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  • Food
  • The Truth About Sweeteners

    6th March 2017

    6th March 2017

    By Shivraj Bassi

    With increasing amounts of research blaming sugar for a multitude of health issues including diabetes, obesity and tooth decay, the market for alternative sweeteners has never been stronger. There has been lots of marketing done to convince you that one is better than another and speak of "natural sweeteners" further complicates matters. Let's break down the confusion once and for all.


    Companies have spent huge amounts of money to convince people that “stevia” is a natural sweetener but it’s not as simple as that. Stevia is the name of a plant that has sweet tasting leaves. However, stevia isn’t legally allowed to be used as a sweetener due to research-based safety concerns. What is allowed is for companies to take stevia and refine it through a chemical process to turn it into compounds called steviol glycosides (E960). And even then, there are very tight guidelines on the amount you can use due to continued worries over the long-term effects. When you see “stevia” listed as a sweetener on food product packaging, that is factually incorrect. It's also illegal under food label regulations, which state that manufacturers must write “steviol glycosides (E960)”. Furthermore, this sweetener was only approved in some countries to be used as a sweetener in 2011 so it doesn't have a huge time-tested body of research behind it.


    You could argue this shouldn't even be on the list. Thaumatin is not approved by the many countries including the US to be classified and used as a sweetener and that's an important point. By not going through the approval process, thaumatin hasn't been through the rigorous testing that approved sweeteners such as sucralose have.


    Aspartame has been subject to more scare stories than any other sweetener but it’s also the most widely used. It’s on the US EPA’s list of potential carcinogens and that’s enough for us to relegate this sweetener to the scrap heap.


    Our bodies don't break sucralose down so it passes through without being digested. Having been around for over 20 years, there has been a huge amount of credible research conducted that supports its credentials. Used extensively and recognised by all major food regulatory bodies in the world as safe, we regard sucralose to be the best (and safest) sweetener on the market today. Sucralose is also highly stable so your products stay sweet for longer and it can also be used for cooking without breaking down into other compounds. We think it's important to stick with sweeteners that have been around for a long time, tested thoroughly, low calorie, research-tested and widely recognised as safe.


    We chose every single ingredient across our product range (including our sweetener) in accordance with three principles: 1. Functionality – research-based evidence to support consideration. 2. Safety – tried and tested over a long period of time with support of major industry bodies. 3. Effectiveness – the right concentrations to make a difference. We use lots of natural ingredients but any ingredient must match our principles to justify inclusion as our duty of care to our consumers is paramount.


    Europe Debates Stevia "Natural" Claims Europe Food Safety Authority: Sweeteners Stevia Is An Additive Food Standards Agency: view on stevia

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