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INGREDIENTS AND FLAVOURS

PureCircle to help reduce 250 billion calories from Indian diet by ’20
Tuesday, 26 December, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
PureCircle, the world's leading producer and innovator of great-tasting stevia ingredients for the global beverage and food industry, announced its commitment to at IDACON, the fifth annual national conference of the Indian Dietetic Association, to help Indian companies reduce 250 billion calories in the Indian diet by 2020.

Rising obesity and diabetes rates are increasing the concerns of health practitioners, government agencies and responsible companies in India. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that one person in 11 (422 million worldwide) is diabetic and predicted that by 2030, diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death.

To address this, health-conscious Indian consumers are determined to reduce sugar and calories in their diet. As a plant-based, zero-calorie, sustainable and great-tasting sweetener, stevia has achieved wide global acceptance. Even in India, the acceptance for it is growing.

PureCircle has invested significant funds and resources into the research and development (R&D) of stevia as the next global, natural sweetener. High-purity stevia leaf extract has gained global recognition and received regulatory safety stamps of approval.

Multiple major global regulatory organisations, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), WHO’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additive (JECFA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), have determined high-purity stevia leaf extracts to be safe for consumption by children, adults and special populations.

The approval of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in December 2015 has opened a plethora of categories that can now incorporate stevia as a sweet source.

Speaking at IDACON, Sidd Purkayastha, vice-president, global scientific and regulatory affairs, PureCircle said, “The ever-increasing consumer desire for a natural ingredient and clean labels have contributed to the worldwide growth of stevia leaf extract.”

“Stevia has no calories and zero glycaemic index (GI), and our extensive research has shown stevia is safe for all populations,” he added.

“Extensive safety and metabolism studies conducted by the scientific community and reviewed by major authorities led to the approval of stevia leaf extract, and supports stevia’s role in a healthy lifestyle,” Purkayastha said.

Commenting on the announcement of India’s goals to cut down the calorie level, Ajay Chandran, senior director and head, South Asia, PureCircle, said, “Unlike artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame or saccharine, stevia leaf extracts come from a plant.”

“Stevia (or Meethi Tulsi or Madhu Patra, as it is called by Indian farmers) is an ideal sweetener for Indian consumers to control calories without compromising on taste,” he added.

“India is a major part of our global calorie footprint. We are confident that by 2020, we will be able to help India to cut down 250 billion calories from the Indian diet,” Chandran said.

Keith Ayoob, nutritionist and associate professor emeritus, paediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City, also serves as advisory board member, PureCircle Stevia Institute.

He said, “As a health professional, I believe offering people a wide selection of low-and-zero-sugar foods and beverages gives people a significant advantage to help them moderate their sugar intake and manage weight.”

“The benefits of stevia are numerous - great taste, natural origin, sustainable, zero calories, zero glycaemic load, and safe for the entire family, including children and pregnant women,” Ayoob added.

“Let us remember that a healthy lifestyle is about moderation, balancing sugar intake and taking part in appropriate levels of exercise,” he said.

Stevia is used as a sweetener in more than 16,000 foods and beverages around the globe today, including soft drinks, juices, waters, flavoured milks, yoghurts, baked goods, cereals, salad dressings, sauces, confections, tabletop sweeteners and more.

When used correctly, this non-nutritive sweetener can help achieve personal and public health goals to reduce calories and sugar intake and improve overall health.
 
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