What are "sugars"?
The word sugars refers to a type of carbohydrate that occurs naturally or can be added to foods or beverages. Examples include the sugars found naturally in juices, vegetables, milks and grains and sugars like table sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup that may be added for sweetness, texture or other functional properties.
What is the difference between added and naturally occurring sugars?
Whether naturally occurring or added, sugar is a type of carbohydrate that your body uses for energy. Naturally occurring and added sugars are chemically identical. Neither your body nor any chemical detection method can distinguish between the two.
Is sugar bad for you?
If consumed in excess, sugars can contribute too many calories to your diet and make it more difficult to get all the nutrients your body needs.
How much sugar can I eat?
The total number of calories a person should consume varies person to person based on a variety of factors including age, gender and activity level. Everyone can include some sugar in their diet as long as they balance their calorie intake with the calories they burn and eat an overall healthful diet, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products.
What is high fructose corn syrup?
High fructose corn syrups (HFCS) are sweeteners made from corn. They sweeten many beverages and foods the same way sugar does.
What is the difference between sugar and HFCS?
Sugar comes from either sugar cane or sugar beets while high fructose corn syrups come from corn. Table sugar and the HFCS used in soft drinks have the same calories and similar sweetness and research shows that our bodies respond similarly to both types of sweetener. Both table sugar and HFCS are made up of the two simple sugars, fructose and glucose. The difference between the two sweeteners is in the amount of these two simple sugars they contain. Specifically, table sugar is made of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose while the most common type of HFCS is made of 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose.
Should I be concerned about HFCS?
Just like table sugar, HFCS contains calories (16 calories per teaspoon) and, like all caloric substances, must be considered in weight management choices.
How are HFCS and table sugar made?
Commercially produced HFCS and table sugar are both processed foods requiring specialized manufacturing techniques to extract the sugars from their raw materials: sugar cane, sugar beets or corn.
Why are some beverages made with HFCS and some with sugar?
HFCS and table sugar have the same calories and sweetness so the decision to use one or the other is based on a variety of other factors. For example, HFCS is an easier ingredient to work with because it is a liquid. It also costs less than table sugar which helps us keep the cost of our products down for consumers. However, since some consumers prefer beverages sweetened with table sugar, we give people choices in the types of sweeteners used in different products.
I've heard that diets high in fructose may have health risks. Is HFCS high in fructose and does it have these risks?
Despite its name, HFCS is not high in fructose*. HFCS and table sugar contain about the same amount of fructose and neither has been shown to be harmful when consumed at typical levels.
* "High fructose corn syrup" was given its name because it has more fructose than corn syrup made from corn starch, which contains virtually no fructose, only glucose.
Does HFCS cause obesity or Type 2 diabetes?
There is no scientific evidence that HFCS causes obesity or Type 2 diabetes. Various studies have shown an association between HFCS and obesity but not a cause and effect relationship. An association simply means that people who are obese are more likely to consume higher amounts of HFCS. It is likely that these same people consume higher amounts of foods and beverages overall.
In many countries that have experienced the same or higher increases in obesity rates as the U.S., HFCS is not used in foods and beverages. And, a recent study in Australia reported an inverse relationship between obesity and use of sweeteners like sugar and HFCS. Specifically, while sugar consumption has declined by 23 percent in Australia, the prevalence of obesity is rising.1
1. Barclay AW and Brand-Miller J. (2011) The Australian Paradox: A Substantial Decline in Sugars Intake over the Same Timeframe that Overweight and Obesity Have Increased. Nutrients 3, 491-504
What are low-calorie sweeteners?
Low-calorie sweeteners are natural or man-made substances that produce a sweet, sugar-like flavor in the mouth but have zero or nearly zero calories. A few common examples include aspartame, acesulfame-potassium, stevia and sucralose.
How do low-calorie sweeteners compare in sweetness to sugar?
Since low-calorie sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar, the amount found in foods and beverages is quite small and safe to be consumed daily. For example, aspartame and acesulfame-potassium are 200x sweeter, stevia is 200x sweeter and sucralose is 600x sweeter than sugar.
What are the benefits of using low- calorie sweeteners?
