The happiest thing in summer is to open a bottle of iced carbonated drink and take a gulp of it.
The only fly in the ointment is that if you drink too much, you will get fat. In recent years, the popular sugar free beverage seems to make up for this defect perfectly, so that people can drink happy water at ease.
Until Yuanqi forest issued a statement of apology on April 10, saying that the original propaganda of “0 sucrose low fat” of Yuanqi forest milk tea was wrong, in fact, it was “low sugar low fat”.
How many people suddenly find that sugar free drinks are healthier, which may be just an illusion.
The wealth of beverage dealers
Sugar free drinks are not the latest trend in China in recent years.
As early as 1997, Suntory sugar free oolong tea appeared in the Chinese market with the slogan of “a new generation of beverage beyond water” [ 1]； In 2004, United’s “king of tea” also landed in the mainland [ 2]； In 2008, Coca Cola launched the “original leaf tea”, known as 100% tea brewing [ 3]； In 2011, Nongfu spring also had “Oriental leaves” [ 4]。
Yes, these are all sugar free drinks, and they are all tea drinks. Some of them are not only not sweet, but also bitter.
But now you can see a variety of sugar free drinks in any supermarket or convenience store. What’s more, they are no longer just tea drinks.
Whether it’s classic carbonated drinks such as cola and Sprite, sports drinks such as pulse and scream, or even plant drinks such as Wang Laoji and coconut juice, sugar free versions can be found now.
Beverage companies have launched sugar free drinks, mainly because people pay more and more attention to healthy diet.
Unhealthy eating habits, especially high sugar, will aggravate your pox . In addition, too much sugar intake may lead you to dental caries, obesity and other problems, and obesity, diabetes and other diseases are also closely related [ 6]。
According to the World Health Organization’s guidelines for sugar intake, the total amount of sugar consumed by normal people from processed food should be controlled within 25 grams a day [ 7] And a 330 milliliter can of coke has 35 grams of sugar.
Even the young people who want to soak a few Lycium barbarum when drinking, naturally can not ignore the high sugar happy water. According to the research of China Business Industry Research Institute, under the trend of health, nearly 80% of Chinese consumers now pay attention to the composition of drinks, especially the proportion of sugar [ 8]。
But unfortunately, the love of sweet is engraved in human DNA [ 9]。 Even if we realize that we need to control our sugar intake and avoid drinking happy water for a lifetime, most people may not be able to do it.
Since light tea drinks are not popular with most people, sugar free drinks that claim to be good but not fat will naturally be favored by everyone.
Coca Cola and Pepsi are the beneficiaries of this move. Because of the change of people’s health concept, the sales of carbonated drinks in the United States began to decline year by year since 2005 [ 10]。 However, after the introduction of small packaging and better taste of sugar free cola, the performance of both companies showed a good rebound [ 11]。
Up to now, oolong tea like Suntory is no longer synonymous with sugar free drinks. Instead, it is a variety of colorful and fashionable carbonated drinks.
Sugar free drink
Drinks are good to drink, not sweet is not good.
In the survey of consumer satisfaction of tea beverage industry conducted by China Association for quality in 2013, Suntory ranked last and Dongfang leaf ranked second [ 12]。 Nongfu mountain spring’s sugar free drink was even on April 10, 2016 Japan, as one of the “top 5 most difficult drinks”, went on the microblog hot search [ 13]。
But if you want a drink to be sweet, you need sugar. According to China’s national food safety standard general principles for nutrition labeling of prepackaged food, sugar free beverage can only be called if the sugar content in 100ml beverage does not exceed 0.5g [ 14]。
So sugar substitutes come in handy. Sugar substitutes such as Acesulfame and aspartame are not only very low in calories, but also hundreds of times sweeter than sucrose. A little bit of it will make the drink sweet.
Many people don’t know that diet coke, which is the main selling point of sugar free, actually existed as early as 1982 [ 15]。 Coke zero, another sugar free drink of Coca Cola, has been launched for 16 years [ 16]。
So why didn’t the company’s sales of sugar free drinks improve until recent years?
Because in the past, the taste of sugar free Cola made from sugar substitutes was not very good, which was far from the original.
