Starch Europe Statement on the EU-Funded SciView Study
Starch Europe takes note of the publication of the SciView study. This two year study conducted by ICF and funded by the European Commission reviewing Scientific Evidence and Policies on Nutrition and Physical Activity is divided into 8 chapters, including one focusing on the relationship between “High fructose syrups” consumption in Europe and obesity (see here). We fully acknowledge the growing public health concern about obesity and welcome the broad overview of research provided in the study as an important step towards better understanding and tackling this multi-factorial issue by addressing both the nutrition and physical activity aspects together.
We welcome the conclusion that the existing scientific evidence does not show a difference in health effects between starch-based “high fructose syrups”(labelled in Europe as glucose-fructose syrup or fructose-glucose syrup, and sometimes referred to isoglucose) and sucrose (table sugar), and the resulting recommendation that any subsequent debate should focus on sugars consumption as a whole,rather than on targeting specific sugars. In this respect, we look forward to the results of the European Food Safety Agency’s ongoing work on the definition of a reference intake level for total/free/added sugars.
In recent years, extensive reviewson this topic have already been conducted by several national scientific bodies in Europe, including the Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR) in Germany, the French Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire Alimentation Environnement Travail (ANSES), and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN)of the British Government, as well as a number of US-based medical and scientific associations.All this research confirms the same conclusion, that there is no health justification for distinguishing between starch-based sugars and sucrose. In the BfR opinion for example, it is clearly concluded that “Isoglucose and sucrose (household sugar) can be assessed similarly in terms of the potential to damage health”.
Starch Europe’s members remain strongly committed to transparency; transparency towards our customers, through advice on compliance with existing European legislation (EU FIC 1169/2011 and EU 2001/111) clearly defining ingredient and nutritional labelling on products containing starch-based ingredients; transparency towards our stakeholders through active participation in the European Sugar Market Observatory, and; transparency towards European consumers, by providing objective and fact-based information about the health and nutritional implications of starch-based ingredients. The association has launched several initiatives in line with this objective over the past few years, including an online Q&A platform explaining the properties of starch-based ingredients (www.starchinfood.eu) which we are currently expanding.
For more information on glucose-fructose syrups and fructose-glucose syrups, please see:
- Factsheet on Glucose-Fructose Syrups
- Statement on the end of quotasand the impact on sugars consumption
- Statement on the decline of Isoglucose Sales since end of quotas
Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (2018), Isoglucose and sucrose (household sugar) can be assessed similarly in terms of the potential to damage health, BfR Communication No 019/2018 of 8 June 2018
Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire Alimentation Environnement Travail (2018), Sucres dans l’alimentation, https://www.anses.fr/fr/content/sucres-dans-l’alimentation
Scientific Advisory Committee in Nutrition (2015) Carbohydrate and Health
As early as 2008, the American Medical Associationstated that “High Fructose Corn Syrups do not appear to contribute to obesity more than other caloric sweeteners”. In 2012, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (ADA) concluded, in an opinion paper, that “High Fructose Syrup is nutritionally equivalent to sucrose”. These conclusions are also aligned with WHO recommendations which do not distinguish between sugars.
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