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ScienceNostalgia101

How was "sugar" originally defined?

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So a lot of companies try to get around admitting to the sugar content of their products through special pleading. They'll refuse to count high fructose corn syrup as sugar, for instance, presumably by the fact that it's technically chemically distinct from sucrose.

 

This raises a key question; how was sugar originally defined? Did the original definition include all things chemically counted as sugars, or just a narrower subset of them?

Edited by ScienceNostalgia101

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A lot of low carb treats contain "sugar alcohols" which I gather don't metabolize as sugar does, at least for some of them.  Do these count as sugars?  I'd guess yes but they don't count as digestible carbs.  I've wondered if you ate enough would you get a buzz.  Might have to eat several pounds so it's a non issue.

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On 1/11/2020 at 5:09 PM, Huckleberry of Yore said:

A lot of low carb treats contain "sugar alcohols" which I gather don't metabolize as sugar does, at least for some of them.  Do these count as sugars?  I'd guess yes but they don't count as digestible carbs.  I've wondered if you ate enough would you get a buzz.  Might have to eat several pounds so it's a non issue.

Apparently there's digestive problems from them as well.

 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sugar-alcohols-good-or-bad#section6

 

Not sure if it'd be worth it for the buzz.

 

The issue with the corn syrup thing is that the federal government itself won't call it sugar. So why the impetus to refuse to in this context even though fructose is referred to as "a sugar" in biology classes?

 

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/feds-say-high-fructose-corn-syrup-not-sugar-flna805762

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16 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

Apparently there's digestive problems from them as well.

 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sugar-alcohols-good-or-bad#section6

 

Not sure if it'd be worth it for the buzz.

 

The issue with the corn syrup thing is that the federal government itself won't call it sugar. So why the impetus to refuse to in this context even though fructose is referred to as "a sugar" in biology classes?

 

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/feds-say-high-fructose-corn-syrup-not-sugar-flna805762

It seems, it's mainly the physical state they are sticking to; syrup. They could  call it 'High Fructose Corn Sugar (Syrup)'

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Here's more:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/artificial-sweeteners-and-weight-gain

May cause weight gain (!), disrupt gut bacteria, and encourage insulin resistance.  For me, my only beverages are water, coffee, and beer.

19 minutes ago, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

The issue with the corn syrup thing is that the federal government itself won't call it sugar.

Reminds me of the controversy of around the late 1800's where IIRC the SCOTUS ruled tomatoes aren't fruit for purposes of taxation.

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europa eu regulations

1.1 Defining sugars

European Union legislation (EU 2011) refers to sugars as 'all monosaccharides and disaccharides present in food, but excludes polyols', while foods with no added sugars are defined as foods without 'any added monosaccharides or disaccharides', or without 'any added food containing monosaccharides or disaccharides which is used for its sweetening purposes' (EC 2008, EU 2011)a.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), in its scientific opinion on Dietary Reference Values for carbohydrates and dietary fibre (EFSA 2010a), refers to added sugars as 'sucrose, fructose, glucose, starch hydrolysates (glucose syrup, high-fructose syrup) and other isolated sugar preparations used as such or added during food preparation and manufacturing' (not including the sugars present in unsweetened fruit juice or honey as added sugars), and total sugars as the sum of added sugars and endogenous sugars present in fruits, vegetables, cereals, as well as lactose in milk products. The United States (US) Institute of Medicine (IoM) provides a similar definition for added sugars (IOM 2006).

For the World Health Organization (WHO 2015), the term sugars includes intrinsic sugars, which are those incorporated within the structure of intact fruit and vegetables; sugars naturally present in milk (lactose and galactose); and free sugars, which are 'monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods and beverages by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates'. The main difference between the EFSA and WHO definitions is that the WHO 'free sugars' covers not only all sugars added to foods during manufacture or by the consumer, but also those present in fruit juice and honey or syrups. 

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA 2017), states that 'the definition of added sugars includes sugars that are either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such, and include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type. The definition excludes fruit or vegetable juice concentrated from 100 percent fruit juice that is sold to consumers (e.g. frozen 100 percent fruit juice concentrate) as well as some sugars found in fruit and vegetable juices, jellies, jams, preserves, and fruit spreads'.

For the purposes of this Brief, the term sugars, added sugars, total sugars, intrinsic sugars and free sugars and will refer to the definitions provided above, while the term 'sugar' will refer to sucrose exclusivelyb.

Sugars belong to the family of carbohydrates. In the EU legislation (EU 2011), the term 'carbohydrates' refers to 'any carbohydrate which is metabolised by humans, and includes polyols' (see 1.2). Carbohydrates can be single unit molecules, but can also be made up of several units linked together by a variety of chemical bonds. Major dietary carbohydrates, including sugars, can be classified as described in Table 1.

