Health Ministry cuts carbonated soft drinks sugar content by 10%

October 15, 2018

TEHRAN — Iran’s Ministry of Health has slashed carbonated soft drinks sugar content by 10 percent, an official with Food and Drug Administration has said.

The sugar content of such drinks are planned to decrease even more, IRNA news agency quoted Vahid Mofid as saying on Sunday. 

The Food and Drug Administration has implemented programs to decrease fat, salt and sugar content in various food products, Mofid said, adding that for instance salt content in bread has diminished by 30 percent do far. 

He also commented on trans fatty acid isomers saying that Food and Drug Administration is aiming to decrease trans isomers in cooking oils to zero and that at the moment trans isomers have been reduced to 2 percent in food stuff. 

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine the trans fatty acids are unsaturated fatty acids with at least one double bond in the trans configuration. These fatty acids occur naturally in dairy and other natural fats and in some plants. However, industrial hydrogenation of vegetable or marine oils is largely the main source of trans fatty acids in our diet. The metabolic effect of trans isomers are today a matter of controversy generating diverse extreme positions in light of biochemical, nutritional, and epidemiological studies.

Trans fatty acids also have been implicated in the etiology of various metabolic and functional disorders, but the main concern about its health effects arose because the structural similarity of these isomers to saturated fatty acids, the lack of specific metabolic functions, and its competition with essential fatty acids.

Mofid went on to say that all manufacturers are required to include ‘traffic light’ labels on food packaging to signify the fat, saturated fat, sugar, and salt content of the food stuff and now almost all food packaging are labeled with the traffic lights. 

The new color-coded food labels are intended to help shoppers know at a glance whether a product contains a low, medium or high amount of fat, saturated fat, salt, sugar and calories and make choices for a more healthier and balanced diet, he explained.

According to World Health organization a healthy diet helps to protect against malnutrition in all its forms, as well as developing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer as unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are leading global risks to health.

Healthy dietary practices start early in life – breastfeeding fosters healthy growth and improves cognitive development, and may have longer term health benefits such as limiting the risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing NCDs later in life.

Energy intake (calories) should be in balance with energy expenditure. To avoid unhealthy weight gain, total fat should not exceed 30% of total energy intake. Intake of saturated fats should be less than 10% of total energy intake, and intake of trans-fats less than 1% of total energy intake, with a shift in fat consumption away from saturated fats and trans-fats to unsaturated fats, and towards the goal of eliminating industrially-produced trans-fats.

Limiting intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake is also a part of a healthy diet. A further reduction to less than 5% of total energy intake is suggested for additional health benefits.

Keeping salt intake to less than 5 grams per day (equivalent to sodium intake of less than 2 g per day) helps to prevent hypertension, and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke in the adult population.

WHO Member States have agreed to reduce the global population’s intake of salt by 30% by 2025; they have also agreed to halt the rise in diabetes and obesity in adults and adolescents as well as in childhood overweight by 2025.

MQ/MG

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