The sweeteners on the market can be divided into following groups:
- sweeteners with caloric content
- sweeteners without caloric content
Common cane and beet sugar and natural sugars from fruits and vegetables are always with caloric content. Contrary to sugars, food industry also producing non-caloric sweeteners like, aspartame, acesulfam K, saccharine, cyklamates or sucralose. These non-caloric sweeteners cause intensive sweet taste in mouth, during its consumption by humans.
But in all cases, the accompanying taste is different from conventional sugars and there are still some discussions about safety of individuals from this group. Anyway, based on actual knowledge, all the non-caloric sweeteners used in food production are considered as safe for human consumption.
The new established sweeteners in food industry from recent years, are based on steviol glycosides (stevia). Stevia, generally, is first accepted non-caloric sweetener from plant source by EFSA and also by US FDA. Accepted daily intake (ADI) is actually set on 4,0 mg based on kg of body weight per day for steviol glycosides (EFSA, WHO). Stevia have one sensorial negative, which came from sensorial evaluation of foods containing stevia.
Consumers frequently feel metal-like feeling from sweet taste while consume products with stevia content. This cause some limitation for use of stevia in foods.
In general, the calories naturally came from sacharides, which are a group of widely occurred chemical compounds in nature. Sacharides release chemical energy after its cleavage in human gastro-intestinal tract on to sugars. They are very complex group of chemical substances, but all of them are constituted from monosaccharide units, commonly named as simply sugars like glucose, fructose, galactose, mannose and others. These monosacharides, simple sugars, are transported to cells and by body mechanisms of metabolic utilization, the energy is obtained for our life.
Generally, the sugars are not bad for human nutrition. In fact, sugars are essential for our life, and it’s the main source of energy for humans.
Sugars consumed in excess
Problems arise, when the sugars are consumed in excess. Unfortunately, the excessive consumption of sugars is very often, mainly in countries with western type of life. The availability of sugars in different food products is very high and sugars are commonly overdose in foods. The western style of life, with risk factors like stress, no time, low physical exercise, fast-foods, sweet drinks and others significantly contribute to increase of overdose with sugars in human diet.
Based on scientific studies from last decades, increased sugar consumption is considered as the main risk factor for civilization diseases (CD), named also as life style diseases.
The most abundant CDs are Obesity, Cardio-vascular diseases, Diabetes type 2, Hypertension, Stroke, Liver and Kidney diseases.
Despite the facts about health effect of sugars in excess, world sugar consumption still increasing. Statistically, consumption of sugar per person is much more than nutrition authorities recommends (e.g. WHO recommendation is apx. 25g for adults with normal body mass index, BMI). Peoples like sugars in overdose, globally.
|Country||Sugar Consumption in grams|
Average Daily Sugar consumption per person in grams, Washington Post 2017
source: Washington Post
Scientific evidence and statistical informations
During recent years, many scientific works and public authorities including health organizations publish recomendations and proven facts, about excessive intake of sugars and its direct connecting to health risks. Therefore, WHO with national public oraganization prepare action plan for reducing of sugar intake by foods. Recommendations are focused on the intake of free sugars to reduce the risk of Life style diseases or NCDs (Noncommunicable diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease, are collectively responsible for almost 70% of all deaths worldwide, WHO) in adults and children, with a particular focus on the prevention and control of unhealthy weight gain and dental caries.
HARWARD MEDICAL SCHOOL published
Sugar has a bittersweet reputation when it comes to health. Sugar occurs naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy. Consuming whole foods that contain natural sugar is okay. Plant foods also have high amounts of fiber, essential minerals, and antioxidants, and dairy foods contain protein and calcium.
Since your body digests these foods slowly, the sugar in them offers a steady supply of energy to your cells. A high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains also has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers …
Impact on your heart
In a study published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine, Dr. Hu and his colleagues found an association between a high-sugar diet and a greater risk of dying from heart disease. Over the course of the 15-year study, people who got 17% to 21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with those who consumed 8% of their calories as added sugar.
Basically, the higher the intake of added sugar, the higher the risk for heart disease – says Dr. Hu.
How sugar actually affects heart health is not completely understood, but it appears to have several indirect connections. For instance, high amounts of sugar overload the liver. “Your liver metabolizes sugar the same way as alcohol, and converts dietary carbohydrates to fat,”
Over time, this can lead to a greater accumulation of fat, which may turn into fatty liver disease, a contributor to diabetes, which raises your risk for heart disease.
Consuming too much added sugar can raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation, both of which are pathological pathways to heart disease. Excess consumption of sugar, especially in sugary beverages, also contributes to weight gain by tricking your body into turning off its appetite-control system because liquid calories are not as satisfying as calories from solid foods. This is why it is easier for people to add more calories to their regular diet when consuming sugary beverages.
The effects of added sugar intake — higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease — are all linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke – says Dr. Hu.
Source: Hardward Medical School, Harward health publishing, online