Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Scared of Sweeteners? The low down from CocaCola & The British Nutrition Foundation

As a diabetic I consider myself quite the connoisseur when it comes to sweeteners, well on the basis of taste anyway. I am very choosy on which little tablets I drop into my hot beverages and when it comes to Coca-Cola until recently I was 100 per cent a Coke Zero girl.

In its distinctive black and red can I think it tastes closer to real "red" Coke but (like Diet Coke) instead of sugar uses aspartame and acesulfame-K to sweeten it.

The new Coca-Cola Life uses a natural sweetener (plant-based Stevia) as well as regular sugar giving it an almost identical taste (IMHO) to Coca-Cola but already I have seen articles from people who are not convinced of the safety of drinking this or any product containing sweeteners, artificial or otherwise.

Now I'm a believer in everything in moderation and think that as long as you are no consuming vast quantities of, well anything really, you are probably quite safe. 

I wrote recently hoping to quell people's fears about the amount of caffeine in Coke (less than in a cup of green tea by the way)  and linked to a handy caffeine calculator on the Coca-Cola website where you can check out the amount in your favourite food and drinks.

A lot of readers said this was reassuring but they were still concerned about the sweeteners in their products. There are a lot of people drinking diet drinks whether its in a bid to keep calories low for weight-loss, because of medical issues like me or just because they prefer the taste.

Apparently more than 40 per cent of the colas that the brand sells are low or no-calorie so that's a lot of people consuming sweeteners just in Diet Coke and Zero!

Add to that the people drinking Fanta Orange Zero, Lilt Zero (yum!) Schweppes Diet Lemonade, Relentless Origin Ultra and Powerade Zero, that's a lot of people who might be interested to learn what it is they are drinking

I was delighted to learn that Coca-Cola are already on the case - not only is there information on their website (as well as on each can or bottle obviously!) about which sweeteners they use in various products, they also have links to a video by the British Nutrition Foundation on the safety and benefits of no and low calorie sweeteners.

There's also lots of information on the British Nutrition Foundation website, including facts from a 2010 conference focusing on sweeteners. I thought this statement from the conference was particularly reassuring:

"All low calorie sweeteners undergo a comprehensive and thorough safety evaluation by regulatory authorities before being approved. As part of this assessment, an acceptable daily intake (ADI) level is determined, which is a safe level of human intake over a lifetime. The levels permitted in foods are established so that even high intakes of sweeteners from all sources would not exceed the ADI. Consumption surveys confirm that intakes of low calorie sweeteners are well below the respective ADI values in all population groups. "

Well below the ADI! Well that's good to know and is a complicated way of saying my mantra-sweeteners, like most things, are OK in moderation. Apparently sweeteners do not contribute to tooth decay like sugar. Well that's good news too!

Coca-Cola have also published information and a video about Stevia, a sweetener 200 times sweeter than sugar extracted from a plant related to the chrysanthemum, which along with sugar sweetens the new Coke Life which has a third less calories than regular Coke.

I know this post is not going to covert those who are vehemently against sweeteners or Coca-Cola products but hopefully will be interesting and reassuring to the millions of us that do consume Cola and other foodstuffs containing sweeteners. 

Writing is thirsty work - now where did I hide that last can of Zero.......?

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. Views and opinions are my own.

3 comments:

  1. What a really interesting post. I haven't tasted the new 'green' coke yet, although we have used Stevia in our house. I am with you - all things in moderation. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo :) x

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    1. I genuinely like it and think it tastes v similar to "red" coke although I have heard others say differently

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  2. Great post.
    There are so many things be shared on facebook about aspartame and about how it is the devil and all that jazz, but I have always taken them with a pinch of salt. Maybe in seriously high quantities it is bad for you, but most people will drink in moderation.
    I am totally addicted to red coke, and I know it is really sugary but I love it! I have started drinking coke zero though, and was surprised at how much I liked it x

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