High-GI sugar alternatives are ‘misleading’ consumers

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Maltodrextrin has a significant impact on a person’s metabolism, Speleers claims
Maltodrextrin has a significant impact on a person’s metabolism, Speleers claims

Related tags Food ingredients europe Carbohydrate Sugar

The approach by some food and drink manufacturers to replace sugar with high-glycaemic alternatives is “borderline misleading” to consumers, the director of a global ingredients company has claimed.

Food firms and their ingredients suppliers should be doing more to make the distinction between good and bad sugars, because replacing sucrose with another high-glycaemic ingredient was nothing more than a “cosmetic”​ change, suggested Dominique Speleers, member of the executive board at Beneo.

Speaking to Food Manufacture​ at last November’s Food Ingredients Europe, held in Frankfurt, Speleers said he was referring mainly to maltodextrin products, of which “there are plenty”​ on the market.

‘It is borderline misleading’

“The consumer might think that replacing these sugars is a good move, but I would say it is borderline misleading,”​ he said.

“We are observing a lot of this at the moment, and we are doing our very best to tell our customers that, if they really want to make a fundamental change – and not just a chemical change – they should consider oligofructose, isomalt or Beneo’s Palatinose for a low glycaemic-index [GI] product.”

He claimed to be “very sceptical”​ about the impending Soft Drinks Industry Levy in the UK, for the “same reason – that these taxes put all the sugars in the same basket”​.

70% want to cut sugar intake

According to Beneo’s own research, more than 70% of European consumers wanted to cut their sugar intake, and 58% of them were trying to do this to control their weight.

However, the current discussion about sugar reduction often ignored the fact that blood sugar management played a key role in weight management, the company said.

While high GI ingredients such as maltodextrin helped to reduce the sugar because they are oligo- or polysaccharides, they nevertheless had a significant impact on a person’s metabolism, Beneo added.

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