Rising type 2 diabetes rates are prompting many Americans to look for healthier options. The perceptions of consumers have shifted and many are buying cleaner and healthier beverages. The pandemic has only heightened concerns as consumers are becoming more mindful of their dietary intake. Within beverages, the largest source of calories is sweetened beverages, accounting for 35% according to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Council (DGAC) Scientific Report. Consumers are cleaning up their beverage selection by limiting and avoiding sugars in the diet according to a recent survey conducted by The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFC).
As the DGAC Scientific Report noted, low-and-no calorie sweetened beverages may be a useful tool for in weight management in adults and when (LNCS) can part of a balanced diet, low-and-no calorie sweeteners empower people living with diabetes because they do not raise glucose or insulin levels. “Millions of Americans are affected by diabetes and obesity. For these individuals, nutrition plays a major role in managing disease. LNCS are not a magic bullet but they are excellent tools to help reduce sugar intake, manage blood glucose levels, and reduce overall calorie intake” says Robert Rankin, president of the Calorie Control Council (CCC).
“Low-calorie sweeteners can serve an important role in diabetes management,” says Dr. Keri Peterson, Calorie Control Council medical advisor. Though a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes necessitates lifestyle changes, it does not require an elimination of sweet treats from the diet entirely. In a survey conducted by CCC, 27% of Americans said that they consume low-calorie sweeteners to manage their blood sugar levels. Substituting sugar-sweetened drinks and regular sodas for low-calorie sweetened beverages can make a significant impact on total daily calorie and added sugar consumption.
Nutrition, diet and lifestyle will have the greatest impact in preventing type 2 diabetes. According to the What We Eat in America a database component of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), most Americans consume too much added sugar. In light of the recommendation in the 2020 DGAC Scientific Report to further reduce added sugars in the diet, the identification of practical methods to achieve this goal is more important than ever.
LNCS is used to reduce the amount of added sugar in many food and beverages, allowing consumers to enjoy great taste and nutrition with fewer calories. Today, there are more options than ever before for products sweetened with LNCS, available online and in stores. Products labeled as “light,” “reduced-calorie,” “reduced-sugar” or “diet” often include these ingredients. LNCS can be found in chewing gum, candies, ice cream, baked goods, fruit spreads and canned fruits, fillings and frostings beverages, yogurt and more. LNCS options can be purchased on their own to be included everyday recipes and have become so popular that they even have their own area on grocery store shelves, conveniently located next to the sugar that they’re used to replace. These products, often referred to as “tabletop sweeteners,” vary in how and in what amount they are used to substitute sugar in recipes, but directions are typically included on product packaging for ease of use.
There are plenty of resources available to help to manage diabetes through diet. CCC offers tools such as the Food Calorie Calculator which allows users to choose from thousands of foods and brands and see nutritional content, including calories and carbohydrates. Substituting LNCS for caloric options can make a blood glucose management plan more enjoyable.
About the Calorie Control Council:
The Calorie Control Council, established in 1966, is an international association representing the low- and reduced-calorie food and beverage industry. Today it represents manufacturers and suppliers of low- and reduced-calorie foods and beverages, including manufacturers and suppliers of more than two dozen different alternative sweeteners, fibers and other low-calorie, dietary ingredients. More at caloriecontrol.org