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Covid and comorbidities: a very common additive in food that enhances the disease

2021-05-15T03:36:58.042Z

A nutrition expert explains what the effects of high fructose corn syrup are. It is used to sweeten some products in excess. It is not regulated and can have harmful effects.



Pablo Sigal

05/14/2021 5:48 PM

  • Clarín.com

  • Society

Updated 05/14/2021 5:48 PM

Many of the diseases considered as comorbidities of

Covid

may have a

link with diet

: diabetes, hypertension and obesity. The group between 18 and 59 years old that suffers from these non-communicable diseases will now be the target population to be vaccinated in the City.

Clarín

interviewed the nutritionist Jacqueline Schuldberg, member of the Argentine Association of Nutritionists and the Argentine Society of Pediatrics, to understand the link between high fructose corn syrup and these chronic diseases.

"High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is an industrial product. The mother substrate is corn starch, the industry through chemical methods makes this molecule smaller until the syrup is produced. This syrup has a

sweetening power much higher

than sugar, and much cheaper. So, the industry can put sucrose or sugar or this syrup in their product. The point is that they are going to use it in less quantity, with greater sweetening power. The industry uses HFCS instead of sugar with the consequences it has been having, "says Schuldberg.

- What are these consequences?

- Everything that makes the palate want you to keep sweetening it raises your flavor threshold. That is one of the key points to be able to do food re-education. When you get out of sugar and start using a sweetener that has 600 times more power than sugar itself, you need more and more sweetener. That's because the palate gets used to a much higher threshold. So it is like a chain where it is permanently exacerbated and that has complications from the metabolic point of view. In fact, the increase in these types of sugars, such as HFCS, is related to chronic non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia. Everything that is metabolic in nature, we know from daily consultation and risk factor surveys.The last we had in 2018 showed that six adults out of ten are overweight and obese. And the boys are in similar rank. So this obesity brings the development of these other diseases. It is like a domino effect that of course is generated in a negative way.

- Since when was HFCS started to be used?

- Corn syrup started in the United States in the '70, many years ago.

There are different types of HFCS.

Originally there was one that was only for drinks, and others for bakery products.

Later it was optimized from the industrial point of view and today it is in most of the products that we are consuming.

So this began to be incorporated in the '70s in the US and today it is practically a common use and is not regulated.

- Is it not on the product label?

- The issue of the nutritional label that we see in the ingredients, or the nutritional composition in the containers, legally the industry does not have the obligation to declare what types of carbohydrates that product has. So it might have sucrose, it might have HFCS or other sugars. This ends up being a complication because the food can have the food's own sugar, for example a fruit that has fructose: the orange juice or fruit juice that is sold packaged has the food's own sugar. And on the other hand, it may be confused if it has added sugar. The label says the total composition of intrinsic and extrinsic sugars. In this way, it is very difficult for the consumer to identify whether or not they are exceeding that consumption of HFCS.

- Does it have to do with the price?

If it's really cheap, does it possibly have HFCS?

- No, it does not have much to do with the cost of the products or the cost of the food itself.

One because he is used to reading the ingredients, but likewise I sometimes when I spend reading it I see that they do not tell you if it has HFCS or the amount of HFCS.

When we make a calculation of how much free sugars a person has to consume, there is a maximum percentage.

By consuming a lot of this HFCS, that amount of sugars is exceeded.

There are many studies where the consumption of added sugar is evaluated in Argentina and in Latin America and the reality is that we are above the 50% that we should consume.

- What foods contain corn syrup?

- There are two very serious studies that were carried out, one in Argentina and the other in Latin America.

They say that 70 to 77% of sugar consumption is in added sugar.

Sugary drinks have the first place.

It is where the highest consumption is and the population that consumes it the most is schoolchildren and adolescents.

After the addition of sugar to the infusions.

We here in Argentina is the second place for mate, and then baked goods, sweet cookies, ready-to-use juices and more.

Those are the foods with the most HFCS added in the industry.

- Has Argentina made no attempt to regulate this industrial use?

- The development of front food labeling is in the pipeline where it has already been decided that the black warning stamp will go.

One of the warnings is the high sugar content and with that seal perhaps it would help a little so that the consumer has a warning level: I buy it but I know that it has a lot of added or intrinsic sugar depending on the product.

- In developed countries, where was the industry going with regard to the use of these products?

- They are more or less the same. There are many front or warning labeling systems and more around the world. It is quite new, it will be five or six years old, ten years at the most, but there are still no long-term studies where one can see the impact that this type of labeling has had on the prevalence of diseases like the ones we talked about before. The industry is changing the rules, this will make the industry look for other paths but it is a whole process. It is not done overnight. Because the industry also needs its time, that is understandable and I believe that any health community, medical team, nutritionist and other institutions know that it is necessary to try to join forces from the industry and from the thresholds that one wants to reach for the consumer can consume as healthy as possible.Beyond the labeling and the warning that the consumer may receive on the shelf.

- To what extent can the State regulate?

When the labeling of the high sugar content comes out, they are part of the things of the law that has half sanction.

They are part of the points where we are working to identify if this product has HFCS or not.

See if it is clarified with the legend, without they are high in sugars but they are intrinsic and non-added sugars are the critical points that are still being developed.

Obviously, the state can guide the industry to optimize its manufacture, and on the other hand, the missing leg that has great weight is nutritional food education because if one does not educate the person who is going to consume or does not know how to read that seal little will be able to do.

Reading a stamp that says high sugar content and not knowing what the consequences are of consuming that high-sugar food does not serve as a warning either.

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Look also

Coronavirus: what are the risk factors for which those under 60 may be vaccinated in the City

The Indian variant of the coronavirus is already raging in Britain: reopening delayed?

Source: clarin

All life articles on 2021-05-15

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