Low-calorie sweeteners have proven beneficial in managing conditions like diabetes and hypertension and help in controlling weight and reducing risks associated with obesity, doctors and nutritionists observed at a recently concluded health convention in the Capital.
Several sweet makers in Kolkata have witnessed a rise in demand for sweets made with low calorie sweeteners this Diwali. Low-calorie sweeteners are sugar substitutes like saccharin and sucralose that do not raise blood glucose levels. A city-based brand that specializes in north Indian sweets and snacks said it has witnessed a 10% growth in the low-calorie sweetener segment they launched a few years ago. “Though the initial response was lukewarm, the demand has picked up in the past two years, particularly during Diwali,” said a brand official.
“As the benefits of low-calorie sweeteners are becoming known, a higher number of consumers are opting for them in place of refined sugar. Till a few years ago, only those who consumed warm beverages or those who were diabetic used low-calorie sweeteners. But today, awareness about this variant is high as several people are opting for them in order to avoid lifestyle ailments like diabetes and hypertension,” said Anoop Misra, chairman, endocrinologist at Fortis who was speaking at a panel discussion at the health convention organized last month by HEAL Foundation, an NGO which engages with key stakeholders of the healthcare industry in India with the mission of spreading awareness about relevant issues, empowering stakeholders and providing inputs in designing healthcare policies.
“According to studies conducted by Joint WHO-FAO Expert Committee on Food Additives, as low-calorie sweeteners go through extensive testing and quality checks, their safety cannot be doubted,” said Swadeep Srivastava, founder and principal consultant of HEAL Foundation.
However, nutritionists caution against unregulated consumption of sweets prepared with low-calorie sweeteners. “Preparing sweets with these sweeteners ensures low intake of glucose, but it does not make the sweets calorie free. So, consumption should be regulated to avoid side effects,” said Manjari Chandra, a nutritionist based in the Capital.
Source: Times of India