HomelabelsTraffic lights on the label and diabetes in cans. How Much Sugar in Drinks?

Traffic lights on the label and diabetes in cans. How Much Sugar in Drinks?

The current debate on the traffic lights on the label is aimed at recalling a danger that affects the health of children and adolescents in particular, diabetes in cans. How Much Sugar Is In Drinks? Brief analysis to follow.

8 fizzy drinks in comparison

A 33ml can of Coca-Cola, the most popular sweetened and carbonated drink on a planetary level, contains the beauty - so to speak - of 35 grams of sugar. Equal to 39% of the daily requirement of an average adult. (1)

Pepsi-Cola is even sweeter, thanks to 35,8 g of sucrose in the 330 ml can, to reach 40% of the daily ration for an adult.

Ubuntu Cola, certified Fair trade, it is only slightly less sweet, with 31,2 g per can occupying 28% of the recommended threshold. And even when we deviate from the aroma of cola, the situation varies little.

Even the Fanta, also produced by Coca-Cola, reaches 38,9 g of sugars. That is 43% of the daily limit indicated to preserve health. The note of patriotism offered by Italian oranges (12% of the total drink) does not therefore reduce the attention on the nutritional profile of the product.

The very Italian Chinotto Neri, in turn, contains 38,3 g of sugars which express 42% of the Reference Intakes for adult consumers.

Schweppes tonic water is a little less sweet, with only 29,4 g of sucrose equal to 33% of the fateful reference consumption indicated by the European legislator. (2)

The can of Sprite (Coca-Cola) instead it has a much lower sucrose content - 6,3 grams - since its sweetness is 'sweetened' with acesulfame K, aspartame and neoesperidina DC. (3)

Last but not least the EstaThé by Ferrero - in third place among the drinks examined, after Fanta and Chinotto Neri - with 36 grams of sugar in the 330 ml can. That is 40% of the reference threshold for an adult.

Cause-and-effect relationships, 'diabetes in a can'

Excessive consumption of sugars, saturated fats and salt is the cause of obesity, overweight and related diseases that today represent an epidemic and a threat. For the health and well-being of the population - starting with children and adolescents - and for health expenditure.

Il 2 type diabetes it's a'planetary emergency, with 5 million patients expected in Italy by 2030. And it is a subtle disease, as it develops without symptoms to the point of causing serious damage to health. The risk of contracting this form of diabetes increases substantially - according to twenty-year studies, collected by Harvard University (4) - even with the consumption of one can a day of sugary drinks.

The United Nations therefore stressed the urgent need to reduce sugars in beverages in the Decade for Action on Nutrition (2016-2025). They have been adopted in every corner of the planet soda tax, from the taxation of sugary drinks to warning on the label. (5)

But in Italy there is talk, on the hypothetical impact of this or that traffic light on the exports of our cheeses. And you neglect the real problem, the social cost of canned diabetes and HFSS foods. (6) Which will remain on our consciences, as well as on public and family budgets.


(1) The reg. UE 1169/11, indicates the average reference consumption for adults, on a daily basis, in 2000 kcal of which 90 grams of sugars (Annex XIII, Part B). 260 gi total carbohydrates, 70 gi total fats (of which 20 g of saturated fatty acids), 50 g of proteins, 6 of salt. The European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) at the time indicated in 25 gi cd Dietary Reference Intake related to fibers

(2) See note 1
(3) The safety of synthetic sweeteners, cd Non-caloric Artificial Sweeteners, however, is widely debated. See, for example, lo study published on Nature, doi: 10.1038 / nature13793,
(4) Cf. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/soft-drinks-and-disease/
(5) The lobby of alcoholic beverage producers has instead convinced the European Commission to maintain the exemption granted to them by the obligations of nutritional declaration and ingredient list on the label
(6) High Fats, Sugars and Sodium. Beyond the biased narrative of Big food big sodas, the foods targeted by traffic lights are certainly not the traditional ones. Which keep adequate spaces in the guidelines for a healthy diet, more and more in the context of the Mediterranean diet. The traffic lights instead point to the superfluous foods with unbalanced nutritional profiles, just like carbonated drinks rather than French fries or other snack HFS extension

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