Public Health Ontario (PHO) and the University of Waterloo collectively conducted a study recently, which analyzed around 40,000 common packaged food and beverage products in the Canadian market. The products list involved several supposedly healthier foods, such as juices, yogurts, snack bars, and breakfast cereals. It also included some baby food products and infant formulas.
What Does the Study Reveal?
The research has revealed that almost two- thirds of the commonly available packaged foods and drinks (over 65% of the products considered for the study) in Canada’s market have at least one added sugar in the featured ingredient list.
- Among sweets and snacks, over 12,500 products were analyzed and more than 85% of them have been found to contain minimum one added sugar.
- Out of over 1,000 yogurt products, nearly 74% have been identified to have added sugars.
- Among over 3,100 beverages on the market, more than 78% juices, sports drinks, pops, and other drinks are found enlisting added sugars in them.
- From around 530 baby food and infant formula products, roughly 48% have been recognized with added sugars.
David Hammond, Professor, Waterloo University, states, “It wasn’t a case of were the levels high and low in some other categories; it was a case of high and higher,” which is more concerning.
According to the US, Canadian, and other international groups, the intake of added sugars should be limited to the maximum 5-10% of the total calories consumed. PHO’s recent studies prompts at the Canada’s market for packaged food and beverages, signaling an alert on the added sugar that was observed to be of a major concern in around 40,000 products currently available on the market.
While Health Canada and dieticians across Canada are all disappointed to see such results, Health Canada has already announced some amendments to the exiting packaging rules. One of the spokespersons, Kate Comeau, says that grouping of added sugars in the ingredients list on packaging could be a positive change and the results concluded from this study could be immensely helpful to create a baseline before the new set of regulations steps in.
The Recent Coca-Cola Case with Added Sugars
A public health advocacy group, Plaintiff – the Praxis Project, filed a legal complaint against the Coca-Cola Company and ABA (the American Beverage Association) on January 4, 2017. The complaint targets the Coca-Cola Company for its consistently misleading and false advertising campaigns practiced for SSBs (sugar-sweetened beverages).
The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California and highlights the connection of consuming of SSBs to getting prone to CVDs, obesity, and type II diabetes. However, the complaint by Plaintiff does not convincingly address any alternate causes of the mentioned diseases. Moreover, Plaintiff, in its complaint, has cited a number of scientific research and public health entities to support the direct linkage of SSBs with any chronic diseases.