic response Beta-glucan from oats and barley
Reduction of postprandial glycaemic response Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose
Reduction of postprandial glycaemic response Pectins
Reduction of postprandial glycaemic response Sugar replacers – ie
Intense sweeteners, eg sucralose; xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, lactitol, isomalt, erythritol, and polydextrose; D-tagatose and isomaltulose


If it weren’t for artificial intense sweeteners, the only way to satisfy a sweet tooth would be with natural sugars such as sucrose, fructose and maltose, which are full of calories and contribute to tooth decay.

The modern desire to eat sweet foods that don’t make you fat has led to the development of a variety of low calorie intense sweeteners that are much sweeter than sucrose, and only need to be used in tiny amounts to satisfy the taste buds. They aren’t a modern invention – the first, saccharin, was first produced back in 1878.

If it weren’t for artificial intense sweeteners, the only way to satisfy a sweet tooth would be with natural sugars such as sucrose, fructose and maltose, which are full of calories and contribute to tooth decay.

Most food products use blends of sweeteners. Regulations limit the maximum use levels for If it weren’t for artificial intense sweeteners, the only way to satisfy a sweet tooth would be with natural sugars such as sucrose, fructose and maltose, which are full of calories and contribute to tooth decay.individual high-intensity sweeteners, and each has its own unique taste profile, such as metallic, bitter, lingering or delayed onset. Synergistic effects also mean that the mixture can often give an even more intense sweetness than the individual components alone.

However, these ingredients can only replace the sweetness of sugar, and not its bulk, so in products like cakes and jams, something else is needed if sugar is going to be replaced. This is where bulk sweeteners come in. These are derivatives of sugars, and while they are not as sweet as sucrose, they have fewer calories as the body metabolises them differently. They do not raise glucose levels in the blood, and so can be consumed by diabetics. However, many can have a laxative effect when consumed in large quantities.

Low-calorie and diabetic foods frequently contain a combination of both intense and bulk sweeteners, with the former producing the sweetness and the latter the texture that consumers expect.

Bulk sweeteners

Erythritol (E968) is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol, which is made commercially by the fermentation of glucose, and was only approved for food use in Europe in 2006. It is about two-thirds as sweet as sucrose, but has almost no calories. As it is absorbed before it reaches the colon, it does not have the laxative effects of some other bulk sweeteners – instead, it is excreted unchanged in the urine. It is also tooth-friendly as it does not contribute to tooth decay

Isomalt (E954) is a sugar alcohol with similar physical properties to sucrose, but it is tooth-friendly and has half the calories. It is becoming increasingly popular in confectionery products such as hard candies, but like many bulk sweeteners it can have a laxative effect.

Lactitol (E966) is a bulk sweetener that is about 40% as sweet as sucrose. It is common in bakery products because of its heat stability, and it is also found in confectionery, chocolate and ice cream.

Maltitol (E965) has about three-quarters of the sweetness of sugar, but about half of its calories, and it does not promote tooth decay. However, it can have a laxative effect. It is particularly common in confectionery products like hard candies, chewing gum and ice cream.

Sorbitol (E420) is the oldest of the bulk sweeteners. It is commonly found in diet food and drink products, as well as confectionery such as mints and sugar-free gum. It is found in rowan berries, but as a food ingredient it is made by chemically modifying glucose.

Xylitol (E967) is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol was first commercially extracted from birch trees. It has about two-thirds of the calories of sugar, and does not cause tooth decay. It is found in a wide range of confectionery products, but sometimes has a laxative effect.

Intense sweeteners

Acesulfame K (E950) is about 200 times more sweet than sucrose. Invented in Germany in 1967, it leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste in the mouth, which means it is rarely used alone as a sweetener. Unlike some other intense sweeteners, it is heat-stable during cooking. Common uses include bakery products, and soft drinks, where it is usually blended with other sweeteners, and as a sweetener for hot beverages.

Aspartame (E951) is a sweetener that was invented in the US in 1965, and contains two amino acids joined together by a chemical bond. It is about 200 times sweeter than sucrose, but as it breaks down on heating it is not suitable for baking applications, although it can be added to hot foods before serving, such as hot drinks, stewed fruit or porridge. It is commonly found in soft drinks and confectionery products. People with the rare condition phenylketonuria cannot metabolise one of its constituent amino acids, phenylalanine, and so must try to avoid it. This is why product labels have to state ‘contains a source of phenylalanine’ if aspartame is an ingredient.

