Sweeteners play an important role in the “sugar reduction campaign”. However, some healthy people expressed concern about the use of sweeteners, and in the speech against sweeteners, they were mixed with some exaggerated rumors. In this regard, the British nutritionist Dr. Emma Deby Hill pointed out some common misunderstandings.
What are the common sweeteners?
Some low-sugar or even zero-calorie soft drinks, yogurt, desserts, cereal bars, jams, etc. often use low-calorie sweeteners. Here are three types of sweeteners that are often "shown".
Saccharin is one of the "oldest" low-calorie sweeteners on the market and has been used to increase the sweetness of food and beverages since the early 20th century. Low-calorie sweeteners such as saccharin are currently the most thoroughly tested and fully evaluated food additives.
In terms of consumption, saccharin-based sweeteners account for more than half of all sweeteners and are used for a long time. Saccharin has received several rounds of risk assessments from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both organizations believe that in terms of saccharin, concerns about carcinogenicity, glycemic control, weight control, and gut microbiota are unfounded.
Stevia is a zero-calorie sweetener that is a natural plant compound made from stevioside. The longest used stevioside, stevioside and rebaudioside A are extracted from the leaves of stevia, a plant native to Paraguay. Local people use this leaf to increase the sweetness of food and drink.
Stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, which means that only a very small amount is needed to achieve the desired sweetness. After decades of testing, Stevia has been approved in Europe in 2016 and is now widely used in a variety of products. In addition, new evidence suggests that stevioside has an antibacterial effect and may help control blood pressure and blood sugar.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that can also be used as a substitute for sugar. It is made by replacing three hydroxyl groups in the sugar molecule with chlorine atoms, which gives it a strong sweetness, mostly in yogurt, flavoured milk, cereal or low-calorie baked goods, and ice cream.
The United States approved sucralose in 1998, and in 2000 the EU approved it. Sucralose does not cause tooth decay and has a lower effect on blood sugar levels than sugar. The European Food Safety Authority concluded in 2011 that eating foods and beverages containing sucralose instead of sugar can protect the teeth and help control blood pressure and blood sugar.
Proverb 1: Sweeteners affect metabolism
Things that contain low-calorie sweeteners can cause our body to "expect" calories, stimulate digestive activity and insulin release, affecting body metabolism to meet expected blood sugar levels.
Fact: The reference group itself is prone to gain weight
The hypothesis stems from a laboratory study that found that subjects were divided into two groups, one group could eat sugary foods and yogurt indefinitely, and the other group could eat saccharin-added foods and yogurt. The results showed that those who ate low-calorie sweeteners added more weight.
However, when another group of researchers tried to replicate the results, they found the opposite. Moreover, they also found that previous research was flawed—lab researchers excluded subjects who did not like saccharin, leaving only those who voluntarily chose to participate, regardless of whether they consumed sweeteners or not. More likely to gain weight.
Proverb 2: Sweeteners promote appetite
Frequent exposure to low-calorie sweeteners promotes a preference for sweetness and also over-stimulates sugar receptors and promotes appetite.
Fact: Low-calorie beverages are easy to lose weight
There is little direct evidence to support this theory. Last year, a paper published by Professor Peter Rogers of the University of Bristol in the Proceedings of the Society of Nutrition pointed out that if this theory is correct, then replacing low-calorie sweetener drinks with water will reduce our The preference for sugary foods.
Unfortunately, short-term studies have shown that there is no difference in energy intake between the two, and long-term studies have shown that those who drink low-calorie beverages rather than water are more likely to lose weight.
Proverb 3: Low calorie and easy overdose
When we choose low-calorie foods, we will allow ourselves to eat more, drink more, and ultimately only maintain or even increase our calorie intake.
Fact: Long-term research is not much different
Professor Rogers's paper shows that there is evidence that when we are told that the food we eat is “greater”, we eat more; and when we know how many calories the food contains, it is relatively rare. However, long-term studies have found that there is no difference in knowing whether or not the food contains low-calorie sweeteners during weight loss.
Other studies have shown that using low-calorie sweeteners instead of sugar in the diet can reduce calorie intake and reduce weight.