News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Potentially Harmful Myths About Diet Products

Media Release
EMBARGOED UNTIL 6am monday 22 September 2008

potentially harmful Myths about diet products

The New Zealand Nutrition Foundation is concerned misinformation surrounding the common food ingredient aspartame could be prompting New Zealanders to avoid diet products in favour of the regular versions.

Aspartame is the low calorie sweetener used in many diet food and beverage products commonly found on our supermarket shelves. It has been the target of a groundswell of misinformation without any scientific basis and could be causing New Zealanders to shy away from diet products inappropriately. For example, there is evidence consumers are switching from diet drinks to sugar-containing drinks (see key points below). And if this is happening with drinks there is a good chance it is also happening with other foods containing aspartame in place of sugar.

Nikki Hart, respected New Zealand Nutritionist and NZ Nutrition Foundation Council member is concerned the perpetuation of misinformation around the safety of diet drinks has the potential to do real harm.

“The switch from diet drinks to sugar-containing drinks is an unfortunate and potentially harmful trend in an environment where both obesity and diabetes are on the rise. While health advice is always to drink water as a first choice, substituting a perfectly appropriate low energy drink for a drink containing energy is not a good choice for some people.”

The New Zealand Nutrition Foundation is holding seminars in Auckland and Wellington this week featuring one of the leading world experts on aspartame. Dr Bernadene Magnuson from the University of Toronto is the lead author of one of the most comprehensive, peer-reviewed reviews of aspartame research published recently, which found it to be a much-studied sweetener whose safety is clearly documented and well established through extensive scientific research.

Nikki Hart is also participating in the seminars, speaking about the role of aspartame in food and beverages and the benefits it offers people who need to control their weight or manage diabetes.


ENDS

Dr Magnuson has been brought to New Zealand by Coca-Cola Oceania.


Key Points - Consumer sales data on diet and regular drink consumption

Research agency The Nielsen Company reports a NZ consumer shift in demand away from diet soft drinks towards regular variants. The key points are:

• In 2008 (year-to-date), supermarket sales of diet soft drinks have fallen by 5%
• In the same period, regular soft drink sales have grown by 9.5%.

To put this shift into perspective, between 2004 and 2006 in NZ supermarkets:
• Diet soft drink sales grew by 37%
• Regular soft drink sales declined by 1%.

(Source: Nielsen Scantrack data to August 10 2008)

Interestingly NZ seems to be the only market globally in which diet drinks are declining in sales (anecdotal reports from the Coca-Cola Company).

Anecdotally this trend is also being seen in other categories of products in NZ containing non-nutritive sweeteners, such as sugar free gum, non-nutritive sweeteners on their own and ‘lite’ yoghurts.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'


The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>


Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>


Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>


Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland