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Sugar Association Calls Recent Study Misleading

Thu, 08/15/2013 - 2:02pm

WASHINGTON (PRNewswire-USNewswire) — The Sugar Association is taking issue with the recent coverage of a study examining the impact of "added sugars" on mice.   An important fact involving the study is that the mice were not fed sugar (sucrose).  Therefore, characterizing this research as a "sugar study" is inaccurate and misleading.

According to the study's authors, "to mimic existing sources of added sugar, we selected a diet containing fructose and glucose monosaccharides in a one to one ratio, approximating the 55:42 and 42:53 ratios found in the two common forms of HFCS."

"The significance of this detail is that the glucose and fructose in sucrose are naturally bonded together," said Sugar Association President and CEO Andrew Briscoe in a statement. "HFCS lacks this bond and consequently contains free fructose. Sugar and the various formulations of HFCS are molecularly different—they are not the same product yet too often, and erroneously, HFCS is referred to as an 'added sugar.'  Only sugar is sugar."

Contrary to popular misconception, per capita consumption of sugar (sucrose) has decreased by 35 percent in the past 42 years, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics.  As noted by the study researchers, the American diet has increased significantly with higher consumption of HFCS. This difference is all the more important given that more than 90 percent of beverages in the United States, according to USDA statistics, are sweetened with HFCS, not sugar. 

In recent years, there has been a rash of inaccurate media reports about all-natural sugar. These reports have continually misrepresented the facts surrounding several scientific studies, overlooked differences between all-natural sugar and man-made sweeteners, and ignored government data on sugar consumption.

Americans know sugar has been safely consumed for decades.  That said, rather than educating consumers with accurate information, the media have only contributed to greater confusion about natural sugar and its role as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

"The confusion about food," said Briscoe, "is constantly fueled by extremists who sensationalize each and every new piece of research and distort the facts about sugar for the sake of a catchy headline or controversial story."

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