Aspartame

What is Aspartame?

Aspartame is a kilojoule-free (non-nutritive) sweetener that is made up of components found naturally in common foods such as meat, milk and vegetables. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar and intensifies flavours. It has a negligible effect on blood sugar levels.

What are the benefits of Aspartame?
  • Aspartame is a non-nutritive (kJ-free) sweetener that tastes like sugar and has no bitter aftertaste.
  • Aspartame cannot be utilised by oral bacteria, so it does not contribute towards tooth decay.
  • Aspartame has a negligible effect on carbohydrate metabolism and is safe for diabetics and slimmers.
  • Aspartame powder is freely soluble in water, even at low temperatures, which means it is easy to use in most food products.
Guidelines for using Aspartame

When aspartame is heated for long periods, loss of sweetness may occur. Rather add the sweetener at the end of the cooking process when the food is removed from the heat.

People diagnosed with the very rare metabolic disorder called phenylketonuria, must restrict their intake of phenylalanine from all dietary sources, including Aspartame, as their treatment requires them to do so.

Notes on safety

Extensive research has been done and controlling bodies all over the world, including the FDA, have approved Aspartame for use in a wide variety of products and as a sweetener. Upon digestion, it is completely metabolised to two amino acids (building blocks of protein). The body handles these amino acids in exactly the same way as the foods we eat every day.

Unsubstantiated negative reports on Aspartame, based on no evidence or anecdotal evidence, have been published in the media and created fear and confusion among consumers. Nancy Markle sent out an email in December 1998 and claimed that she had lectured on Aspartame toxicity at the World Environmental Conference. Interestingly enough, Nancy Markle has never been found or identified, but the email scared the whole world!

There is a total lack of credible scientific evidence that proves that Aspartame is not safe for human consumption and, until there is evidence of health risks associated with Aspartame, it can be considered safe.

Diabetes

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects the body’s ability to produce insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot get the energy it needs from food. Normally, a gland called the pancreas makes insulin – a hormone that carries the sugar in the blood into the cells. In a diabetic’s case, the pancreas fails to supply enough insulin, or the insulin doesn’t work properly.

What is the difference between Type I and Type II diabetes?

There are two major types of diabetes: Type I, commonly called juvenile onset diabetes, and Type II, commonly called adult onset diabetes. Both have similar symptoms, but very different causes.

Type I Diabetes

Type I Diabetes results from the body’s failure to produce insulin – the hormone that “unlocks” the cells of the body and allows glucose to enter and fuel them. It is estimated that 5-10% of people who are diagnosed with diabetes have Type I Diabetes. Type I Diabetes has no cure, but the outlook for people who have the disease is far better today than it was just 20 years ago.

Living with Type I Diabetes can still be a challenge, but improvements in patient education, blood sugar monitoring and insulin delivery have simplified the daily routine of managing the disease. Thanks to these and other advances, people with Type I Diabetes may now have life expectancies comparable to those of people without diabetes. The risk of disabling complications from Type I Diabetes has also been reduced.

Type II Diabetes

Type II Diabetes is a chronic medical condition that affects the way your body metabolises blood glucose. Glucose is vital to your health because it’s your body’s main source of fuel.

Type II Diabetes develops when your body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or when your pancreas produces some, but not enough, insulin to maintain a normal glucose level. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates the absorption of sugar into your cells.

For more information on diabetes

Contact Diabetes South Africa
tel: 011 886 3721/3765 or 086 1113 913, fax: 011 886 2735, email: info@diabetessa.org.za . Diabetes South Africa is able to give you the contact details of your regional office as well as info on a diabetes support group in your area.

Or visit these websites:
www.diabetes.co.za
www.diabetes.org
www.kznhealth.gov.za/diabetes1.htm

Sucralose

What is Sucralose?

