“0” sugar, is it really sugar-free?

Stachyose food additives

“0” sugar, is it really sugar-free?

06/09/2021 blog 0

Have you noticed when you are scanning your mobile phone recently? In the recent period, foods labeled “low sugar”, “sugar free” or even “0 sugar” are flooded with large and small screens. It seems that everyone is afraid to avoid “sugar”. Why?

With the improvement of the living standards of Chinese residents, chronic diseases caused by excessive energy intake are showing a high incidence. According to the latest “Report on the Status of Nutrition and Chronic Diseases of Chinese Residents” in 2020, the overweight and obesity population among the adult population of Chinese residents over 18 years old has exceeded 50% of the total population. The prevalence of diabetes related to glucose metabolism is also not optimistic. In 2012, the prevalence of diabetes among Chinese adult residents has reached

9.7%, equivalent to a doubling of the prevalence rate in 2002 (4.2%).

The “National Nutrition Plan (2017-2030)” promulgated by the General Office of the State Council clearly stated that it is necessary to actively promote a healthy lifestyle for the whole people, and extensively implement the “three reductions and three health” (reduction of salt, oil, sugar, healthy mouth, Healthy weight, healthy bones) as the focus of special actions, among which “sugar reduction” is one of the important contents of controlling energy intake.

However, people’s preference for sweetness is innate, and babies will smile after they taste sweetness on the first day of birth. How can we satisfy people’s taste for sweetness without excessive intake of sugar? Especially for people who need to control sugar intake, it is an important issue.

As a food additive that imparts sweetness to food, sweeteners provide a viable choice for these people. Due to the characteristics of high sweetness, low or no energy, stable process performance, and high safety, sweeteners have been more and more widely used in food and beverages in many countries and regions over the past 100 years. “, “No sugar” or even “0 sugar” food and beverages have become the new darling of the food industry.

Is “0 sugar” really no sugar?

Regarding the labeling of sugar content on packaged foods and beverages, my country’s national food safety standards have strict definitions.

According to the requirements of “GBZ21922-2008 Basic Terms of Food Nutritional Ingredients”, the concept of “sugar” on food packaging includes all mono- and disaccharides, such as glucose, fructose, sucrose and maltose. It is neither “sugar” in a broad sense. ——The meaning of carbohydrates, not the narrow sense of “sugar”——The meaning of sucrose. Therefore, “0 sugar” and “0 sucrose” are still different.

As for the relationship between these monosaccharides and disaccharides, as shown in the following table.

Note: Galactose and lactose are generally only found in milk

In addition, the main components of white granulated sugar, rock sugar and brown sugar, as well as flake sugar, brown sugar and brown sugar, which are commonly used in our lives, are actually sucrose. The composition of honey is more complex, except for lactose and galactose. Honey is basically a smorgasbord of mono and disaccharides, mainly fructose and glucose, mixed with a little maltose and sucrose; fructose syrup is a mixture of sugars made from corn starch, except for water

The main ingredients are fructose and glucose.

So what is “no sugar” or “0 sugar”?

According to the definition of “sugar-free” and “low-sugar” in the “GB 28050-2011 National Food Safety Standard for Nutrition Labeling of Prepackaged Foods”, when the mono- and di-sugar content in the food or beverage is ≤ 0.5 g /100 g (solid) Or 100 mL (liquid), it can be marked as “no sugar”, “no sugar” or “0 sugar”; and when the monosaccharide and disaccharide content in the food has not reached the sugar-free standard, but the content is ≤ 5 g /100 g (solid or 100 mL (liquid), this food or beverage can be marked as “low sugar”.

“Sugar” and “Non-sugar”

In order to maintain a sweet taste and at the same time cater to consumers’ “no-sugar” and “low-sugar” consumption needs, businesses will choose to use sugar substitutes or sweeteners to replace some or all of the added sugar in food formulas. Low/zero calorie sweetener is an ingredient that is added to foods and beverages to provide sweetness, providing very few or even zero levels of calories.

At present, the sweeteners that have been approved by the state for commercial use include sodium saccharin, acesulfame potassium, cyclamate, aspartame, sucralose, and steviol glycosides. In addition, there are sweeteners with “sugar” in the name but not sugar. Flavoring agents, such as xylitol, sorbitol, erythritol and maltitol and other sugar alcohols are also sweeteners, they provide consumers with a solution to reduce sugar intake without sacrificing sweetness way.

