Health experts have been saying that added sugar content that is found in pre-packaged foods and drinks is increasing the number of people who are dealing with severe health conditions. Many people are at risk of death as well due to higher consumption of added sugar. Now, a study that has been done by experts from Massachusetts General Hospital has shown that cutting down added sugar content from packaged foods and beverages might have some long-term health benefits. The authors of the study have created a model to identify the effects of reducing added sugar content in 15 kinds of packaged foods and beverages. They have observed dietary data that have been taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They have combined the findings with the policy that has been proposed by the US National Salt and Sugar Reduction Initiative (NSSRI). The NSSRI is an association of more than 100 organizations and health officials across the country. The NSSRI comprises the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science, and Policy from Tufts University, and Massachusetts General Hospital. The results of the new study have been reported in a journal known as Circulation.
The findings of the study have shown that cutting down the amount of added sugar from packaged meals by 20 percent and reducing the content of added sugar in packaged drinks by 40 percent can prevent nearly 2.48 million events of cardiovascular issues such as strokes, heart attacks, and cardiac arrests. The authors of the study have said that these fractions of reduction in the amount of added sugar will halt nearly 490000 deaths linked to cardiovascular ailments. It will prevent around 750000 events of diabetes as well. The authors of the study have said that these reductions will also save nearly $4.28 billion in healthcare revenue as well in the next ten years. These cutbacks in the amount of added sugar will save around $118 billion in revenue over the life span of the adult population, said the experts. Another study as well has shown that eating ultra-processed foods like sweetened beverages, sodas, and fast foods each week is linked to an elevated risk of heart issues. This study has been done by the European Society of Cardiology. Experts from Greece have said that each highly processed food item that is eaten during the week can shoot up people’s odds of being diagnosed with a cardiovascular issue by 10 percent within 10 years. The authors of the new study have said that health officials should execute public health programs and nutrition policies to promote better food choices among people. A certified dietician, Sarah Koszyk has said that it is hard to keep a tab on companies that make processed foods; however, people can control what they eat. She has said that people should closely check the nutrition label present on the product to find out where the sugar is being sourced from in the food.
Sarah Koszyk is a sports nutritionist as well. She has claimed that not all sugars are made equally. Sugars that are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, starches, and dairy products are natural sugar. Natural sugar accounts for the total sugar that is found on a nutrition label. Koszyk has said that all these foods except dairy foods have dietary fiber as well. As per the experts, dietary fiber is a kind of carbohydrate that encourages satiety and offers health benefits linked to the heart. The authors of the study have said that if people are buying dried fruits, they should opt for a product that has a nutrition label, which mentions fruits only. Additional ingredients of sugar that are mentioned in the nutrition label contribute to the content of added sugar that is not good for the overall health. Health experts have said that as sweet stuff is called by numerous names, the content of added sugar is hard to be identified in packaged foods. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has claimed that cane juice, dextrose, corn syrup, fruit nectars, lactose, maltose, maple syrup, fructose, glucose, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, and high-fructose corn syrup are kinds of added sugar only. Dr. Sarah Koszyk has said that moderation and frequency matter the most when it comes to eating low sugar or reduced sugar items as the amounts of sugary items can still make a difference if people start eating them more often. She has said that stevia and monk fruit are good options for people who want to add some sweetness to their coffee or tea, as they are plant-based substitutes for sugar. These alternatives will help people maintain their glycemic index and promote low to no calorie consumption. Experts have said that one tablespoon of powdered stevia is equal to one cup of sugar.