Natural sugars may be a healthy replacement for sweets without increasing diabetes risk, study says

Natural sugars found in fruits like oranges and lemons can be a healthy replacement for sweets without increasing diabetes risk, study finds

  • Researchers at the University of Florida looked at selectively bred citrus trees
  • They found eight sweeteners inside the plants, seven of which were completely new.
  • One, called Oxima V, was previously known in Japan but was man-made.
  • Sweeteners are often implemented as a way to reduce sugar and preserve flavor.
  • But some scientists warn that they may actually increase the risk of diabetes.

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Eight new sweeteners found in citrus fruits could be used to reduce sugar in foods and soft drinks, scientists say, while claiming they could even reduce the risk of diabetes.

Researchers at the University of Florida said they found the compounds, seven of which are entirely new, after testing grapefruit, tangerines and sweet oranges. The other sweetener discovered, used in Japan, was previously only known as a synthetic version.

Dr. Yu Wang, a food scientist who led the research, said in the article that sweeteners offered an “extended opportunity” to lower sugar levels in beverages.

Sweeteners are often implemented as a way to reduce sugars and calories in products while retaining the sweet taste, which can help with weight loss.

But some scientists warn that sweeteners, such as aspartame and stevia in diet soda, may actually increase someone’s risk of being overweight, developing diabetes and even having a heart attack.

Dr. Yu Wang, a food scientist who led the research, said in the article that sweeteners offered an “extended opportunity” to lower sugar levels in beverages (stock image)

In the study’s statement, published this week in the Journal of Food and Agricultural Chemistryexperts said their find offered a host of new sweeteners.

They said: ‘Americans’ love affair with sugar can be a deadly attraction that sometimes leads to major health problems, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

“This finding opens up opportunities for the food industry to produce lower-sugar, lower-calorie foods and beverages while maintaining sweetness and flavor using natural products.”

Can sweeteners increase my risk of diabetes?

The jury is still out on whether artificial sweeteners, like those found in soft drinks, can increase the risk of diabetes.

The World Health Organization says current evidence suggests they aid short-term weight loss, leading to better-controlled blood sugar levels that reduce diabetes risk.

But there are also warnings that long-term use could have reverse effects.

They can change the composition of bacteria in the gut, favoring those that are better able to extract more calories from less food.

In turn, some studies suggest that this increases the risk of problems absorbing sugar and, therefore, diabetes.

The World Health Organization is currently conducting a review on the health effects of sweeteners.

In the study, scientists studied fruits from eleven different strains of citrus plants.

Each had been selectively bred for a specific flavor and particular qualities, such as being cold hardy.

Testing revealed eight sweeteners within the plants, and only one had previously been found.

The seven new sweeteners were named eriodictyol, hesperetin, ADMF, DAME, hernandulcin, 4B-hydroxyhernandulcin, and perilaldehyde.

The other was Oxime V, a sweetener used in some foods in Japan, marking the first time it has been found in nature. This was previously only known as a sweetener that could be made in laboratories.

The impact of the new sweeteners on the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity was not tested.

It was not clear which products they can be added to.

Discussing the results, Wang said, “We were able to identify a natural source for an artificial sweetener, oxime V, that had never before been identified from any natural source.”

‘This creates greater opportunities for citrus growers and for the improvement [lines] to be selected for high yields of sweetening compounds.’

Sweeteners are a popular replacement for sugar in the United States, where more than one-third of adults are obese.

But a growing body of articles suggests that they may have a negative impact on human health.

In the most comprehensive review to date, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that while sweeteners have a “short-term” benefit in encouraging weight loss, in the long term they could lead to weight gain, obesity and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Some say that products combined with these actually raise a person’s hunger hormone levels because they contain too few calories, leading to overeating.

Others warn that they alter the gut microbiome, which can also lead to overeating and therefore weight gain.

Concerns have also been raised that sweeteners may increase the risk of heart attacks, after a study found that drinking half a cup of some diet colas a day increased the risk by up to a tenth. Participants were also found to be a fifth more likely to have a stroke.

Studies also show that those who use the drinks are more likely to be obese, although it is not clear if this is due to weight gain from the drinks or because this group is more likely to use them.

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