Sucralose is a kilojoule-free (non-nutritive) sugar substitute that is made from sugar and tastes like sugar. Although it is derived from sugar, it is not recognised by the body as a sugar and is not broken down by the body to provide energy (kJ). It is 600 times sweeter than sugar and has no effect on blood glucose levels.

What are the benefits of Sucralose?
  • Sucralose is a non-nutritive (kJ-free) sweetener that is made from sugar, tastes like sugar and has no bitter aftertaste.
  • Sucralose maintains its sweetness under high temperatures (i.e. during cooking and baking), as well as during long-term storage.
  • Sucralose cannot be utilised by oral bacteria, so it does not contribute towards tooth decay.
  • Sucralose has no known side effects and does not require any warning on the label.
  • Sucralose has no effect on carbohydrate metabolism and is safe for diabetics and slimmers.
  • The excellent stability and quality taste means it can be used in a wide range of foods and beverages.
  • Sucralose powder is freely soluble in water, even at low temperatures, which means it is easy to use in most food products.
Notes on safety

The safety of Sucralose is supported by more than 110 studies in human beings and animals. It did not pose any health risks. Its safety has been confirmed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as by authorities in more than 80 other countries, including South Africa. Sucralose is poorly absorbed and is excreted unchanged in the faeces. Any absorbed Sucralose is excreted unchanged in the urine.

Amidst increasing rates of diabetes and obesity, we know how important your health, and your family’s health are to you. That’s why we’ve done our research and provided you with relevant information on health and nutrition. Our caring nutritionist will be happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

What is sugar?

Sugar is a sweet, soluble, nutritional dietary carbohydrate obtained from sugar cane, which acts as a primary source of energy.

What is raw sugar?

Raw sugar is a tan to brown crystal obtained from clarified sugar cane juice, which is processed to make white or brown sugar.

What is Huletts SunSweet Sugar?

Huletts SunSweet Sugar is raw sugar. We have named it “SunSweet” because its colour and sweetness is determined by the sun.

What is Huletts White Sugar?

White Sugar is produced by dissolving raw sugar crystals and crystallising the purified syrup, thus making white sugar 99.9% pure – the purest food known to man.

Why is sugar used as an ingredient in so many processed foods?

Sugar not only acts as a sweetening and energy agent, but it is also fundamental as a preservative. It contributes to the bulking and flavour of food and it holds moisture, which enables food to have a longer shelf life.

What is Golden Syrup?

Golden Syrup is a concentrated liquid mixture of sucrose, which is made by redissolving raw sugar in water and converting the sucrose to glucose and fructose.

What is treacle?

Treacle is a composition of final molasses and syrup, which makes the product more palatable.

Does sugar make you fat?

For most people, the body prefers to store fats and burn carbohydrates, which invariably means that weight reduction is the result of eating a wide variety of foods including sugar, which forms part of a balanced diet.

Do we need sugar in our diets?

Nutritionists consider carbohydrates to be the primary source of energy. Sugar is an excellent source of carbohydrates and provides many of the nutrients needed by the body to supply energy. As with any food, moderation is the key to a healthy diet.

What are non-nutritive sweeteners?

Non-nutritive sweeteners are sugar substitutes. They have no calories and provide no energy to the body. Most do not break down in the body as sugar does.

What is the Glycaemic Index?

The Glycaemic Index (GI) is simply a ranking of foods on a scale from 1 to 100 according to their immediate effect on blood glucose levels. It is a physiological measure of how fast, and to what extent, a carbohydrate food affects blood glucose levels.

What do Low GI foods do?

The Glycaemic Index (GI) is simply a ranking of foods on a scale from 1 to 100 according to their immediate effect on blood glucose levels. It is a physiological measure of how fast, and to what extent, a carbohydrate food affects blood glucose levels.

