Thursday July 19, 2018

Sanchez: Confluence of interests

BY A quirk of fate, I find myself agreeing with the call of Negrense sugar leaders to call to boycott beverages sold by Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines Inc.

I was beginning to think the campaign to boycott Coca Cola products were bankrolled somehow by the other cola company. Now I’m assuaged that the targets are both cola companies.

Manuel Lamata, president of United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines, warned, “Tapos na ang Coke, ari ang sunod,” pointing to the can of Pepsi he was holding. “Ari naman birahon ta. Kay indi ni sila inosente. Mga tonto ni. HFCS man ni unod.”

Of course, the premises and the objectives are different for what I have in mind. Theirs is to protect their bottomline, mine is for health reasons.

Both sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are bad for the health…of our bodies of all of us, not just their purses.

The United Nation’s (UN) World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the reduced consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to reduce the risk of childhood overweight and obesity.

Sugar-sweetened beverages contain added sugars like sucrose (a compound that is the chief component of cane or beet sugar) or HFCS and a 330ml or 12oz portion of sugar-sweetened carbonated soft drink typically contains some whopping 35g (almost nine teaspoons) of sugars and provides approximately 140 calories of energy, generally with little other nutritional value.

Further, the WHO came up with “Sugars intake for adults and children guideline” provides based on updated global, evidence-informed recommendations on the intake of free sugars to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases in adults and children. The guideline’s focus is on the prevention and control of unhealthy weight gain and dental caries, the scientific term for tooth decay or cavities.

Review of the debate in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition rejects HFCS as a causative factor of obesity, that HFCS “is not meaningfully different in composition or metabolism from other fructose-glucose sweeteners like sucrose, honey, and fruit juice concentrates.”

All indicators of diabetes were higher in countries that use HFCS as compared to those that do not,” with type 2 diabetes occurring in 8 percent of the population. Countries that don’t use HFCS had a diabetes rate of 6.7 percent – a 20 percent different in prevalence. These results held when adjusted for body mass index averages and economic climate, and were independent of total sugar intake and obesity levels.

At any rate, clinical science bats not for a ban or a boycott but reduction of consumption intake. But how much is from a scientific perspective is up for a debate. May we hear more from Filipino scientists and health practitioners and businessmen for a confluence of various interests.