 

Show Table 1. Main dietary carbohydrates

 

1.2. Defining sweeteners

In the EU (EC 2008, EU 2011) sweeteners are referred to as food additive substances used to 'impart a sweet taste to foods or in table-top sweeteners'. Table-top sweeteners 'shall mean preparations of permitted sweeteners, which may contain other food additives and/or food ingredients and which are intended for sale to the final consumer as a substitute for sugars'.

In order to be included in the list of EU approved food additives, and in addition to the general requirements of food additives, sweeteners must serve one or more of these purposes: i) 'replacing sugars for the production of energy-reduced food, non-cariogenic food or food with no added sugars' or ii) 'replacing sugars where this permits an increase in the shelf life of the food'e. Following the above definition, for the purposes of this Brief, the term 'sweeteners' will refer to those non-nutritive (or low caloric) food additives that are approved for use as sugar replacers in the EU and are reported in Table 3.

Sweeteners can be of two categories: high-intensity sweeteners, which are substances with an intense sweet taste and with no energy value that are used to replace sugars in foods (EFSA 2011)f and polyolsd, defined as 'alcohols containing more than two hydroxyl groups', which are low calorie sugar replacers, but which can also exert other technological functions in food and can be used for purposes other than sweetening.

 

Back to top Back to paragraph

 

2. Dietary sources of sugars and sweeteners

2.1. Dietary sources of sugars

Common monosaccharides include glucose, fructose and galactose, while the main dietary disaccharides are sucrose (consisting of glucose and fructose) and lactose (consisting of glucose and galactose). The sources of these are described in Table 2 and include plants, especially fruits and vegetables where most mono- and disaccharides are intrinsically occurring. In addition, sugars are added to foods to impart a sweet taste, during cooking, table top use or in processed foods and beverages; this includes honey, molasses and various syrups such as isoglucose, or malt, corn or sugar beet syrups.

 

Hide Table 2: Main dietary sugars (mono- and disaccharide carbohydrates) and their sources

Based on: SACN 2015, Present Knowledge in Nutrition 2012

Sugars
Dietary sources and metabolism

Sucrose

The predominant disaccharide, sucrose is naturally present in large quantities in sugar cane and sugar beet, as well as in many vegetables, roots and fruits. Major dietary sources include, apart from table-top use and cooking, a variety of processed foods and beverages sweetened with sugar, e.g. soft drinks and juicesa, sports and energy drinks as well as confectionary products, sweet and savoury snacks, sweet spreads and jams, dairy products and ice-cream. In the body, sucrose is metabolised into glucose and fructose.

Lactose

Another major disaccharide, predominantly found naturally in milk and dairy products. In the body, lactose is hydrolysed into galactose and glucose.

Maltose/Trehalose

Maltose, (made up from 2 molecules of glucose) is the least common of the three major disaccharides, and is found in nature in small amounts (e.g. in barley, wheat, germinating grain). Major dietary sources include beer, cereals, cooked sweet potatoes, pasta and sweetened processed products. Trehalose is also made from two glucose molecules; the difference with maltose lies in the configuration of the chemical bond between the glucose molecules. It is found in yeast products, mushrooms and crustaceans.

Glucose

Fructose

Galactose

These monosaccharides occur naturally in small amounts in fruits, vegetables and plant juices. Apart from the consumption of the above, dietary sources include honey and syrups. Free galactose is rare in foods, except in fermented and lactase-hydrolysed milks.

 

a The addition of sugars is not authorised in fruit juices, fruit juice from concentrate, concentrated fruit juice, water extracted fruit juice, and dehydrated/powdered fruit juice, and is only allowed in fruit nectars under specific requirements (EU 2012).

                                                                                                                   

 

2.2. Dietary sources of sweeteners

Major dietary sources of sweeteners (Table 3) include table-top use during cooking or beverage preparation, as well as through consumption of processed foods and beverages.

