With sugars reportedly playing a key role in rising obesity and heart diseases, the World Health Organisation (‘WHO’) is considering slashing the recommended sugar intake by half. This includes all sugars “added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices".
Despite these anticipated recommendations, food and nutrition experts agree it’s unrealistic to expect people to greatly reduce or cut out sugary foods altogether.
With sugar being an inherent part of many Australians’ diets, quitting or decreasing our intake is unlikely to come easily to most, and made even more difficult when so much of the sugar we’re ingesting is hidden in our favourite foods, drinks and sauces.
Instead, they agree that management of the escalating health crisis linked to excessive consumption of sugar is more likely to be achieved by substituting added sugar in foods with a healthy sugar alternative to both counter blood sugar surges and satisfying sugar cravings.
Sydney-based Naturopath Claire Murray is a strong advocate of working with patients to combat sugar cravings and blood sugar imbalances through dietary changes that include natural sweeteners.
“I believe there is a huge place for sugar alternatives in our current diets, as the addictive and ever-present nature of sugar is keeping us fatigued, gaining weight and hormonally imbalanced.
“The fact that it would be such a monumental process to remove processed sugar from our food supply is a sign that someone totally eliminating sugar is perhaps easier said than done.” Ms Murray said.
Accredited Practising Dietitian Gloria Cabrera agrees with this approach in her work with clients, many of whom are trying to lose weight to manage chronic health conditions.
“I believe it is unrealistic to tell people they can’t have sugar, as it’s naturally contained in many healthy foods like fruit and milk.
“But it is also added to many foods where it doesn’t need to be or added in high quantities. As a result, we’ve become a society that loves sweet things and developed a taste for food to be sweeter than it should,” she said.
Both believe the easiest and best approach to reducing the amount of processed sugar in the diet is by substituting sugar with natural sugar-free alternatives, with Cabrera recommending sugar substitutes, like Natvia, to reduce sugar intake in the short-term, but to also help keep her clients on track longer term.
“I also post recipes using sugar substitutes on my social media to help clients make healthier, but still tasty recipes,“ she said.
Murray agrees, and added that if each person were to access the sweetness that sugar would normally provide from fruits and natural sweetener alternatives, she guarantees we would see some massive shifts in the health of our society.
“If natural sweeteners like Nativia were included in more popular foods and drinks, I resolutely believe Australia would be a healthier place.
“Sugar makes its way into so many supermarket staples, and is done so in such a way that most people are unaware they are consuming it across such a broad range of foods.
“If we are able to reduce people’s exposure to sugar by replacing it with natural alternatives, whilst also educating them on the benefits this creates to their health, I believe we will see some great changes,” she said.
Natvia Co-founder Samuel Tew said that the business predicted this trend some time ago, and started working on healthier sugar alternatives and food ingredients that could be used to replace sugar in everyday cooking and baking, along with manufactured goods.
“We view ourselves as pioneers in creating healthy, natural sweeteners and are introducing products that can be part of the solution to the current health crisis.
“Our goal is to spread the health revolution and change as many people’s lives as we can.
“We’ve just launched the ‘World’s First Sugar Free Icing Mix by Natvia’ that can safely be used in baking to create sugar free desserts and treats – from macaroons to cupcake frosting or even in hot and cold drinks,” he said.
Natvia’s Sugar Free Icing Mix comes as a sixth addition to their existing range of natural sweeteners for cooking, baking and for sweetening beverages.
“Our Sugar Free Icing Mix has been developed with our customers in mind, all of whom are looking for a sugar-free option so they can recreate more of their favourite desserts, while continuing to maintain their healthy diet and lifestyle,” Tew says.
Natvia recently teamed up with Cupcake Central in Melbourne to offer the world’s first sugar-free cupcakes so people could continue to occasionally indulge is this popular treat, without surges in blood sugar and guilt.
Natvia can also be found in drinking mixes and tomato sauces, and this latest product innovation increases the possibilities for the natural sugar alternative provider to extend its reach to more food manufacturers, encouraging them to work hand-in-hand with the company to produce sugar-free options to satisfy the growing urgency to cut down on sugar in our diets.
Natvia Icing Mix is now available for purchase in Coles and Woolworths supermarkets in a 375g pack.
For a live demonstration, plus sampling:
Cupcake Central’s ‘Masterclass in sugar-free cupcakes’
When: Tuesday, 20 May 2014 @ 1pm or 6pm (2 sessions)
Where: Melbourne Central (Level 2)
What: Try your hand at sugar-free baking and taste the difference for yourself.
Natvia Pty Ltd
With a philosophy of making the world a better place and seeking to inspire a better life in people around the globe, we at Natvia set out to find a healthier, 100% natural, low calorie alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners. After significant research and development, Natvia was born and launched into the market in 2009.
P: 03 95211553