World Milk Day: Two thirds of milk products contain too much sugar
Nutrition experts always advise against excessive sugar consumption, as this is associated with numerous health risks. Unfortunately, it is often not so easy to see how much of the sweetener is in certain foods. Supposedly healthy dairy products often contain far too much sugar. This is pointed out by experts on the occasion of World Milk Day.
Milk is considered a healthy natural product
Milk used to be the epitome of healthy eating. But there is now a dispute over whether milk is healthy or harmful. The natural product is said to strengthen bones and teeth, among other things, but studies may also favor diseases such as asthma. According to recent studies, milk is actually healthy. It depends on the form in which it is enjoyed, because some children's milk products in particular are often more of a candy than a healthy food.
World Milk Day on June 1st
Pure milk is a valuable food with important ingredients, but unfortunately, too much sugar or sweetener is added too often during processing.
This is pointed out by the Austrian Diabetes Association (ÖDG) and the preventive medical institute SIPCAN on the occasion of World Milk Day on June 1st.
The annual SIPCAN milk list, a study of the sugar content in over 1,100 milk products in the Austrian trade, shows that a large part of the available milk products for drinking or spoons is too sweet to be healthy.
Negative health consequences
“Milk is a healthy food. Unfortunately, this simple equation is used to confuse consumers, ”says the President of the ÖDG, Univ. Prof. Dr. Alexandra Kautzky-Willer according to a message.
"Unfortunately, just because milk is part of a product on the supermarket shelf does not mean that this product is healthy," said the expert.
"The main reason why, in contrast to milk, processed milk products can also have negative health effects is the addition of sugar or sweeteners."
The addition of sugar should be refused
“With its natural sugar content, milk itself is an energy supplier. Further additions of sugar should therefore be observed very closely and should actually be rejected, ”says Kautzky-Willer.
According to the expert, free sugar should make up less than five percent of the energy in children and adolescents and should ideally be in the form of milk, unsweetened milk products or fruits.
"Water should primarily serve as a thirst quencher, but unsweetened milk products should be considered part of a meal or a small meal replacement," explained the doctor.
"In fact, replacing soft drinks with water in particular, but even with milk, can help save calories and lead to less obesity in children."
And: "Fermented milk products and low-fat milk products - always unsweetened, of course - should even improve insulin resistance and contribute to less risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, probably due to their content of minerals, vitamins, but also of cheap proteins and fatty acids."
According to the doctor, milk fat is likely to differ from other animal fat, for which a higher risk of diabetes has been described.
“But too much sugar means increasing everyone's personal risk of obesity, diabetes and many other so-called lifestyle diseases. In times when more and more people, and especially more and more children and adolescents are too fat, it is inappropriate to put sugar bombs on a healthy coat. ”
Don't reach for the sugar bomb
The President of the Austrian Obesity Society Prof. Prim. Dr. Hoppichler added: "Especially with milk products for drinking and spooning, consumers need support so that they don't reach for the sugar bomb and believe that they are doing something good for their own body or family."
The annual SIPCAN milk list is intended to provide practical guidance for everyday life. In addition, the authors want to rethink producers and retailers at the same time.
As it says in the message, the experts from SIPCAN have set a daily orientation value of a maximum of 12 grams of sugar per 100 g or per 100 ml milk product.
This value is made up of the natural sugar content of the milk (average 4.6 g per 100 ml) and the maximum amount of added sugar of 7.4 g per 100 g / ml derived from the WHO recommendation.
In addition to the sugar limit mentioned, no sweeteners may be contained in the products. "The admixture of sweeteners creates the risk that consumers and especially children will get used to higher sweetness in the long term and that there will also be no feeling of satiety despite the sweetness," explained Kautzky-Willer.
"We should learn to enjoy the natural sweetness of milk products in moderation due to the normal milk sugar content."
Only a third of the products meet the requirements
“Fortunately, the proportion of products on the positive list has doubled since 2012. Nevertheless, only a third of all products that are available in Austrian retailers currently meet the sugar requirements, ”says Hoppichler.
"Milk is undisputedly a valuable food with important ingredients such as Calcium, protein and B vitamins, ”said the expert.
"But it makes me very alarming that - based on the total sugar content - eight cubes of sugar are hidden in a small 200 g mug of vanilla yogurt."
Sweeteners as a worrying trend
A worrying trend can be observed for dairy products for drinking. While there was a reduction in the proportion of products with sweeteners from 2012 to 2015, there has been an increase since 2015.
"Pay attention to the sugar content when shopping and check in the list of ingredients whether sweeteners such as Aspartame, cyclamate but also steviol glycoside are contained, ”says Kautzky-Willer.
After all, calorie-free sweeteners can also make people overweight.
“A milk product should contain no sweeteners and a maximum of 12 g sugar per 100 ml or 100 g. With this simple rule, you can save sugar despite enjoyment. It is better, however, to avoid adding sugar to milk, yogurts and other dairy products. "
The experts are asking manufacturers to gradually reduce sugar levels and reduce the use of sweeteners.
“Every consumer must have the chance to gradually get used to less sweetness. In this context, industry occupies a key position and must accept this responsibility, ”said Hoppichler and Kautzky-Willer. (ad)