Coke Has Promised ‘Less Sugar’, But Less is Still Too Much
Coca Cola said its aim is for a 10 precent reduction in sugar across their range by 2020. But is it enough?
At last count, 28 countries and seven large cities in the USA had moved to introduce a tax on sugary drinks . and include reducing costs from obesity and health-care spending, as well as the . Health groups in Australia have long called for the same to be done here.
When Britain legislated for a sugary drink tax, graded according to the quantity of sugar used, some manufacturers significantly reduced the amount of sugar in their drinks before the law even came into practice.
- Coca-Cola with Stevia: 19g of sugar per 375mL, compared with the classic product with 40g per 375mL
- Kirks reduced sugar drinks: now 38g sugar per 375 mL (4-5% reduction)
- Sprite, sugar reduced with added stevia: 40g sugar per 375 mL (14% reduction)
- Raspberry Fanta, sugar reduced with added stevia: 36g sugar per 375 mL (19% reduction)
- Lift hard hitting lemon, sugar reduced: 31.5g sugar per 375 mL (23% reduction)
- Deep spring mineral waters, three orange-based flavours sugar reduced: 28g sugar per 375 mL (26% reduction).
No nutritionist is going to knock reductions in sugar content, but even a single can of the new Coca-Cola with Stevia has 37 percent of the (WHO) recommended maximum daily intake of sugar for an adult. The other products listed still have 55-78 percent of the WHO maximum recommendation.
Smaller pack sizes are being introduced and will help. And no-sugar versions of their major products are available, sweetened with intense (artificial) sweeteners such as stevia, acesulphame K, sucralose and aspartame.
Stevia can be made from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant which contain a variety of steviol compounds. These bypass digestion in the small intestine and are broken down by bacteria in the colon.
the use of a wide range of different steviol compounds. Labelled either by its name or “additive 960”, stevia is marketed by some as a “natural” product. Although what is added to drinks and other foods is a highly purified extract, often blended with a sugar alcohol (usually erythritol) or complex carbohydrates called oligosaccharides.
The real problem is that sweet drinks maintain a taste for sweet drinks.
How do we define moderation? It’s an issue that has dogged those formulating dietary guidelines. In 1979, one of Australia’s dietary goals was to “decrease refined sugar consumption”. Two years later, the first guidelines included advice to “avoid eating too much sugar”.
With every subsequent revision of the guidelines, the food industry has campaigned strongly for the sugar guideline to be dropped. They succeeded in so far as the wording was changed to “eat only a moderate amount of sugars and foods containing added sugars”. Sales steadied.
A review for the 2013 guidelines showed even stronger evidence that all added sugars should be limited, especially sugar sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks.
Confectionery, cakes, biscuits and pastries were also specifically added to the list along with advice that for many Australians there was no room in the diet for any of these foods. “Only moderate” amounts may be comfortable for the industry but it was way too vague to fit the evidence.
“Less” sugar in sugary drinks is also too vague. Even for those who are not overweight, these drinks remain a hazard for our teeth. The only solution is to stop drinking them.
(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. FIT neither endorses nor is responsible for the same. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here.)
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