Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies was asked to provide a scientific opinion on a list of health claims pursuant to Article 13 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. This opinion addresses the scientific substantiation of health claims in relation to fructose and reduction of post-prandial glycaemic responses. The scientific substantiation is based on the information provided by the Member States in the consolidated list of Article 13 health claims and references that EFSA has received from Member States or directly from stakeholders.
The food constituent that is the subject of the health claim is fructose. From the information provided, the Panel assumes that fructose should replace sucrose or glucose in foods or beverages in order to obtain the claimed effect. The Panel considers that fructose, and the food constituents which fructose should replace in foods or beverages in order to obtain the claimed effect, sucrose and glucose, are sufficiently characterised.
The claimed effect is “carbohydrate metabolism and insulin sensitivity”. The Panel assumes that the target population is individuals who wish to reduce their post-prandial glycaemic responses. In the context of the proposed wordings and the references provided, the Panel assumes that the claimed effect refers to the reduction of post-prandial glycaemic responses. The Panel considers that reduction of post-prandial glycaemic responses (as long as post-prandial insulinaemic responses are not disproportionally increased) may be a beneficial physiological effect.
In weighing the evidence, the Panel took into account that the few intervention studies in healthy and type 2 diabetic subjects provided showed a consistent significant reduction in post-prandial glycaemic responses, without disproportionally increasing post-prandial insulinaemic responses, following fructose consumption in foods or beverages compared with sucrose and glucose, and that the mechanism by which fructose (in place of sucrose or glucose) in food or beverages could exert the claimed effect is well established.
On the basis of the data presented, the Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the consumption of fructose in place of sucrose or glucose in foods or beverages and reduction of post-prandial glycaemic responses.
The Panel considers that in order to bear the claim, glucose or sucrose should be replaced by fructose in sugar sweetened foods or beverages. The target population is individuals who wish to reduce their post-prandial glycaemic responses. The Panel notes that high intakes of fructose may lead to metabolic complications such as dyslipidaemia, insulin resistance and increased visceral adiposity.