FDA Strives to Check Sweet Tooth

Iranians have developed a taste for sweet products and the FDA’s intention is to change that.Iranians have developed a taste for sweet products and the FDA’s intention is to change that.

It is no secret that Iranians have a sweet tooth but food authorities are taking measures to gradually change that by reducing sugar content of foods and drinks.

According to Behrouz Jannat, director general of the Food and Drugs Research Laboratory at the Food and Drug Administration, the first target drink is the sparkling cola.

“Previously, each 100 cc of cola contained 14 grams of sugar, which has now decreased to nine grams,” he told IRNA. Further reductions are expected.     

“In cooperation with industries, we must try to decrease the amount of sugar in our food products gradually,” he said.

An abrupt sugar reduction in the foods will be easily detected by the consumers and they will immediately find a substitute, which obviously defeats the purpose of the scheme, the official told the news agency

“People once relished salty crackers…but today products in the market contain much less salt and people do not feel the need for more, because it (cutting salt content) happened over an extended period,” Jannat said.

Sugar exists naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy. Consuming whole foods that contain natural sugar is not considered unhealthy.

However, problems occur when people consume too much added sugar; that is, sugar that food manufacturers usually add to their products to increase flavor and/or extend shelf life.

Excessive sugar can be one of the major contributors to cardiovascular disease because it increases blood sugar and triglyceride, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood.

It also causes metabolic dysfunction and a barrage of symptoms known as classic metabolic syndrome. These include weight gain, abdominal obesity, decreased HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and increased LDL (low-density lipoprotein), elevated blood sugar, elevated triglycerides, and high blood pressure. It also increases  uric acid levels.

“People have developed a taste for sweet products and our intention  is to change that,” said Jannat.

Standard intake of free sugars varies by age, setting and country. A World Health Organiztion guideline recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars to no more than half of the daily discretionary calories allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons.

However, Iran’s FDA has not determined a standard figure and is focusing on reducing the public’s high sugar consumption.

“The FDA is not seeking to come up with a definite figure and is trying to focus on sugar levels in certain products in which sugar can be reduced at a faster speed,” he said.


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