Is the world consuming more sugar now? Yes one should believe if a latest research has to be believed. The researchers found that the amount of added sugars and Non Nutritive Sweeteners (NNS) in packaged foods and drinks has grown a lot over the last decade.
The researchers also showed in the study that this was true especially in middle-income countries, such as India, China India, as well as in Asia Pacific regions, including Australia.
SWEETENERS; SOME FINDINGS
The researchers came to the conclusion by analysing market sales data. They looked at the quantity of added sugar and non-nutritive sweeteners sold in packaged foods and drinks from 2007 to 2019.
In the study the researchers found the per person volumes of NNS in drinks is about 36 percent higher now. Moreover, they said that added sugars in packaged food is nine percent higher. They pointed out that NNS are most commonly added to confectionery. Ice creams and sweet biscuits are the fastest-growing food categories in terms of these sweeteners. They also found an increased addition of added sugar in sweeten drinks.
SWEETENERS; DOUBLE STANDARD
The study shows that the market for packaged food and beverages in high-income countries has become saturated. Moreover, they said that manufacturers provide less sweet, “healthier” products in richer countries than in poor nations. .
SWEETENERS; NNS RISK
Everyone knows the health hazard of having more sugar. This does not mean that non-nutritive sweeteners are risk free., Despite their lack of dietary energy, recent reviews, suggest consuming non-nutritive sweeteners may be linked with type 2 diabetes and heart disease and can disrupt the gut microbiome. Moreover, non-nutritive sweeteners influences the palates and encourages one to want more sweet food. This is of particular concern for children, who are still developing their lifelong taste preferences.
Apart from this, non-nutritive sweeteners are also considered environmental contaminants and are not effectively removed from waste water.
Non-nutritive sweeteners are only found in ultra-processed foods. These foods contain ingredients that one does not find in a home kitchen. They are designed to be “hyper-palatable” and consuming more of these food is highly risky, the researchers said.
The increasing use of NNS to sweeten beverages globally, and in packaged food in upper and lower middle-income countries, may have health and dietary implications in the future. Their use as a substitute for added sugar should be considered in public health nutrition policy-making.