Category Archives: sweeteners

What’s not a diet soda, but not a regular soda? Coming soon to the U.S. … Coke Life

0616_coke_life_970-630x420Soda drinkers have a bit of a problem these days. The widely held opinion used to be that diet sodas were a better choice than sugared sodas. Now, though, the artificial sweeteners in sugared sodas are linked to actual weight gain, instead of weight loss. Their sugary counterparts are under fire for contributing to the obesity crisis, in addition to the rise in diabetes and heart disease. Of course, for those of us who aren’t soda drinkers, both diet and regular sodas are the equivalent of chemical nightmares. But soda drinkers are having a hard time figuring out what to do. So much so that soda sales have steadily declined over the last 9 years. Consumers aren’t happy with soda choices and it’s beginning influence manufacturer decisions.

Coca-Cola, notably, is responding. There’s a new Coke on the horizon. Packaged in a green can that most of us aren’t yet familiar with, Coke Life is Coca-Cola’s answer to consumer concerns. Sweetened with stevia, this new version of regular Coke has been released in Argentina and Chili. This coming fall, it will debut in the U.K. It’s worth pointing out that this is the first new addition to Coke branded sodas in almost eight years.

Coke Life isn’t exactly a diet drink. It contains more than four tablespoons of real sugar and has about 89 calories per can—less than the 140 calories found in a can of regular Coke, but hardly something that will be championed by the quinoa crowd.

Instead, Coke Life is Coca-Cola’s answer to the two health concerns that have been hitting the company’s soda sales with a one-two punch: the anti-sugar movement, which rails against its full-calorie, full-sugar line of beverages, and the perception that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (found in both Diet Coke and Coke Zero) are unhealthy and can even contribute to weight gain.

These concerns have contributed to a steady nine-year decline in U.S. soda sales. Last year they slid even further—dropping 3 percent, or more than double the 1.2 percent they’d fallen the year before. (Soda is already down a further 2 percent this year.) Diet soda sales withstood the decline for a while; now they appear to be tumbling, too. Last year, Diet Coke sales in the U.S. dropped nearly 7 percent, according to Beverage Digest.

As soda sales have fallen, Coke has also found itself fending off health-policy experts and state governments pushing for increased regulation of sugary drinks and snacks. New York City’s limit on soda container sizes is currently making its way through state courts, and a California law that would add a warning label to cans saying, “Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay” has made it through the state senate, despite heavy lobbying by the local arm of the American Beverage Association (of which Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are members). In the U.K., where Coke Life will make its next debut, Coca-Cola has agreed to reduce the average calories in its sodas by 5 percent by the end of this year.

Coca-Cola has more than 100 years of experience fighting health crazes and government regulation campaigns. In 1906 the U.S. government sued the company in attempt to get it to abandon caffeine. (It lost.) In 1950, a Cornell professor named Clive McCay testified before a Congressional committee on food additives that Coke could eat through teeth. (Not true.) But so many drink choices are now available that Americans’ current move away from soda doesn’t appear to be temporary.

At the moment, Coke Life doesn’t have a U.S. debut date. Given the company’s heavy investment in stevia-based drinks—in 2007, Coca-Cola and Cargill teamed up to create Truvia, a consumer brand of stevia sweetener—it seems likely that the drink will soon see much wider release.

While Coke Life may in fact offer less sugar than regular soda and healthier sugar than both regular and diet soda, it still contains about 4 teaspoons of sugar in every can. That’s still too much when you consider the new recommendations of 6 teaspoons per day for men and 9 for women.

Step in the right direction? For some, maybe. But then there’s us. Here at FoodFacts.com, sugar is just part of our concerns — a big part, undoubtedly, but still only a part. At the end of the day, it will still be a Coke that’s sweetened differently. The changes in the ingredient list won’t go far enough. We’ll still be left with plenty of items on the ingredient list that we can’t bring ourselves to consume. Still soda. Still a problem.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-06-17/cokes-new-low-cal-low-sugar-soda-is-designed-to-quiet-critics

Questions about the safety of sucralose

FoodFacts.com has never been a fan of artificial sweeteners. Most are controversial, have undergone insufficient safety testing and have been linked everything from gastrointestinal disturbances to cancer. We advocate for the avoidance of artificial sweeteners and the products in which they are contained, like diet soft drinks and low-fat, reduced-calorie food products.

Splenda (the brand name for sucralose) is now joining the list of artificial sweeteners with questionable health effects. While sucralose has been deemed “safe” by the Center for Science in the Public Interest for years, they are now downgrading it to “caution” after the release of an Italian animal study linking sucralose to a higher risk of leukemia. CSPI says it is waiting for the review of the study before deciding on the long-term safety grade it will finally assign for sucralose in its Chemical Cuisine guide to food additives.

The study that has called the safety of sucralose into question comes from the Ramazzini Institute in Bologna, Italy. Here, researchers fed 843 laboratory mice varying doses of sucralose daily from when they were fetuses until they died. Post-mortem examinations on the mice showed an association between the development of leukemia and lifetime sucralose consumption. The more sucralose the mice consumed, the higher their risk of leukemia.

Researchers noted that previous studies involving rats showed increases in liver and lung tumors in male animals consuming aspartame. These studies increased the health concerns regarding aspartame and have led consumers to switch from aspartame sweeteners to sucralose (Splenda). Splenda has been widely promoted as a safer alternative. Researchers believe that with this new link between sucralose consumption and leukemia, further study is urgently needed in order to assess cancer risk in humans.

