The Spanish agency of consumption, food security and Nutrition (Aecosan), attached to the Ministry of Health, Social services and equality, within the NAOS strategy (for nutrition, physical activity and prevention of obesity) has launched the Plan Collaboration for the improvement of the composition of food and beverages 2017-2020, which, among other measures, invites manufacturers to reformulate their products and reduce certain nutrients as a priority weapon to combat obesity. Is there anything wrong?
Thus define the reformulation: "To improve the content of certain nutrients selected [...] of food, modifying some of its components without increasing the energy content of food or other nutrients. " The justification: "Making available to citizens more products with less salt, less saturated fats or trans (better lipid profile) and with less added sugars [...], will facilitate the acquisition and maintenance of appropriate patterns of consumption or a Diet with a varied composition and a quantity of nutrients according to the recommendations of health institutions. " And this, for the experts, is a lot to say.
You're not fat (alone) for eating french fries.
Nor will it stop being because they have less salt and saturated fats. Aecosan mentions 13 food groups to reformulate. And, of them, only certain appetizers, sodas, buns, biscuits and cereals for breakfast, vegetable creams, meat derivatives, poles, fruit nectars (remember: juices, by law, can not carry added sugar), special packaged bread (mould, toast...) , prepared dishes (rings, croquettes, dumplings, lasagna and surimi), sauces and dairy products (yoghurts and desserts) should reduce their content in added sugars between 5% (pastries) and 18% (mayonnaise sauce); Between 5% (ketchup) and 16% salt (sausages); and between 5% (biscuits and meat derivatives) and 10% (appetizers and prepared dishes) of saturated fats (by the way, a percentages agreed with the employers, without scientific basis). And no, there is no pizza or any other snack or fast food: only the products in which the participating companies have agreed.
To qualify — by generalizing — of "right choices" to all of these foods, making it easier for them to be part of what is in our imaginary a healthy diet, may not be the most accurate, however much better than before. Neither the ingredients nor the nutrients are the problem. This is recognized by WHO and FAO, accepting the NOVA classification, a world benchmark for dietary guidelines, which does not enter into specific amounts of salt, fat and/or sugar, but in how a food is transformed (to where and to what end) as a determining factor in the Configuration of the food system and the relationship between the nature of the diet, health and well-being.
It is in the countries in whose houses more processed foods enter (those cooked with industrial ingredients such as antioxidants, stabilizers, preservatives, colorants, flavor enhancers, moisturizers...) Where the obesity rate in adults is Greater. It is demonstrated by a study by the University of São Paulo, published in February in Public Health nutrition.
" vendings will offer double the reformulated food now and up to 50% more balanced products. and reduce the maximum dose of sugar in hot drink machines by 15%, Dolors Monserrat (Minister of Health, Social services and equality)
It is true that ready to eat has sugar, fats and/or salt. We reduce them and one less problem: a logical sequence that wobbles on the pillars because, although there is no processing that does not carry at least one of them, they are not the only ingredients to watch. And, as Aecosan recognizes, most of the mechanisms that trigger obesity "are linked to the lifestyle and behavior with respect to how and what is eaten and if physical activity is carried out consistently and habitually [although exercise does not compensate for an excess Of dietary calories, provides better health regardless of their weight. " and genetics, culture, the environment, and the availability of healthy food and environments also play an important role.
As stated by Carlos Monteiro, director of the study, the Guardian, "We consume every day a number of artificial substances that we have no idea what problems will bring us." In addition, his colleague Jean-Claude Moubarac, professor of nutrition at the University of Montreal (Canada), says that the [ultra] processed have very low nutritional quality, which tend to have fewer proteins, minerals and vitamins and that displace Natural or minimally processed (washed, cut, refrigerated, frozen, fermented, filleted, bagged...).
However, it is good news (and your palate will not find out)
Knowing this, the initiative is a commitment that needs to be celebrated and that requires a great deal of effort on the part of the industry. Changing the composition so that it equally satisfies all our senses, not just our papillae, is a challenge. Aecosan enumerates some of the difficulties involved in fulfilling this important part of the commitment: "The sweetness that sugar provides is the most enjoyable, balances sour, salty and pungent flavor and provides volume; Salt is a preservative; and saturated fat contributes palatability. " How do the brands that have achieved it?
Although yogurt is not one of the preparations in which added sugar we consume the Spanish, Danone has been improving its products since 2016. "On the one hand we are making the way that bread made with salt: to reduce the amount of sugar added without sweetening, educating the Taste", begins Silvia Ramón-Cortés, director of communication of Danone. "and touching other things. For example, 1919 seems as tasty as an original or a Oikos [the dessert with Greek brand yogurt] because we have played with protein, ferments, fermentations, for texture, and sugarcane sugar, which sweetens the same with 30% less " , continues Carlos Bosch, director of media. Laura Gonzalez, head of Nestlé Nutrition, summarizes another of the strategies that are followed in their brands: "Change the location of sugar in the food, for example, putting it on the surface instead of inside. So, as is the first thing that comes into contact with the tongue, the perception of sweetness is the same with less quantity. "
labelling is not expected to change beyond the corresponding ingredient dance if any, or the proportion of the three elements pursued by the plan. That may be a problem with sugars: although the road map of the Food Security Agency (and WHO) recognizes that those to be reduced are additives and not naturally present in food (intrinsic), such as milk or fruit , details that the latter are found in unprocessed foods, without explaining that they are also in the processed that use the natural ingredient. And besides, it is not allowed to differentiate them in the nutritional table (only the total sugars appear: the sum of the intrinsic ones plus the additives).
Improve the menus with the earliest and the vegetables and vegetables linings; Prioritize lean meats and high oleic and olive sunflower oils; Increase the frequency of grilled or baked dishes without sauces; Reduce precooked fry; Include whole-grain bread, more fish a week and other foods that make up a healthy diet; incorporate reformulated products; Expand the Fresh offer... and the supermarkets? "Our mission is to detect the demand to modify the linear. Products with healthy nutritional claims are very successful, "explains Aurelio del Pino, spokesman for the Spanish supermarket chain association.