May 22th 2024 | 4:57

Bizkaia

The UPV/EHU launches exhaustive guide titled 'Sugar and sweeteners, what should I know?'

Jesus Carames

April 15, 2024 | 6:05 p.m.

The objective is to inform the public about the characteristics and possible health repercussions of sweeteners compared to traditional sugar. This document comes at a time when concern is increasing about the consequences of excessive sugar consumption, related to diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and various cardiovascular problems.

The guide details the 19 sweeteners approved by the European Union, offering a careful comparison with sucrose, commonly known as table sugar, which is extracted from both sugar cane and sugar beets. Despite the perception that variants such as brown sugar or panela may be healthier, the guide emphasizes that these do not offer significant benefits in terms of health.

Sweeteners, designed as alternatives to reduce or eliminate sugar consumption, vary widely in terms of chemical structure and origin, including synthetic and natural options. Polyalcohols, such as sorbitol, xylitol and maltitol, are notable for their lower caloric intake and because they do not contribute to dental caries; However, excessive consumption is associated with laxative effects that can cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhea.

Despite the potential benefits of sweeteners in terms of calorie reduction, the guide warns of their possible adverse effects. Not all sweeteners are suitable for all audiences, including pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with specific medical conditions. Additionally, certain sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame can break down at high temperatures during cooking, generating potentially harmful byproducts.

The document also notes that some sweeteners may not be soluble in water, which could affect their use in certain recipes or beverages. This information seeks to provide consumers with the necessary tools to make informed decisions based on their particular needs and health conditions.

Prepared by the Nutrition and Obesity Group of the UPV/EHU, together with collaborations from the Cyber ​​Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition of the Carlos III Health Institute and the Bioaraba Health Research Institute, the guide is a crucial resource to better understand the complex world of sweeteners and their impact on public health.

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