From the initial sodium saccharin to the current various sugar alcohols, due to consumers’ preference for the initial raw materials of sweeteners, the choice of sweeteners tends to be closer to natural mono- and di-saccharide ingredients, such as maltitol, etc., but in reality Above, as long as the sweeteners are added in strict accordance with the type and dosage of national food safety standards, they are safe for human health, and there is no need to worry about them. Especially sugars that are similar in structure to natural sugars
The safety of alcohols and sugar alcohols currently on the permitted list are very reliable.

Low/zero calorie sweeteners provide us with a simple way to reduce the energy and sugar levels in the diet without affecting people’s enjoyment of sweet foods and beverages. A large number of scientific publications have extensively described the nutritional benefits of low/zero calorie sweeteners to the human body, such as oral health, hypoglycemia and insulinemia response, weight management, which are all due to its low or non-cariogenicity and slower Ground or incompletely absorbed by the intestine.

Sweeteners are widely used in more than 100 countries and regions such as the United States, the European Union and China, and some varieties have been used for more than 100 years. The safety of sweeteners has been affirmed by international food safety agencies. The Codex Alimentarius Commission, European Food Safety Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Agency, Health Canada and other institutions have Scientific evaluation

The conclusion is that the use of sweeteners in accordance with relevant regulations and standards will not cause harm to human health.

my country’s “National Food Safety Standard Food Additives Use Standard” (GB2760-2014) has specific regulations on the types of sweeteners allowed to be used, the scope of use and the maximum amount of use. These regulations are based on the scientific risk assessment results of experts. As long as they are used in accordance with the standards, they are guaranteed to be safe.

Let’s take maltitol as an example. This is a sugar alcohol obtained by hydrogenating maltose. It can produce the same sweetness as sucrose when used in food, but because the chemical configuration is different from that of sucrose and maltose, it will not It causes violent fluctuations in blood sugar and blood insulin like sucrose or maltose, and does not produce as many calories as digestible carbohydrates, which is useful for controlling weight gain and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Has a certain positive effect.

In addition, due to the changes in the chemical properties after hydrogenation, maltitol will not be fermented by bacteria to produce acid, especially it will not be used by bacteria in the oral cavity to produce acidic substances that corrode tooth enamel, so it will not cause dental caries like sucrose. Has a certain anti-caries effect. Moreover, according to the “GB 2760-2007 Hygienic Standard for the Use of Food Additives”, the use of maltose in foods such as candy, bread, cakes and biscuits
The amount of alcohol added is not even limited to the upper limit of the amount of addition, and the safety of its consumption is evident.

In 1964, Japan began to industrially produce maltitol, and maltitol has been commercialized for many years in Europe, the United States and other countries. The FAO/WHO Food Additives Joint Expert Committee does not limit their maximum allowable daily intake ADI value. Many countries including France, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, Japan and the United States have approved the use of maltitol in food.
application. It can be seen that its safety is recognized worldwide.

0 sugar=0 energy?

First of all, a simple answer, “0 sugar” does not mean “0 calories”. From the consumer’s buying psychology and general perception, when choosing a standard “0 sugar” or “low sugar” food or drink, you are actually choosing a low-calorie food or drink, because it is correct or incorrect. In the promotion of nutrition knowledge, people have established an implicit connection between “sugar” and “calories” and “unhealthy”.

However, what we need to point out here is that in some foods and beverages, “0 sugar” does not mean “0 calories”. What is going on?

First of all, we have to go back to “GB 28050-2011 National Food Safety Standard Prepackaged Food Nutrition Labelling General Principles” to find the description of energy (that is, calories), when a food or beverage provides energy ≤ 17 kJ /100 g (solid) or 100 mL (liquid), and the proportion of energy provided by fat content is less than or equal to 50% of the total energy, such food or beverage is considered “no energy” or “zero energy”

Therefore, foods or beverages marked with “0 calories” are not truly absolutely calorie-free.

And in some foods, in addition to monosaccharides and disaccharides, there are other unavoidable food components that also play an energy supply role. For example, biscuits, in addition to sugar, and flour, can generate energy after digestion by the human body. Therefore, for foods such as biscuits, even if a single sugar is not added strictly, it is impossible to completely meet the “zero calorie”. This is completely dependent on added sugar or sweeteners to introduce sweetness and

The heat component of the beverage is not the same, the beverage can strictly meet the “zero calorie” standard.