Over recent years, a debate started over the amount of sugars one can eat and the potential effects of too high sugars consumption on health.
Today, sweetener concerns are more prominent in some countries and regions than in others, but they are not isolated and are expected to spread across the globe at an accelerated pace.
Caloric sweeteners have been consumed throughout history. When consumed as part of a healthy eating and lifestyle pattern, caloric sweeteners have not been shown to affect diet quality or cause weight gain or diet-related diseases. Development of obesity is multi-factorial, involving multiple lifestyle and dietary factors. Sugars do not contribute to overweight and obesity any differently than do other energy sources.
However, caloric sweeteners can be a source of excess calories that can contribute to weight gain when consumed in above recommended levels of intake over a sustained period of time and in combination to reduced energy expenditure, thus creating a positive energy balance.
Therefore, the solution is not to single out one nutrient, but look to overall diet quality and food intake.
Total, added and free sugars
Sugars exist naturally in foods or can be added and definitions exist for total, added and free sugars. Global guidelines recommend a reduction in added sugar intake to reduce risks of several adverse health effects and chronic disease risks. However, adverse health effects and chronic disease risks are multifactorial and cannot be solely be linked to or caused by a single dietary component.
The human body does not distinguish in how it metabolizes sugars (i.e. intrinsic or added) once they are ingested and scientific studies do not support between intrinsic sugar and added sugar and health risks. It is prudent to not distinguish between intrinsic and added sugars as it relates to health and to evaluate the health effects of sugars in terms of broader caloric intake and lifestyle factors vs. trying to evaluate health effects based on solely on total, added or free sugars.
World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines
While we recognize that the sugar intake recommendations vary globally, the WHO guidelines (added sugars <10% of total energy intake)1 are more and more often being referred to as the recommended levels. Strategies to reduce intakes of sugars should go hand in hand with making overall healthy dietary choices.
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Advice
In Europe, EFSA has updated the timeline for its scientific advice on dietary sugars (total/free/added) due to the high volume of datasets and studies to be collected, analyzed and assessed, to be published in 2021.
In this section
At Cargill, we offer the broadest range of food energy options on the market.
- Sweetness Explained
- Calorie & Sugar Reduction
- Healthy Lifestyles
- Partnering with Cargill
1WHO strong recommendation: guidelines sugar intake (EN)
Some Cargill products are only approved for use in certain geographies, end uses, and/or at certain usage levels. It is the customer's responsibility to determine, for a particular geography, that (i) the Cargill product, its use and usage levels, (ii) the customer's product and its use, and (iii) any claims made about the customer's product, all comply with applicable laws and regulations.