Sugar is sugar - stick to the scientific facts

Angie Jefferson Registered dietitian Sir; Adam Leyland states, "I don't agree that 'sugar is sugar' as 'slow releasing' sugars do not bring about the problematic blood sugar rush and dried fruit also contains positive nutrients", implying that dried fruit contains sugars that are somehow different from those added to breakfast cereals and other foods during manufacture (Opinion, The Grocer, 24 November, p3). Plants contain glucose, sucrose and fructose in varying amounts, but the main sugar found is sucrose, exactly the same as that commonly added to food products such as breakfast cereals. The body does not recognise whether sucrose, glucose or any other sugars have occurred naturally in a food or have been added during manufacture. To differentiate in terms of added or natural sugars in a product, as now required by the FSA, makes little sense nutritionally. Sugars, whether natural or added, have equal capacity to contribute to an excess energy intake. And, whether from dried fruit or added, sugars have an impact on the rapidity of changes in blood sugar levels. It cannot be assumed that natural sugars in dried fruit are slow-releasing, as this simply is not true. A further concern is the lack of ability to monitor foods for natural versus added sugars, because current testing methods simply measure total or different sugar types and, similar to the human body, do not distinguish between natural and added sugars. This means the FSA will not be able to monitor and check this part of the signposting system. As a dietitian, I am constantly frustrated by the simple portrayal of foods and ingredients as 'good' or 'bad' and the lack of education on how to fit all foods into a healthy, balanced diet. I urge you to consider scientific-based fact rather than old wives' tales in future issues.