Cyclamate (E952) is about 30 times more sweet than sugar, and it is usually used in combination with other sweeteners.

Saccharin (E954) has been used as an intense sweetener for more than a century, and is 300-400 times sweeter than sugar. It is commonly used in carbonated drinks in combination with aspartame. There have been concerns that it might cause cancer over the years, but these health scares have been dismissed.

Sucralose (E955) is the newest of the intense sweeteners and is about 600 times sweeter than sugar. It is made by replacing three of the alcohol groups in sucrose with chlorine atoms, which dramatically increases its sweetness. It is heat-stable so can be used in bakery products. It is becoming increasingly popular in products from soft drinks to confectionery to hot beverages.

Acrylamide levels ‘do not increase concern about human health’


A new Food Standards Agency (FSA) study shows an upward trend in acrylamide levels in processed cereal based baby foods (excluding rusks) but a reduction in other products, such as pre-cooked French fries, potato products for home cooking and bread.

However, the FSA says the levels reported in the study do not increase concern about the risk to human health.

Acrylamide has been present in food ever since humans began cooking, but it was not known about until April 2002.

The formation of acrylamide occurs as the result of a reaction known as the Maillard reaction, which is a chemical reaction between an amino acid (the building block of protein) and a sugar such as glucose, fructose or lactose.

Heat is required to start the cooking reaction that causes a chemical changes which ultimately result in the ‘browning’ of the food. One of the most common examples of the Maillard reaction is the heating of white bread to give brown toast.

Since its discovery in food, major research projects have been conducted by scientists to better understand the risk of exposure to acrylamide through food.

At high doses, it has been found to cause cancer in some laboratory animals. However, the FDA, the World Health Organisation and most other health regulatory bodies have not determined if the presence of acrylamide in food presents a health risk to humans, and do not recommend that consumers change their diets in order to avoid acrylamide.

“Public authorities worldwide are not advising people to stop eating any foods found to contain acrylamide,” says an FAIA spokesman. “That said, food manufacturers have taken measures to reduce acrylamide formation in food.”

Healthy diet can improve behaviour of children with ADHD


Eating more healthily can improve the behaviour of children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) if therapy and
medication fails to work, according to a new study.

Researchers said that there was conflicting evidence on the impact of supplements and restricted diets for people suffering from ADHD – and in some cases they were no better than the placebo effect. The report, by doctors at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, argued nutritional intervention should therefore be considered as a secondary approach to treating the condition.

‘Supplemental diet therapy is simple, relatively inexpensive and more acceptable to patient and parent,’ it says. ‘Public education regarding a healthy diet pattern and lifestyle may have greater long-term success.’

Interventions such as cutting out additives and food dyes have soared in popularity in recent years, but there is little evidence to suggest this makes any difference.

The causes of ADHD are unknown, although studies have pointed to hereditary factors as well as social and environmental influences. Foods high in sugar and fat are also thought to exacerbate symptoms. Interventions including giving iron supplements or cutting out additives and food dyes have soared in popularity in recent years, but the study says there is little evidence to suggest this makes any difference.
For many parents, simply feeding their children a healthy diet rich in fish, vegetables, fruit and whole-grains is likely to help, the study says.

Global additives market on the up


Global sales of food and drink additives reached £17.3 billion last year, according to a new report.

The best performing sectors include enzymes, acidulants and hydrocolloids, says Leatherhead Food Research’s report The Global Food Additives Market, with a growing demand for low fat, salt and sugar products – as well as functional health benefit products – driving demand for a host of additives including emulsifiers, hydrocolloids, sweeteners, vitamins and minerals, soya ingredients, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, prebiotics and plant stanol esters.

The report also says that while the global additives market has not been immune to the effects of the global economic downturn, a period of modest growth is forecast for the world food additives market over the next few years.

Some of the better performing sectors are likely to include natural flavours and colours, food hydrocolloids, enzymes and functional food ingredients.