Are “sugar-free beverages” really more harmful than “sugar-sweetened beverages”? |Reporter interview draft

As readers and friends who are familiar with me know that I have been actively involved in various charitable activities for the past ten years.

The Tencent 99 Charity Festival happened recently, and I was also supporting protecting the mental health of 10,000 rural children, and I made a small video:

Do good deeds with a little red flower

The topic #Why sugar-free drinks are more harmful than sugar-sweetened drinks was on the hot search list two days ago.

It is estimated that when many friends see this hot search, the expressions on their faces are black question marks. The first reaction is: Don’t you always say that sugar-free drinks are healthier than sugar-sweetened drinks? How has it changed again!

A reporter from The Paper interviewed me on this topic, and I organized the interview and shared it with you~

4 questions to talk about the health hazards of sugar-free drinks and common misconceptions about sugar-free drinks~

This article is about 2,500 words and takes about 4 minutes to read

This article is a draft of the interview content. The structure and content are different from those of popular science articles published on a daily basis, and the reading experience may also be different.


Are there any health risks to diet drinks?


When it comes to diet drinks, everyone’s first reaction is to be healthier, but many popular sciences also explain the risks. What should we think about these beverages? Is it harmful to the body?

Whether diet drinks are healthier or less healthy is a controversial topic for further research, or that there is there Conclusive?

What do you think about diet drinks?

Overall, it’s safe and not as scary as many say.

To discuss whether it is harmful or not, the main thing is to look at some of the long-term effects, such as whether it will increase the risk of chronic diseases by 20%? It’s generally to the same extent.

From the perspective of overall human health interventionsdiet beverages may be only a minor aspect and not particularly large.


It’s up to you to say that diet drinks are healthier or less healthy.

But first of all, the perception that “sugar-free beverages are healthy and harmless” is a misunderstanding and does not prove that “sugar-free beverages are healthy and harmless.” It must be healthier to replace sugary drinks.”

As for the risk of sugar-free beverages, the comparison of specific risks will vary because of doses, different groups of people, and different aspects of concern.


What are some common misconceptions about diet drinks?


A diabetic patient tested a bottle of sugar-free drink, and compared the changes in blood sugar levels within a few hours before and after, and there was indeed no fluctuation. Does this mean that sugar-free drinks are indeed helpful for sugar control?

In solving the problem of cravings, is it a healthier behavior to occasionally replace ordinary drinks with sugar-free drinks and not drink them for a long time?

Is there really no effect on blood sugar?

First of all, sugar-free drinks are not as many people think, blood sugar will rise immediately after drinking, and it will not stimulate insulin immediately after drinking sugar-free drinks as many netizens have heard A large amount of secretion, I can’t wait for the blood sugar to drop suddenly.

But there is solid research evidence that for some people, drinking diet drinks does affect their ability to control blood sugar.

The dosagenot large of sweeteners that had an impact was comparable to every standard commonly used to describe the safety of sweeteners. Compared with the acceptable daily intake (ADI, acceptable daily intake), it can be said to be a relatively small dose, and it is relatively easy to achieve in daily life.

What about people with diabetes?

For diabetic patients, the use of ordinary added sugar will definitely cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, plus they are already in a disease state, and non-nutritive sweeteners have been considered safe in the past. Yes, it can be eaten by diabetics.

From a lesser of two evils perspective, diabetics can use sweeteners instead of added sugars, and other food calories Can play a role in controlling calories and reducing carbohydrate intake.

Is it healthier to drink a diet drink once in a while?

Qualitatively, can’t say this replacement is healthier.

Specifically, sugar-free beverages are better at controlling blood sugar response and reducing calorie intake, can be seen as a transition to A phased alternative in a healthier diet.

Whether or not to replace it depends on your demand and actual intake (that is, what is the concept of “occasional”?)

If your goal is to pursue health, reduce risk, and control your cravings for sweet beverages to 1-2 times a week or even a month, drink sugar-sweetened or sugar-free beverages It is all acceptable. You know, the daily intake of added sugar is less than 50 grams, and there is no serious health risk.

For me, drinking sugar-sweetened beverages has obvious blood sugar fluctuations and acne-prone, so I will definitely choose sugar-free beverages.

It all comes down to your perception of risk. For example, some studies have shown that drinking 2 sugar-sweetened beverages a month increases the risk of certain cancers. If you really care about these, it’s best to drink none of them, just water.


How did the transition from sugar to sugar-free happen?


From the perspective of nutrition guidelines, what is the process of the transition from sugar-sweetened beverages to sugar-free beverages in China?

Not considered a problem at first

When I was in college, the dietary guidelines were from 1997, and if I remember correctly, there was no mention of added sugars at all.

The old professor who taught public nutrition courses said at that time that we Chinese eat very little added sugar, so we don’t need to consider the problem of sugar intake.

I think obesity control is good

In the blink of an eye, in 2007, the issue of reasonable exercise to control obesity was mentioned in the new version of the dietary guidelines.

By 2010, the dietary guidelines in the United States basically emphasized only added sugars, saturated fats and sodium as dietary components to “abstain”, and nothing else.

That’s when people started paying special attention to added sugars.

Sugar control in the last decade

I am impressed that around 2011, the glycemic index only started to be known to the general public.

Fructose was once considered a healthier sugar because of its low glycemic index. At that time, people didn’t realize that added sugar would affect insulin and liver metabolism.

Further, as the entire nutrition community became more aware of added sugars and their toxicity, began to put more emphasis onthe health hazards of added sugars< /strong>. Guidelines like the World Health Organization on controlling free sugar intake have only been published less than a decade ago.

In short, people are starting to realize that sugar should be strictly controlled and less sugar should be used. So many people respect sugar-free drinks.

Suggestions for diet drinks

The research on sugar-free beverages or sugar substitutes is also being carried out gradually. The products are still being developed gradually, and there are also many voices questioning them. In fact, the related sweeteners cause cancer. There have always been doubts like this.

I think Ordinary people don’t need to be too nervous. There will be people in the scientific community to study these issues, and the guidelines will be updated. You follow the mainstream views and the latest guidelines. Just listen to the conclusion.


Can it be a little more standardized?


From a nutritionist’s point of view, in terms of packaging, promotion and supervision of related products, what do you think needs to be more standardized about “sugar-free”?

Already standardized

Strictly speaking, our country’s definition of the word sugar-free is very strict.

A dozen years ago, when the general rules of nutrition labeling were not promulgated, some people may be playing side balls, but now I think about sugar-free, low-sugar, lactose-free, low-lactose The specification is already more comprehensive.

The picture is taken from “GB 28050-2011 National Food Safety Standard – General Rules for Nutrition Labeling of Prepackaged Foods”

My Optimization Tips

If I want to say, there are only two levels that can be further promoted.

One ​​is mandatory labelling of sugar content. Because sugar is not mandatory on the nutrition list now, it will be better if it can be labeled in the future.

The second is be wary of discriminatory claims. Because some products do not actually have added sugar, but the raw materials and ingredients of the products contain a certain amount of sugar. For example, milk products naturally contain lactose, which may be disadvantageous because they cannot be labeled as sugar-free, but in fact the nutritional value is still very high.

So, I think from a purely regulatory point of view, it may not be necessary to make too many mandatory packaging labeling requirements on the information selected by individuals . Just make sure that the product is free from false advertising and misleading consumers. Overall, there is not much that needs to be further standardized.

Some problems can be solved by directing consumers to learn more about nutrition on their own.

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