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Collaborating with Coca-Cola to bust myths in Brazil

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New digital education series shares science on low and no calorie sweeteners.

Visit any bakery, supermarket or café in Brazil and you’ll see that the nation’s longstanding love affair with sweet treats remains in full flourish. With its Portuguese influence and place in the historic global sugar trade, sugar has long been a key ingredient in the Brazilian diet and, more recently, a significant source of calories for many, contributing to growing obesity rates.

Friends sharing a pancake breakfast

Low and no calorie sweeteners are growing in popularity as a tool to satisfy a sweet tooth, and with leading local nutrition experts and industry partners, including its customer Coca-Cola, Tate & Lyle is supporting a new digital course to build awareness of their contribution to healthy living. Here, Renata Cassar, Tate & Lyle Nutrition Manager for Latin America, introduces the initiative, which kicked off this month and has already attracted almost 3,000 subscribers.

“We know that health professionals are always looking for robust information based on sound science that can help them to better advise their patients to make healthier choices,” Renata explained. “With growing obesity and diabetes rates, there is a clear need in our society for effective tools that can contribute to favourable blood glucose levels and weight management. Low and no calorie sweeteners are one such tool and the health community is actively seeking resources that can help them to fill the information gap that exists around these ingredients and bust a few myths that aren’t grounded in science.”

Tate & Lyle has partnered with Nutrição em Pauta, a leading nutrition education platform, the Brazilian Society for Food and Nutrition (SBAN) and Coca-Cola, to offer health and food industry professionals a free-to-access digital course to explain the origins, safety and efficacy of low and no calorie sweeteners.

According to Eduardo Nascimento Silva, Sr. Manager Advocacy at Coca-Cola Brasil, “There is a lot of misinformation and myths surrounding low and no calorie sweeteners, which often make consumers unsure about their use, even in the face of the growing rates of diabetes and obesity. At the same time, the private sector has a unique opportunity to partner and support initiatives such as this course, carrying out a practical action to support education that ultimately benefits the whole population.”

The course content, including video classes supported by presentations, educational materials and expert Q&As, was developed and will be delivered by three nutrition academics from leading institutions in Brazil. Dr Leila Hashimoto, Faculty of Public Health graduate with a PhD in Food Science from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of São Paulo, is one of the course speakers. “Numerous well-controlled studies have supported the benefits of low and no calorie sweeteners to date,” Dr Hashimoto explained. “Besides useful tools for weight management, their role in eliciting favourable glycaemic response and on oral health are also relevant and even got a positive opinion by the Committee of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), recognising these as well-established benefits of low and no calorie sweeteners when replacing sugar.”

Lara Natacci, member of the Communication Committee at SBAN, the Brazilian Society for Food and Nutrition, which supports the event series, said: “As we know, both overweight and type 2 diabetes have become growing global epidemics. Hence, on one hand, there is an urgent need to educate and care for obese, prediabetic and diabetic people, and on the other, reliable information is crucial for health professionals as they play a central and critical role with these patients. This course fills a huge gap and is surely of great value as a practical tool for those who wants to learn about low and no calorie sweeteners.”

Other partners include ABIAD, a leading food industry trade body in Brazil, which is helping to build awareness of this new resource to industry professionals seeking to better understand how these ingredients can support their efforts to develop great tasting, healthier products.


Healthy living baking child

Supporting education initiative like this is one of the ways Tate & Lyle is working to support healthy living and deliver its purpose of Improving Lives for Generations. Find out more here