What are the benefits of a Low GI diet?
  • A Low GI diet reduces one’s appetite for quick sugars and carbohydrates, thus avoiding a blood sugar spike
  • It can help to control established diabetes
  • It can help people lose weight
  • It can help lower blood lipids (reduce cholesterol easily)
  • It can help to reduce the risk of heart disease
  • It improves insulin sensitivity and efficiency
  • It can minimise the hypoglycaemic effect of sudden intense exercise
Is Sugar Suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans?

As sugar is derived from a plant, questions as to its suitability for vegetarians might at first sight seem a bit strange! However, questions have sometimes been asked as to whether any of the processes used in manufacturing sugar might compromise its vegetarian status in any way.

Please be assured that all Huletts sugars are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Many years ago, it was common practice to use animal bone char to remove impurities from sugar during processing due to its absorptive properties, but Huletts discontinued this practise more than 30 years ago, even though none of the bone char was ever carried over into the final product.

These days we use much more sophisticated methods to ensure that our sugar is free from impurities. These processes do not compromise the vegetarian/vegan status of our sugar in any way, so that everyone is able to enjoy making every day sweeter.

White & Brown Sugar

How much sugar concentration( Brix) is acceptable for diabetic people in beverages? Can I use normal table sugar in a diabetic friendly product? If yes, at what concentration (Brix)?

When a person with diabetes takes beverages away from meals, it is more advisable to sweeten it with a low kilojoule sweetener such as Huletts Equisweet Classic, Huletts Equisweet Sucralose or Huletts Equisweet Stevia. If the diabetes is well-controlled, a moderate amount of sucrose can be substituted for other carbohydrate sources as part of a mixed balanced meal. The latest guidelines from the American Heart Association for added sugar is 6 teaspoons/day for women and 9 teaspoons/day for men.

Compare Huletts Products

Dear Dietician, I have Type 2 Diabetes. 1) Which product is better, Sucralose or Stevia? 2) Which product is more natural? 3) Which product is suitable for vegetarians and free from alcohol?
  1. Both products are highly regulated and extensive safety evaluations were done by international scientific regulatory bodies prior to approval and at regular intervals thereafter. Both are very low kilojoule sweeteners and have no effect on blood sugar levels. Your choice will depend on your personal taste.
  2. Sucralose is derived from cane sugar and stevia is derived from the stevia plant but all non-nutritive sweeteners have to undergo chemical processes to be made available in powder or tablet form. They are safe but it cannot be claimed that one is more natural than the other.
  3. Both products are suitable for vegetarians and both are free from alcohol.
Is Huletts sugar unrefined?

Sugar is part of the carbohydrates in the diet. All varieties of granulated cane sugar can be classified as ‘refined’ because they are extracted from sugar cane. Numerous studies have tried to clarify the possible link between sugar and some Western diseases, but with varying results. A balanced diet consists of a variety of foods and most of the carbohydrates should come from whole grain foods, fruit and starchy vegetables, but in line with the SA Food Based Dietary Guidelines, we recommend that food and drink containing sugar be used sparingly.

Which of your products can be used as molasses, I am having some recipes which have molasses as an ingredient.

Huletts Molasses comes in a 500ml bottle with a green cap. It is a dark sweet syrup which can be used in cooking and baking.

What are the symtons of diabetes?

Many signs and symptoms of diabetes type 1 and 2 are the same: Excessive thirst, frequent urination, excessive appetite, often with weight loss, tingling or numbness in hands, feet or legs, frequent infections and bruises and cuts that take a long time to heal are all possible signs. If you notice any of the above, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Have cancer so have been told not to use too many sugars, so want to know if I can use EquiSweet but the green one (Sucralose)

Yes, according to scientific research results you can use Sucralose. The safety of Sucralose has been tested and is supported by more than 100 studies in human beings and animals. It did not pose any health risks. The safety of Sucralose has been confirmed by the US Food and Drug Administration(FDA) as well as health authorities in more than 80 countries, including South Africa. Sucralose is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and is excreted unchanged in the stools. Any absorbed Sucralose is excreted unchanged in the urine.

