Do you know why there is so much whoo haa about "Added Sugars?", I didn't. Let me explain.

For context:  We manufacture gut-loving kombucha and water kefir designed for the social adult because we wanted something good to drink whilst socialising. By "good", we mean not harmful to those with health issues.

I have been stoushing with the Australian Food Authority, specifically the 5 star heath rating dudes, because when I use the calculator, our products don't rate as well as I think they should and here's why - fermented products add sugar to kick off the fermentation process. By adding sugar, our products are lumped into the same category as traditional soft drinks. Bad. No good. And somewhat misleading.

By definition, added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods and beverages during processing. These sugars are not naturally occurring in the food or drink, but are added to enhance flavour or texture. Examples of added sugars include white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, and molasses. Consuming too much-added sugar can contribute to weight gain, obesity, and other health problems. Limiting added sugar intake and choosing foods and beverages that are naturally sweetened or low in added sugars is recommended, as we know.

What this definition, (which informs how many health stars a product gets), fails to recognise is what happens to these sugars during the process. Annoying right?!

Well, it is to Dark Forest Beverages who want to be on offer to those who need us, when and where they need us. Anywhoo, I now understand what the problem is. It lies in the concept of a food matrix.

A food matrix refers to a food's physical and chemical structure, including its composition, texture, and microstructure. The food matrix can affect how nutrients are absorbed and metabolised by the body. For example, the matrix of a fruit or vegetable can affect the bioavailability of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. The food matrix is an important consideration when evaluating the nutritional value of foods and designing diets to meet specific health goals. For example, Tim Spector , of the Zoe research group, explains if you drink orange juice instead of eating the whole orange, you don't get the nutritional benefit of all that is in the food matrix of an orange - fiber, potassium and flavonoids, you get the juice which is essentially sugar. Instead, you should eat the whole orange. Tim thinks orange juice should come with a health warning!

Back to traditionally brewed kombucha and water kefir. We flavour with whole fruit. No juice, synthetic.... whole fruit - skin with microbes etc. Why is this important? Because, like eating the entire orange, you get everything of value contained in the fruit. Mixed with all the great G-acids of a fermented organic tea, and your gut loves me. Now if you have been a client for a while, you know that sometimes you will get different flavour profiles from one batch to another, but that is because you are drinking raw and wild drinks made for you, not the shelf.

I will keep fighting for a better health star rating because it is important to be informed when buying foods you will consume. Just know that you are getting the whole food matrix and no added sugar! x

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