Research has supported the benefits of consuming foods and beverages sweetened with low-calorie sweeteners including:
•Reducing calorie intake
•Helping to manage blood glucose levels in diabetes
•Preventing dental caries
What low calorie sweeteners are used in your beverages?
Many different low-calorie sweeteners are used in making beverages. Each has unique attributes that make them better suited to certain beverages than others. Learn more about each sweetener below.
Are low-calorie sweeteners safe?
All of the low-calorie sweeteners used in our products have been evaluated and approved by numerous independent scientific commissions and regulatory agencies around the world. In addition, The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute have each determined that low-calorie sweeteners are safe and do not increase the risk for cancer.
Do diet beverages cause weight gain?
You may have heard that diet drinks can "make you gain weight" but when you look closely at this idea, it just doesn't hold up. While some studies have shown an association between consumption of diet beverages and overweight, none has shown a cause and effect relationship. The authors of these studies, and other experts in the field, are quick to point out that an association does not mean that diet drinks cause weight gain. It simply means that people who are overweight are more likely to consume diet beverages.
Do diet drinks make you like sweets more?
People do not learn to like sweets by consuming diet drinks or low calorie sweeteners. Humans are born liking sweet tastes. Studies show that even newborn infants love sweet tastes. This preference for sweets is a hardwired survival trait to ensure that our bodies receive the glucose needed to fuel our brain cells.
Are beverages made with low-calorie sweeteners sweeter?
No. We formulate our diet and low-calorie beverages to have a similar sweetness to our drinks sweetened with HFCS, table sugar or other caloric sweeteners.
Acesulfame Potassium, also known as Ace-K is approximately 200 times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose) which means that only a small amount is needed to sweeten a food or beverage and it contributes few, if any, calories.
Acesulfame potassium has been used in Europe since 1983 and in the U.S. since 1988. It can now be found in foods and beverages in countries around the world. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reaffirmed the sweetener's safety numerous times since its first approval. The Scientific Committee for Food of the European Union and the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), the scientific advisory body to the World Health Organization, have both determined that ace-K is safe for use in foods and beverages.
Aspartame is a sugar substitute made up of two amino acids: aspartic acid and phenylalanine. When aspartic acid and phenylalanine are combined they create a sweet taste similar to sugar. Aspartame is approximately 200 times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose) which means that only a small amount is needed to sweeten a food or beverage and it contributes few, if any, calories.
People have safely consumed products containing aspartame for over thirty years. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the World Health Organization, and regulatory agencies in more than 100 countries have reviewed aspartame and found it safe for use. The American Medical Association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American Diabetes Association recognize aspartame as safe.
The sweetener has been tested continuously since its introduction and its safety has been consistently re-affirmed. A study conducted by government researchers at the National Cancer Institute involved over 500,000 people, including those who drank the equivalent of three or more diet soft drinks every day for almost a decade. It found that there was no increased risk of any type of cancer even among those who consumed the most aspartame. In fact, since aspartame was first introduced, no scientific evidence has been found linking it to any disease in humans.
Sucralose is a no-calorie sweetener. It is approximately 600 times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose) which means that only a small amount is needed to sweeten a food or beverage and it doesn't contribute any calories.
Sucralose was approved for use in foods and beverages by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999. Before approving the sweetener, FDA evaluated more than 100 human safety studies conducted over a 20-year period. Endorsements from other agencies, which independently reviewed the data, include The Health Protection Branch of Health and Welfare Canada, The National Food Authority of Australia and The American Council on Science and Health. Sucralose has been found to be safe by the World Health Organization and is approved for use in foods and beverages in more than 40 countries.
Purified Stevia Leaf Extract
Purified Stevia Leaf Extract, also known as Reb-A, is derived from the leaves of the Stevia plant and is 200 times sweeter than sugar so it has virtually no calories when used in foods and beverages. It has a long history of use in many countries including Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico and Russia. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has publically stated that it has no questions about the safety of Stevia Extract for use as a general purpose sweetener in foods and beverages.
Erythritol is a type of sweetener called a polyol. Polyols have been used to sweeten foods around the world for many years. Globally many regulatory agencies have reviewed the use of polyols as a sweetener and have approved them as safe. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has publically stated that is has no questions about the safety of Erythritol for use as a general purpose sweetener in foods and beverages.
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