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Natural sugars can be a healthy replacement in sweets without boosting diabetes risk, study finds

Natural sugars found in fruits like oranges and lemons may be a healthy substitute for sweets without increasing diabetes risk, study shows

  • University of Florida researchers looked at selectively bred citrus trees
  • They found eight sweeteners in the plants, seven of which were completely new
  • One, called Oxime V, was previously known from Japan, but was man-made
  • Sweeteners are often used as a way to reduce sugar while maintaining taste
  • But some researchers warn that they may actually increase your risk of diabetes

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

Researchers at the University of Florida said they found the compounds — seven are completely new — after running tests on grapefruits, tangerines and sweet oranges. The other sweetener discovered used in Japan was previously known only as a synthetic version.

Dr. Yu Wang, a food scientist who led the research, said in the paper that the sweeteners offered an ‘expanded opportunity’ to lower sugar levels in drinks.

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

But some scientists warn that sweeteners — like aspartame and stevia in soda — can actually increase someone’s risk of obesity, diabetes and even a heart attack.

Dr.  Yu Wang, a food scientist who led the research, said in the paper that the sweeteners offered an 'expanded opportunity' to lower sugar levels in drinks (stock image)

Dr. Yu Wang, a food scientist who led the research, said in the paper that the sweeteners offered an ‘expanded opportunity’ to lower sugar levels in drinks (stock image)

In the release for the study, published this week in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistrythe experts said their findings offered a host of new sweeteners.

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

‘This finding opens up opportunities for the food industry to produce food and beverages with lower sugar and lower calories, while maintaining sweetness and flavor using natural products.’

Can sweeteners increase my risk of diabetes?

The jury is still out on whether artificial sweeteners – such as those in soft drinks – can increase the risk of suffering from diabetes.

The World Health Organization says current evidence suggests they help with short-term weight loss, leading to better-controlled blood sugar levels, which reduces the risk of diabetes.

But there are also warnings that long-term use can actually have the opposite effects.

They can change the composition of bacteria in the gut, favoring those better able to extract more calories from a smaller amount of food.

On the other hand, some studies suggest that this increases the risk of problems absorbing sugar and thus diabetes.

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

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

Each had been selectively bred for a specific taste and for particular qualities – such as being resistant to cold.

Testing revealed eight sweeteners in the plants, only one of which has previously been found.

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

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

The new sweeteners were not tested for their impact on the risk of type 2 diabetes or obesity.

It was not clear which products they can be added.

Discussing the results, Wang said: ‘We were able to identify a natural source of an artificial sweetener, oxime V, which had never been previously identified from any natural source.

‘This creates expanded opportunities for citrus growers and for breeding [lines] must be selected to obtain high yields of sweetener compounds.’

Sweeteners are a popular sugar substitute in the United States, where more than a third of adults are overweight.

But a growing body of papers suggests 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 may actually lead to weight gain, obesity and increase the risk of disease. type 2 diabetes.

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

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

Concerns have also been raised that sweeteners could increase the risk of heart attacks after a study found that drinking half a cup of some diet cokes 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 overweight, although it is unclear whether this is due to weight gain from the drinks or because this group is more likely to use them.