The rise in rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes worldwide has led to an increase in the consumption of reduced-calorie food products and diet beverages. All of these products contain some type of artificial sweetener. They can even be found in over the counter medications. In addition, people are adding Splenda to their coffee, tea or homemade beverages like lemonade. It is often used in cooking and baking as well. The Center for Science in the Public Interest points out that while sucralose may prove to be safer than saccharin, aspartame and acesulfame potassium, this new study warrants careful scrutiny before we can be confident that the sweetener is safe for use in foods and beverages.

Everyone in the FoodFacts.com community is aware of the potential health effects of artificial sweeteners. This new information calling into question the safety of sucralose places yet another sweetener into the questionable category. While it’s understandable that there are many in the worldwide population who seek sugar alternatives based on health and weight concerns, it is so important for all of us to remain aware of the potential risks involved in the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Processed foods and beverages contain too much added sugar. And for those that want to avoid sugar, manufacturers have replaced it with too much artificial sweetener. We can continue to do our best to avoid both by reading nutrition labels and ingredient lists and making our best effort to prepare healthy, whole foods in our own kitchens.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262475.php

More on Aspartame and its Controversy

Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

It seems that people have always had a “sweet tooth” to some extent.
4392684_1287266_290
So much so, that much of the Caribbean and the American south was covered with sugar plantations throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.

This need for something sweet has carried on to the present-day. Unfortunately, sugar, as sweet and delicious as it is, is also very effective at packing on the pounds.
general_mills_fiber_one
So, when James Schlatter, a drug researcher at G.D. Searle and Co., stumbled upon aspartame in 1965, it was instantly studied as a substitute for sugar.

According to Aspartame.org, which is a member The Calorie Control Council, an international non-profit association representing the low-calorie food and beverage industry, the artificial sweetener is currently “consumed by over 200 million people around the world and is found in more than 6,000 products.”

Controversy over Safety and Toxicity

However, since the artificial sweetener was approved by the FDA in 1974, there has been controversy around its safety and toxicity.

After it hit the market in 1985, several complaints against the artificial sweetener arose. However, the government maintained that aspartame is safe for human consumption. Yet, opponents of the artificial sweetener state that the government’s investigation and subsequent approval were corrupted due to a conflict of interest.

Nevertheless, the Aspartame.org maintains, “The safety of aspartame has been affirmed by the U.S. FDA 26 times in the past 23 years.”

Many people, including some doctors and researchers, are not convinced.
dietsnapplelemon
In article by Dr. John Briffa for The Epoch Times, the link between Aspartame side effects and fibromyalgia is explored. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome usually characterized by fatigue and chronic pain in the muscles and in tissues surrounding the joints.

Two Cases Linking Aspartame to Fibromyalgia

Braiffa cites two cases from Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology journal published in December 2010.

In the first case, a woman suffered from the syndrome for years. While on vacation she discontinued her aspartame consumption and her symptoms ceased. When she returned home, she resumed consuming aspartame and her symptoms returned.

In the second case, a man suffered from fibromyalgia for three years. His doctor removed aspartame from his diet and his symptoms ceased. In reference to these two cases Braiffa states:

“Case studies such as these don’t prove that these individuals’ symptoms were due to aspartame. [snip] Certainly, should I see an individual suffering from generalized pain andfibromyalgia in the future, I’ll be making doubly sure I ask about their consumption of aspartame and will be advising them to stop it as a matter of course.”

Side Effects of Aspartame

In a recent article found at The Gleaner, Dr. Janet Star Hull stated the following were common Aspartame side effects:

• Nervous system: epileptic seizures, headaches, migraine, severe dizziness, unsteadiness, memory loss, drowsiness and sleepiness, numbness of the limbs, slurring of speech, hyperactivity, restless legs, facial pain, tremors, attention-deficit disorder and brain tumors.

• Eyes/Ears: blindness, blurring or decreased vision, bright flashes, and decreased night vision, pain in the eyes, bulges in eyes, ringing or buzzing sounds, hearing loss.

• Psychological/Psychiatric: depression, irritability, aggression, anxiety, personality changes, insomnia, phobias.

• Chest: palpitations, shortness of breath, high blood pressure.

• Intestinal: nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain.

• Allergies: wheezing, asthma, itching, skin rash.

• Diabetes: Aspartame can precipitate diabetes, worsens blood sugar control, may cause diabetics to have seizures and interact badly with insulin.
equal-sweetener-w200-h200
Aspartame aggregates diabetic retinopathy, damages the optic nerve and promotes blindness. The free methyl alcohol it produces causes neuropathy and increases the risk of diabetics losing limbs.

However, Aspartame.org contends that these allegations are false – proven not only by the FDA, but also by other food safety organizations.

“Recently, several governments and expert scientific committees (including the Scientific Committee on Food of the European Commission, the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency, the French Food Safety Agency and Health Canada) carefully evaluated the Internet allegations and found them to be false, reconfirming the safety of aspartame. In addition, leading health authorities, such as the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The National Parkinson Foundation, Inc., the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Lupus Foundation of America, have reviewed the claims on the Internet and also concluded that they are false.”

The organization also states the artificial sweetener has received a clean bill of health from the National Cancer Society and the American Diabetes
Association.

This controversy has been going on for nearly three decades and there is no sign of it letting up any time soon.
(Top Secret Writers)