Your website states that aspartame is safe, but the sachets I have just bought says aspartame free. Does this mean you have found out that aspartame is not safe. George

Extensive research has been done and controlling bodies all over the world, including the American FDA, have approved aspartame as a safe sweetener. Unsubstantiated negative reports have been published in the media and created fear, but there is a total lack of credible scientific evidence to support these rumours. Huletts has added sucralose as an alternative sweetener to give customers a choice. An advantage of sucralose is that it maintains its sweetness under high heat of cooking while a loss of sweetness occur when aspartame is heated for long periods. Both of these products have no effect on blood sugar levels and are safe for diabetics and slimmers.

What is the difference between sucrose (table sugar) and fructose?

Sucrose (table sugar) is a disaccharide (di = 2) containing equal parts of glucose and fructose. Granulated fructose is derived from cane sugar (table sugar) and is 100% pure fructose (Huletts Fructose).

How do sugar and fructose compare in sweetness?

Granulated fructose (Huletts Fructose) is 1,5 to 1,7 times sweeter than table sugar. This means that Huletts Fructose offers a means of cutting kilojoules because you use less fructose for the same sweetness (one cup/250ml sugar is substituted for ⅔ cup/166ml fructose).

Other Huletts Products

Stevia

What is Erythritol?

Erythritol is a naturally- derived sugar substitute that looks and tastes very much like sugar, yet it has almost no calories. It is approximately 70% as sweet as sugar. It is classified as a sugar-alcohol. Sugar-alcohols are also called polyols. Erythritol is made from plant sugars, fermented with a natural culture into erythritol, allowed to crystallize and then dried into granulated form.

EquiSweet blue (Aspartame)

Please could you tell me if equisweet is gluten free? I am worried about the anti-caking agents.

Yes, Equisweet (blue, green and orange) is gluten free. The specific anti-caking agent used by Huletts is listed as a safe ingredient for consumers on a gluten free diet.

What effect does Equisweet have on insulin?

Equisweet is a very low kJ sweetener and has no effect on insulin secretion or the need to inject insulin because it has a negligible effect on blood glucose levels.

I have read and heard that aspartame is toxic and is the cause of many diseases. Is this true?

Extensive scientific research all over the world could prove no negative effect of aspartame on human health. Speculations of aspartame being related to diseases are based on rumours spread via the internet by a person who called herself Nancy Markle and claimed that she has lectured on aspartame toxicity at the World Environmental Conference. This “person” has never been found or identified. The negative reports (like the rumours spread by Markle) are unsubstantiated and not based on scientific evidence. Controlling bodies all over the world, including the FDA (American Food and Drug Administration) have approved aspartame as a safe sweetener when used in moderation as part of a healthy balanced diet.

Fructose

What is fructose?

Fructose is a simple sugar (a so-called monosaccharide) which occurs naturally in honey, fruits (tree fruits, berries etc), root vegetables (beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips etc) and many other plants including sugar cane. When found naturally, fructose is always found in combination with other sugars such as glucose. Commercial fructose is commonly used as a sweetener in a wide range of foods and beverages.

Does fructose provide energy (kilojoules)?

Yes, like table sugar, fructose is a source of energy for the body and provides the same amount of energy as sugar (17kJ per g of fructose or sugar).

How are these sugars metabolized in the body?

When sucrose is digested, both fructose and glucose are released into the bloodstream. Glucose is the only fuel utilized by the brain and the primary fuel used by the working muscles. When glucose enters the bloodstream, the body releases the hormone insulin, to help regulate the blood sugar level. Fructose, on the other hand, is released at a slower rate into the bloodstream than glucose and is predominantly metabolized in the liver. To simplify the situation: When too much fructose enters the liver, the liver can’t process it fast enough for the body to use it as sugar (energy). Instead, it starts making fats from the fructose and releasing them into the bloodstream as triglycerides. Intake of too much fructose is potentially bad, because: High triglycerides are a risk factor for coronary heart disease Excess fructose consumption over time may facilitate insulin resistance which may eventually contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

Is there a difference in GI between these sugars?