However, after continuous research, the flavor of sugar substitutes is becoming more mellow, and the flavor of sugar free drinks is the same as that of sugar versions. In 2017, Coca Cola launched Coke Zero sugar, which is known as the closest to the original flavor in history; In 2018, the taste of diet coke was adjusted [ 17]。
At present, the sugar free drinks on the market are mostly made of sugar alcohols instead of erythritol or the fifth generation artificial sugar sucralose. Both of them are representative sweeteners with low calorie and high sweetness. The strength of the slogan “0 sugar, 0 fat, 0 calorie” of Yuanqi forest comes from them.
However, the health dispute about sugar substitutes has not been interrupted.
Saccharin, the earliest artificial sugar substitute, was discovered by chemists in 1879. Because of its high sweetness and low cost, it was soon put into the food industry [ 18]。 In 1937, the same low-cost production of sodium cyclamate was discovered and used as a sweetener in food [ 19]。
Now, these two controversial sugar substitutes no longer appear in drinks. In the 71 sugar free drinks we collected, saccharin or sodium cyclamate are not used.
Today, aspartame, which is used in sugar free Pepsi Cola and zero calorie Fanta, is used in the 20th century The 60th Century It was discovered by accident. Some people claim that after eating the food containing this additive, they have headache, nausea and other discomfort symptoms. All kinds of questions, rumors and even legal proceedings around it have never stopped.
But up to now, almost all authoritative institutions in the world believe that aspartame as a food additive is safe and reliable [ 20]。
Take aspartame for example. According to the standard published by the US Food and drug administration, the maximum intake of aspartame per kilogram of body weight is 50 mg [ 21]。
That is to say, if an adult weighs 50 kg, the daily intake of aspartame should be controlled within 2500 mg, which is about the amount of 14 cans of 330 ml diet coke [ 22]。
There are not many people who can drink 14 cans of coke a day. Therefore, each can of beverage is added with a small amount of sugar, and there is no need to worry about safety.
Some sugar free drinks are still high in calories
The research on sugar substitutes is still going on, but most of the foods that use sugar substitutes can be approved and put on the market, and the safety is guaranteed.
When people choose sugar free drinks, they are most concerned about these two things: whether they will get fat and whether they will drink well.
Let’s take a look at the energy situation of the same brand of drinks with and without sugar
As you can see, compared with the original drink, the sugar free drink has less calories.
However, it should be noted that the calorie of these sugar free drinks is not really zero, but according to the provisions of the general principles of nutrition labeling of prepackaged food in the national food safety standard, when the energy of every 100 ml liquid does not exceed 17 kJ, it can claim zero calorie [ 14]。
But even if sugar free drinks have zero calories, it doesn’t mean you can drink them without restraint. There are also some sugar free drinks that still have a lot of calories. They don’t come from sugar, but from other ingredients.
Some of the ingredients such as Lycium barbarum and fruit juice added in these drinks not only have a lot of calories, but also contain fructose, so they can not be called “0 sugar” drinks in a strict sense.
Another issue that we are concerned about is whether sugar free drinks are good or not. It is about personal taste. At present, most of the sugar free drinks on the market are not much different from the original, except for the lighter taste.
The only exception is the sugar free version of coconut juice. Most of the comments on it are “no sweet taste”, “light taste, bad taste”.
Although the taste is not as good as the original, the price of sugar free coconut juice is not discounted at all. A box of 245ml * 24 cans of coconut juice costs 89 yuan in Jingdong, while the sugar free version costs 101 yuan. A similar situation occurs in many sugar free drinks.
In fact, it is a common phenomenon in the food industry that not only sugar free drinks, but also less sugar is more expensive. After all, if you want to achieve the taste of whole sugar without sugar, the materials and technology are really more expensive.
But it also can’t stop people’s pursuit of sugar free drinks.
Because sugar free drinks can make those of us who are afraid of getting fat but definitely can’t keep our mouths shut. When we drink iced happy water, we feel less guilty.
As for whether you can really avoid obesity, it depends on whether you exercise or not, and whether you can shut up. Drink sugar-free drinks, other high calorie food did not eat less, then you do not fat who fat?
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