Replacement of refined sugar by natural sweeteners: focus on potential health benefits
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonHeliyon. 2022, 8 (9), . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e10711
Refined sugar is a processed product containing 99% sucrose, which is obtained from sugarcane (70%) or sugar beet (30%). In modern societies, sugar continues to play a significant role in the diet, recognised not only for its flavour and special sweetening properties but also for its role in food preservation. On the other hand, a high consumption of refined sugar is associated with non-communicable diseases and many health issues such as a high risk of dental caries, overweight and neurodevelopmental disorders in children. Alternatives like unrefined sugars have generated a lot of interest as a healthy substitute due to their nutraceutical properties. This paper is aimed to review the beneficial effects of sugar derived from natural sources and highlight health problems that could be caused by refined processed sugar. Refined sugar is frequently used in variety of items including processed foods, soft drinks or ice creams although it is considered unhealthy due to its high salt and sugar content as well as added fats and artificial coloring. Natural sugars are preferred because they have a high nutritional value and a high concentration of healthy compounds, which offset the negative effects of refined sugar. Therefore, removing refined sugar or at least reducing its consumption should be promoted as a healthier option in food choices.