WHY ZERO-SUGAR OPTIONS ARE A HEALTHY CHOICE

Zero-Sugar drinks are one of the easy healthy swap options that can be a helpful part of reducing the sugar in our diet and reducing our risk of type-two diabetes and heart disease. Zero-Sugar options allow you to enjoy the taste of your favourite drink but without the sugar and the calories and the health problems that can come from these. It is one of the easier lifestyle swaps as you can enjoy the same product and be healthier.

Some people ask if there is any difference between the Zero-Sugar and the full sugar option. Health Promotion & Social Marketing Lead, Dr Angie Jackson-Morris, explains:

In health terms, the difference is vast. The full sugar options, for example, a 330ml can of a cool drink like Coca-Cola�, contains on average of 10 teaspoons of sugar. You wouldn't believe there would be so much sugar concentrated in the sugar syrup used, but that is how much you are drinking. The high sugar options were originally formulated to feed the world's sweet tooth and to last a long time on the shelf and so be cheaper for manufacturers. They were not made for good health!

The newer Zero-Sugar options these companies have made have replaced the sugar using artificial sweeteners and provide taste but without the sugar and calories. For health and to reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and various cancers, these are by far the best choice people can make for themselves and their families if they want flavoured drinks. Low fat milk and plain tap water are obviously great, though many people like flavoured options sometimes also.

The artificial sweeteners used to replace sugar in these drinks are all clinically trialled for safety and are registered as fully safe for use in a very wide range of food and drink products in everyday use by food health bodies across the world. Zero-Sugar options are promoted by the World Health Organisation as the healthier choice for consumers to replace sugary drinks that contribute especially to obesity and diseases. Products such as sorbitol and aspartame got an incorrect and unfair bad press some years ago based on very outdated research and the misreporting in the media of the risks of certain types of products. The world's major food and health bodies have been very keen to address the myths about sweeteners so that people can make the healthy choice of sugar-free products, and understand that it is the sugar they should be concerned about.

Dr Angie Jackson-Morris concluded:

Sugar-free drinks and the many other products that use sweeteners instead of sugar are an easy and safe way to reduce the sugar and unnecessary calories in our diets.

Look out for Zero-Sugar drinks in your local outlet as the Health Directorate partners with merchants to increase the availability of a range of healthy drinks and snack options.

Source: St Helena Government

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