The GI is a measure of the rise in blood glucose induced by the intake of a carbohydrate containing food/drink/meal. The GI of sugar (white and brown) is 65 and that of fructose is 23. Low GI or slow release sugars would be the better choice for diabetics and slimmers but it has to be kept in mind that the body does not respond to the GI of individual ingredients such as sugar or fructose, but rather to the GI of the entire meal.

Is fructose a safe sweetener for diabetics?

In 2002 the American Diabetic Association issued a warning to diabetics to avoid fructose that does not occur naturally in food. The warning was based on the finding that fructose increase blood triglyceride (fat) levels. Fructose is metabolized in the liver to provide one of the building blocks of triglycerides. (See “How are these sugars metabolized in the body?”). However, no scientific evidence has proved that using small quantities of sugar or fructose to make low fat diets more palatable will have a harmful effect. Moderation is the key.

Is fructose a good source of energy for athletes?

Fructose has a low GI. Small quantities of fructose before a sports event can promote storage of glycogen for use as an energy source during physical activity. During a sports event fructose is not a good source of energy, because it delays gastric emptying and so decreases the rate of fluid absorption. Furthermore, excessive fructose intake (eg in drinks) may increase the risk of diarrhea, cramps and gastric upset.

Is there a link between fructose and obesity?

At the moment a lot of research is being done on the possible role that fructose may play in exacerbating obesity. In the USA cold drinks make a staggering energy contribution to the diets of children and drinking 400ml cold drink can provide up to 50g fructose to the US diet. Some research also indicates that the intake of liquid energy in the form of sugars may contribute more to obesity than the intake of solid sugary foods. The current research results are inconclusive and additional research will hopefully clarify the matter.

Is fructose a safe sweetener for children?

The possible role of a high fructose intake as a contributing factor to childhood obesity is being researched at the moment.

Babies and young children (6 – 18 months) can exhibit malabsorption because of incomplete digestion of fructose found naturally in fruit juice or fructose added to drinks/food. Therefore babies and young children presenting with diarrhea may benefit from a reduction in fructose intake from all sources.

EquiSweet green (Sucralose)

May I use Sucralose sweetener although I am on a strict eating plan where I may not use sweeteners containing sugar?

Yes you may use Sucralose. Sucralose is a very low kilojoule sweetener which is derived from sugar and changed in such a way that it cannot be absorbed by the body. It is suitable for slimmers and diabetics.

My husband has allergy reaction with heart palpitations from aspartame products, so is sucralose a danger for him to take ?

There should not be problems with the use of Sucralose because Sucralose is different from aspartame: Aspartame is made up of components also found in protein foods such as milk and meat. Sucralose is derived from natural sugar that is changed in such a way that it cannot be absorbed by the body. It should be borne in mind that individuals who have a tendency to allergies should be particularly careful AT ALL TIMES, when they introduce any new foods or substances in their diet.

I am concerned about the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for sucralose at 5mg/kg/day. How much sucralose is in each sachet or how many sachets can I safely consume if I weigh 60kg? I am currently limiting myself to 3 sachets.

Tha ADI is the estimated amount of food additives per kg of body weight a person can safely consume daily over a lifetime without risk. The sachet consists mainly of a bulking agent, dextrose, a minute quantity of sucralose and an anti-caking agent. Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar and taking the actual amount of sucralose per sachet into account, a safe intake for a person weighing 60kg will be more or less 200 sucralose sachets per day.

What is sucralose in Equisweet Green?

Sucralose is a no-kilojoule (non-nutritive) sweetener that is made from sugar and tastes like sugar. Although it is derived from sugar, it is modified in such a way that it is not recognised by the body as a sugar and is not broken down by the body to provide energy(kJ). It is 600 times sweeter than sugar and has no effect on blood glucose levels.