Consumption. Sugar, still very present in processed foods

Consumption.  Sugar, still very present in processed foods

The share of sweetening ingredients – classic sugar, sweeteners, etc. – fell during the 2010s in products sold in France, health authorities indicated on Tuesday, warning however that this did not necessarily equate to generally less sweet foods. .

There has been “a decline in the use of sweetening ingredients over the last 10 years, particularly sugar syrups and sweeteners”, underlines the National Food Safety Agency (Handles).

More precisely, the agency studied from 2008 to 2020 the composition of more than 54,000 processed foods, both sweet and savory, to assess the frequency with which they contain sweetening ingredients. These include not only the classic white sugar (sucrose), but also sweeteners such as aspartame, as well as syrups and fruit juices.

At least one sweetening ingredient

The agency concluded that in 2020, the majority of foods (77%) still contained at least one sweetening ingredient, but that there had been a decline in their use in previous years.

This is due to the fact that manufacturers are less inclined to use a large number of sweetening ingredients. But the agency warns that this should not be concluded as a general decline in the sugar content of foods.

“This trend is partly linked to product reformulations by manufacturers,” explains ANSES. “Compositions have been revised to favor very common ingredients, such as white sugar (…) or which are perceived as more natural, such as fruit juices. » In contrast, “sugar syrups or synthetic sweeteners are much less used,” adds ANSES.

Less sugar in drinks

The study only examines the nature and frequency of the ingredients included but not the quantities used, “rarely indicated on the packaging”, so it is not possible to draw conclusions in terms of public health.

On the other hand, ANSES simultaneously published another study which focuses on (non-alcoholic) drinks. This time, she concludes that there was a real decline in their sugar content in the 2010s.

“This trend initiated between 2010 and 2013 increases significantly from 2013,” notes the agency.

“This result can be explained by the implementation of measures aimed at reducing sugar levels in drinks”, including the establishment in 2012 of a tax on drinks containing added sugars or sweeteners.



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