ILSI Southeast Asia Region
Bringing you monthly news and information on nutrition and food safety issues relevant to our region

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Nutrition, Food Safety and Health

 AUG/SEPT 2015





ILSI SEA Region will be holding a 1.5 day Symposium on Sugar and Sweeteners: Science, Innovation, and Consumer Guidance in Singapore on October 27 - 28, 2015. This seminar aims to examine the levels and sources of intakes of added sugars and sweeteners in Southeast Asia, as well as to discuss current scientific evidence on the health effects of sugar and sweetener consumption. The seminar will also take into account dietary guidelines on sugar consumption, consumer perceptions of sweeteners, and the opportunities and challenges in innovating products with reduced sugars. To register for the symposium, please click here.
Additionally, ILSI SEA Region Australasia Country Committee will be holding the Symposium on Sugar in the Diet: Is There a Sweet Spot, in Sydney, Australia on October 30, 2015. This 1 day seminar aims to understand the role of sugar in diet, consumption trends in Australia and New Zealand, and consumer perception on sugar. It will also discuss the gaps in understanding sugar and explore the results from current research.


World Health Organization Guidelines on Sugar Intakes for Adult and Children

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released their Guideline on Sugar Intakes for Adult and Children on March 5, 2015.  In the guideline, WHO strongly recommends that adults and children maintain a reduced intake of free sugars over the life course and lower their free sugars intake to less than 10% of total energy intake. Free sugars include monosaccharides and disaccharides that are added to foods and beverages as well as sugars that are naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. The guideline further suggests that intake of free sugars be reduced to less than 5% of total energy intake as a conditional recommendation.

This guideline is published as part of WHO’s effort to reach targets set by the Global Action Plan for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) 2013-2020 to halt the rise in diabetes and obesity. In addition, the sugars guideline contributes to the work of WHO’s Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, which aims to raise awareness and to play a role in addressing childhood obesity. The guideline can be downloaded HERE.

Low-Calorie Sweetener (LCS) Use is More Common Among Lower Disease-Risk Adults

A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition explored the correlation between LCS consumption and socio-demographic profiles of LCS consumers. Analysis of five cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2008 NHANES) revealed that LCS use was more common among populations with a lower burden of obesity and related chronic disease. The study authors identified a seeming paradox where the groups least likely to use LCS products are those most susceptible to obesity and diabetes. These groups are often adults with limited education and lower incomes. This work was sponsored by the ILSI North America Low-Calorie Sweeteners Committee.


Sweet Taste Perception May Be Partly Genetic 

A new research from Monell Chemical Senses Center and the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has examined the reasons why perception of sweetness varies among individuals. The study examined sweet taste perception among 1,900 young adult and adolescent twins and their non-twin siblings. Study participants rated the sweetness intensity of four different sweeteners: fructose, glucose, aspartame, and neohesperidine dihydrochalcone (NHDC). Results of the study demonstrated that about 30% of sweetness perception could be explained by genetics, with the rest attributed to environmental factors such as diet, aging, and hormonal factors. The study lead author Liang-Dar Hwang suggested that gradually reducing the sugar content in food and drinks was therefore a feasible strategy to reduce sugar consumption, but inborn differences in sweet taste could make the policy less effective for certain people. More details about the study can be found HERE

Aspartame: No Evidence of Acute Symptom Effect in Humans

recent double-blind randomized study examined the acute symptom effects of aspartame on 48 self-reported aspartame-sensitive individuals and 48 aspartame non-sensitive individuals. Participants underwent a comprehensive battery of psychological tests, biochemistry, and metabonomics. No evidence of acute adverse reactions to aspartame consumption was found. The study concluded that the research might provide reassurance to both regulatory bodies and the public since acute ingestion of aspartame does not have any detectable psychological or metabolic effects in humans. This study further supports previous confirmations of aspartame safety by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). More details of the study published by the Journal of PLoS ONE can be found HERE.

ILSI Book Chapter on Sodium Consumption in SEA

ILSI SEA Region has also recently authored a book chapter in Preventive Nutrition: The Comprehensive Guide for Health Professionals (5th Edition) titled "Sodium Consumption in Southeast Asia: an Updated Review of Intake Levels and Dietary Sources in Six Countries." More information on the book can be downloaded here.

Upcoming Events

October 22, 2015
Beyond Nutrition: Meal Solutions for Ageing Populations

October 27-28, 2015
Symposium on Sugar and Sweeteners: Science, Innovation, and Consumer Guidance

October 30, 2015
Seminar on Food Innovation/Renovation
Bangkok, Thailand

October 30, 2015
Seminar on Sugar in the Diet: Is There a Sweet Spot
Sydney, Australia

Seminar on Sweeteners: Uses and Safety
Hanoi, Vietnam


November 2015 (TBC)
Workshop on Food Composition Database
Bangkok, Thailand


December 2-3, 2015
ASEAN Workshop on Food Safety Risk Profiling
Jakarta, Indonesia


December 8-9, 2015 
2nd EU-ASEAN Food Safety Forum 
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


January 22-27, 2016
ILSI Annual Meeting 2016
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA


April 2016
ILSI SEA Region Annual Meeting 2016


1st/2nd Quarter, 2016 (TBC)
Workshop on Food Additives & Flavorings - Guidance on Principles for Use and Safety Assessment


September 12-14, 2016 
4th Asia Pacific International Conference on Food Safety &
7th Asian Conference on Food and Nutrition Safety

Penang, Malaysia

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Our mailing address is:
ILSI Southeast Asia Region
9 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-02
Singapore 238959


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