The Debate Continues, Says HEAL Foundation
NEW DELHI, Nov. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — India has the highest number of adults with type 2 Diabetes across the world. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that there were 72 million cases of diabetes in India as of 2017. By 2045, this number is projected to more than double. According to the World Health Organization, diabetes is now the seventh most frequent cause of death around the world.
Despite the best efforts of global enterprises, nothing has been able to pose a challenge to the hegemony of Indian sweets prepared at traditional sweets shops as well as at homes. Though, it is pertinent to mention here that the major ingredient in almost all sweets is sugar. It is not a hidden fact that the consumption of sugar is directly related to the chances of diabetes affecting an individual however the alternative for sugar is low calories sweeteners (LCS) are now readily available in the market.
Speaking about the subject, Ms. Manjari Chandra, Consultant Therapeutic and Functional Nutrition, Max Healthcare, Daivam Wellness, said, “While till a few years back, the demand for low calories sweeteners was originating from the users who required them in their hot beverages like tea and coffee. As a matter of fact, 90% of low calorie sweeteners were consumed by diabetics in India. Moreover, the middle class represented only 2% of the total consumption; it is more than 70% in high-income groups. But as the benefits of low calorie sweeteners are becoming known, significantly higher number of consumers are opting for them in place of refined sugars. As per the studies conducted by JECFA (Joint WHO-FAO Expert Committee on Food Additives) low calorie sweeteners have proven to be beneficial in managing conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Moreover, by reducing the calorie content in the food products, low calorie sweeteners help with weight control and reduction in risks associated with obesity. Additionally, as low calorie sweeteners go through extensive testing and quality checks, their safety for consumption cannot be doubted.”
Moreover, the awareness about the downsides of consuming high-sugar sweets is rising amongst the consumers. In order to avoid being affected by lifestyle ailments like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, consumers are looking for safer alternatives. As a result, not only diabetics but calorie-conscious consumers are now also preferring products prepared with low calorie sweeteners. This has led to a rise in the availability of sweets prepared with low calorie sweeteners.
Sanjeev Kapoor, Indian Celebrity Chef, said, “Correct knowledge is the key to correct choices. Replacing most of the high-calorie food products is difficult. However, sugar which adds free calories to the diet can be replaced easily with low-calorie sweeteners. People often say that it doesn’t taste the same and I agree with them. It won’t taste 100% same, however, if one tries it for 2-3 weeks then they will get habituated to the taste. If compromising on 10% of taste can help you cut down on your total calorie intake, it is a deal worth taking.”
As it is difficult for Indian consumers to let go of their penchant for sweets, the availability of safer options, produced with low calorie sweeteners, ensures that they can indulge in their favourite sweets without any worries. Though, it is pertinent to mention that while preparing sweets with low calorie sweeteners ensures low intake of glucose, but it does not make the sweets calorie-free as there are other ingredients also present in the sweets that are rich in calories like nuts, ghee, and butter. So, consumption should be regulated to avoid side-effects. There was a dedicated session the science of low calorie sweeteners at the 7th HEAL Health Writers convention. The objective of this session was to present and deliberate on scientiﬁc evidences present around low-calorie sweeteners and understand its relevance for the Indian population especially. The session brought together international nutrition, clinical and toxicology experts to share relevant, credible scientiﬁc evidence ﬁndings on safety and health beneﬁts of the low – calorie sweeteners. The session was meant to highlight the importance of quoting credible resources on the subject of LCS in any media story as impact of ill-researched media stories around LCS on the masses – especially patients with metabolic disorders – can be highly adverse.
About HEAL Foundation
HEAL Foundation is a not for profit organisation registered under Indian Trust Act. As a trust, we aim to engage key stakeholders of the healthcare industry in India with the mission of:
- Nudging masses towards healthier practices by spreading awareness around relevant health issues
- Engaging and empowering stakeholders through capacity building so that they can guide the country towards better health practices
- Associating with medical bodies, associations, organisations and policy makers to help design policies which can improve health status of the country
It is our belief that by changing health seeking behaviour of all individuals and making health a priority for everyone, India’s disease burden will decline and our health status shall improve leading to country’s growth at all levels.
For more information, visit https://www.healfoundation.in/
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