THE Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) urged Negrenses to refrain from consuming alternative sweeteners, including high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), as it poses possible health risks.
Salvador Serrano, science and research specialist II of FNRI, on Thursday, May 18, said they are not recommending the use of any alternative sugar as there is still no conclusive study confirming whether these sweeteners are safe or not.
Serrano said these “too good to be true” ingredients might have accumulated health effects after three to five years, or when it is already too late to prevent.
“Negrenses should patronize local products especially sugar because aside from (avoiding) health concerns, the commodity is also economically critical to the province,” he added.
Serrano pointed out that although ordinary table sugar derived from sugarcane can cause diabetes with excessive consumption, it is still healthier than alternative sweetener with long-term effects that are not yet established.
Sugar industry leaders and stakeholders have been questioning the unabated entry of HFCS being used by beverage companies as alternative sweetener especially for softdrinks.
Aside from claiming that HFCS importation is killing the sugar industry, stakeholders are also asserting that consumption of HFCS could trigger diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
FNRI said the country is lagging behind in conducting actual clinical studies on direct effects of alternative sweeteners. Some studies were already conducted abroad, but only on animals.
Serrano said based on these studies some animal tissues were damaged, but the results are not yet conclusive to say it could result to cancer.
“Thus, as a rule, we do not recommend consumption of any preservative or anything that has no conclusive effects on people’s health,” he added.
Amid reports that continuous importation and use of HFCS will eventually kill the sugar industry, Serrano said there is really a need to step up the government’s advocacy to stop consuming alternative sweeteners as well as other products that could be harmful to human health.
“Like synthetic rice said to be cheaper and more nutritious, we still do not know its effect while it is impacting negatively to the livelihood of our local farmers,” Serrano said.
To further promote proper nutrition among Filipinos, FNRI is also promoting production of short shelf-life products through non-usage of preservatives.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on May 19, 2017.
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