Friday, June 3, 2011

Finding out the truth about the 13 teaspoons of sugar


If your children are drinking milk powder every day, I believe you will be aware with the recent news / TV commercials / research / websites about how many teaspoons of sugar you have been feeding your children daily.

 Leading authorities around the world including United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand clearly identify sucrose, corn syrup solids, glucose syrup solids and similar ingredients as added sugars. Whereas our Ministry of Health has declared that SUGAR includes sucrose, fructose, sorbitol, mannitol, corn syrup, honey, malt, malt extract, maltose, rice extract, molasses, golden syrup and invert sugar.

Foods which contain natural sugars like fruits, vegetables and milk are considered healthy in our diet. However, excessively added sugars in some foods especially in growing-up milk powders are considered unhealthy, as it can cause obesity, diabetes and bad teeth. It can also worsen the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

The milk company which published their research informed us how to find out the 'truth' behind all the ingredients written on the food label if we want to avoid feeding added sugars up to an extra 13 teaspoons to our children. Well, before we feel relieved that this company has brought up such an important issue, we have to be aware that NOT ALL growing up milk powder in Malaysia have 13 teaspoons of excessive added sugar. And the most important thing is, NOT ALL carbohydrates are sugar!

I have done some research and discussed with some dietitians and doctors about this issue. All of them have a similar conclusion, that is, not all carbohydrates are sugar! Exactly! But look at how the online calculator at measure the number of teaspoons of sugar in milk powder?

If you read the newspaper advertisement carefully, it is noted that only sucrose, corn syrup solid and glucose syrup solid are the added sugars that we should be aware of. However, they have added in this misleading chart and confused most of us. It is similar to the sugar calculator mentioned above; the amount of sugar is calculated based on carbohydrates, which is not totally true.

I believe many parents must have been shocked when they first read about the so-called extra sugar intake that they have been giving to their children. Before you get a second heart-attack, let me tell you the REAL TRUTH about this entire sugar thing!

The information below is from the Dumex official website. I found that it is a very good example, showing us the correct way in differentiating the different types of sugar in the milk powder.

The carbohydrates in Dugro and Mamil Gold are NOT just sugars. The carbohydrates in Dugro and Mamil Gold also include non-sugars such as:

•  Oligosaccharides e.g. lcFOS
•  Polysaccharides

Only 1-2 teaspoons of added sugars are found in 1 serving of Dugro or Mamil Gold. This level of added sugars is within World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations. We add a minimal amount of sugar to suit the taste buds of young children and to encourage the optimal consumption of milk during their years of rapid growth.

Moreover, the advertisement from the milk company who claimed about the added sugar thing has been pulled down by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on the 23rd of May 2011 due to misleading information. For more information about the news, you can read it by clicking on this link[timestamp] 

After reading this article, do you feel more relieved now? I do. ^^

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