Hide Table 3: Main sweeteners and their sources
High- intensity sweeteners
Sweetener
E-Number
Use in foods and dietary sources (ISA 2016)
Acesulfame K E950
  • Table-top sweeteners
  • Replacing sugar in a variety of processed foods
    and beverages such as, flavoured carbonated
    and non-carbonated drinks/soft drinks,
    confectionery, desserts, jams, chewing gums
Aspartame E951
Advantame E969
Cyclamates E952
Neohesperidine DC E959
Neotame E961
Saccharins E954
Salt of Aspartame-Acesulfame E962
Steviol glycosides E960
Sucralose E955
Thaumatin E957

 

Polyols
Sweetener
E-Number
Use in foods and dietary sources (EPA 2016)
Erythritol E968
  • Replacing sugar in a variety of processed foods
    e.g. energy-reduced or with no added sugar products)
    such as:
    • confectionery (e.g. hard and soft candies)
    • fine bakery wares (e.g. cakes, biscuits)
    • ice-cream, desserts
    • Jams, crystallised fruit
    • sauces
  • Table-top sweeteners
Isomalt E422
Lactitol E965
Maltitol E953

Mannitol

E421
Polyglycitol Syrup E964
Sorbitol E420
Xylitol E967

 

 

 

Back to top Back to paragraph

 

 

3. Labelling of sugars and sweeteners in the EU

3.1. Labelling of sugars

In the EU, Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 (EU 2011) on food information to consumers requires mandatory nutrition declaration for sugars, under carbohydrates (stating amount of g per 100 g of product), in prepacked foods. For labelling purposes, the reference intake for sugars of an average adult (8400 kJ/2000 kcal) is 90 g/day. In addition, the same regulation states that, in conversion factors for the calculation of energy, carbohydrates (including sugars) have an energy value of 4 kcal/g.

Under Regulation (EU) 1924/2006 (EC 2006) for health and nutrition claims made on foods, the following sugars-related nutrition claims are permitted:

  • Sugar-free claims, 'may only be made where the product contains no more than 0,5 g of sugar per 100 g or 100 ml'.
  • With no added sugars claims 'may only be made where the product does not contain any added mono- or disaccharides or any other food used for its sweetening properties. If sugars are naturally present in the food, the following indication should also appear on the label: CONTAINS NATURALLY OCCURRING SUGARS'.
  • Low sugars claims 'may only be made where the product contains no more than 5g of sugar per 100 g for solids or 2,5 g of sugar per 100 ml for liquid'.

3.2 Labelling of sweeteners

In the EU, in general, if a food additive belongs to the category/functional class 'sweetener' it must be designated by the name of that category (i.e., 'sweetener'), followed by its specific name or, if appropriate, E number on the food packaging (EC 2008, EU 2011).

Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 (EU 2011) on food information to consumers requires any food containing a sweetener(s) authorised pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 (EC 2008, EU 2011) (i.e. the sweeteners referred to in this Brief) to carry 'with sweetener(s)' as a statement that shall accompany the name of the food. Foods containing both an added sugar or sugars and a sweetener or sweeteners authorised pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 shall carry the statement 'with sugar(s) and sweetener(s)' as a statement that shall accompany the name of the food.

The sales description of a table-top sweetener shall include the term ‘…-based table-top sweetener', using the ame(s) of the sweetener(s) used in its composition. The labelling of a table-top sweetener containing polyols and/or aspartame and/or aspartame-acesulfame salt shall bear the following warnings: for polyols: ‘excessive consumption may induce laxative effects’, and for aspartame/aspartame-acesulfame salt: ‘contains a source of phenylalanine’.Table-top sweeteners are exempted from mandatory nutrition declaration (EU 2011).

Foods containing aspartame/aspartame-acesulfame salt authorised pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 shall be accompanied by a statement 'contains aspartame (a source of phenylalanine)' on the label, if the substance is designated in the list of ingredients only by its E number; in cases where aspartame/aspartame-acesulfame salt is designated in the list of ingredients by its specific name, the statement appearing on the label shall be 'contains a source of phenylalanine'.

Foods containing more than 10% added polyols authorised pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 (EC 2008, EU 2011) shall be labelled with the particular 'excessive consumption may produce laxative effects'. In addition, Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 (EU 2011) states that the energy value to be declared in the nutrition declaration shall be calculated using the conversion factors of 10 kJ/g - 2,4 kcal/g for polyols and 0 kJ/g - 0 kcal/g for erythritol. The unit of measurement to be used in the nutrition declaration for mass of polyols is grams (g), and the order of presentation of the information, as appropriate, is indicated in Regulation (EU) 1169/2011.

As regards nutrition claims foreseen under Regulation (EU) 1924/2006 (EC 2006), some apply to table-top sweeteners, as is the case of food low in energy and energy-free food. Two sweetener related health claims have been approved for use under specific conditions (EU 2012), following EFSA opinions (EFSA 2011, EFSA 2011); both relate to the use of intense sweeteners and polyols as sugar replacers (consumption of foods/drinks containing intense sweeteners and/or polyols instead of sugar contributes to the maintenance of tooth mineralisation and to reduction of post-prandial glycaemic responses compared to sugar- containing foods/drinks

 

 

From EU public document

 

https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/health-knowledge-gateway/promotion-prevention/nutrition/sugars-sweeteners

Edited by studiot

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