1. Why sugar reduction?
Sugar is found naturally in a variety of food, including milk and fruit. The white sugar, commonly used in baked goods, soft drinks, juice, and sometimes also hidden in other packaged food, is called sucrose. According to the World Health Organization, added sugar should account for less than 10% of our daily energy intake. A further reduction to 5% (about 25grams or 6 teaspoons) per day would have additional health benefit. Today, we generally eat more than that.
According to WHO Over 50 % of the world’s population is overweight or obese today. 8.3% of world’s population has diabetes, whereof 80-90% is diabetes type 2 (according to International Diabetes Federation).
Sugar is ‘the most dangerous drug of our time’, claimed Paul van der Velpen, head of Amsterdam’s health service, already back in 2013, calling for health warnings on sugary foods and beverages, the same way we see on tobacco products. Globally, just sugar sweetened beverages are estimated to contribute to about 184 000 deaths each year, according to a Lancet paper published early 2016.
2. What is sugar reduction?
Consumers are concerned about too much sugar in products. That is a fact. But let us not forget that they still have cravings for sweet and good tasting products with an appetizing textures. That means reducing the sugar is one mission. Making the products taste good is another. To solve both, requires creativity.
Bayn Europe works with sugar reduction that ensures the taste and texture of the final product.
3. Guidelines for sugar intake from WHO
See full guidelines from WHO at: Guideline on sugars intake for adult and children
4. What is sugar tax?
Fat is receding as the main problem, as public perception now lays the blame on sugary foods and drinks. In March 2014 the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that cutting intake to 5% (instead of the current 10%) of an adult’s daily calories but would have additional benefits.
Governments are increasingly concerned about the rising costs of illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and cancer, which have risen alongside an obesity epidemic. The battle between food companies and governments may only just beginning; if health systems fail under the strain of obesity-related diseases, regulators will act prevent rather than cure them.
Several countries are introducing legislation to help curb intake of sugary foods; health warnings, sales taxes, banning of junk foods in schools, restrictions on advertising to children and reduced portion sizes will become more prevalent. Forms of sugar tax have already been introduced in Denmark, France, Finland, Hungary, Mexico and India.
5. Becoming a trend to cut out sugar products
Sugar, fat and carbohydrate intake is falling, as consumers become aware of the need to maintain a healthy weight to prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Euromonitor International’s Global Consumer Trends Survey 2013 revealed that over half of consumers are involved in some sort of weight loss or management system, with 23% on a formal diet.
Minimising sugar is high on the agenda for many consumers. Given a list of ingredients they specifically look for on food labels, 42% checked for limited or no added sugar.
Health campaigners are also increasingly concerned about the high levels of hidden sugars in many alcoholic drinks – especially in cider, fortified wines and liqueurs.
6. Sweet alternatives to sugar
Many high profile anti-sugar protests highlight the notion that that fructose is a bigger problem than fat; it has zero nutritional value, it can cause liver damage and heart disease, it may help the body retain fat, it cause obesity and type 2 diabetes, it can be “addictive” releasing dopamine in the brain to produce a sensation akin to being rewarded.
The food industry also argues that sugar is an essential component of processed foods because it helps make products more palatable, it’s a bulking agent, texture modifier, flavour enhancer and preservative. There is no one ingredient that can replicate all of these functions in every product.
Until recently, high-intensity sweeteners have suffered from their artificial image, sometimes bitter aftertaste and a lack of consumer trust in synthetic ingredients. Aspartame, in particular, has come under fire, despite a vast number of scientific studies proving its safety.
In the face of the backlash both against sugar and artificial sweeteners, companies have been scrambling to develop naturally sweetened low-calorie formulations. The high intensity sweetener stevia has emerged as a clear winner since being approved for use in a number of markets.
7. Clearly labelling the sugar content
Currently, companies need only specify the total sugar content in their products but under proposals put forward by the FDA in June 2014, labels would also include the quantity of “added sugars”.
Health campaigners will continue to put pressure on manufacturers to reduce the levels of hidden sugars in products such as bread, ready meals and dairy items, and to be more transparent about the sugar levels in all food and drink products by providing clearer information on nutrition labels.