Everybody can be a Heart Hero!

The ISA joins the World Heart Federation in supporting World Heart Day 2019

Brussels, 26th September 2019: The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) proudly joins the World Heart Federation in supporting World Heart Day on 29th September and its related activities, as well as to raise awareness about the importance of acting now to live longer, better, heart-healthy lives.

Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s number one cause of death today:

  • Each year, 17.9 million people around the world die from cardiovascular disease, accounting for nearly half of all deaths caused by non-communicable diseases;
  • Cardiovascular disease is preventable: by controlling risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided;
  • World leaders are committed to reducing global mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25% by 2025.1

World Heart Day was created by the World Heart Federation and is celebrated every year on 29th September. It aims to raise awareness about the actions that individuals can take to prevent and control cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). World Heart Day 2019 is about empowering every one of us to act for a healthy heart and to make a promise to ourselves to live a heart-healthier life. Everyone can be a Heart Hero. Everyone can make a promise, to ourselves, our friends, our family, our patients, our employees. A promise for our heart, for their heart, a promise to cook and eat more healthily, to do more exercise and to encourage our children to be more active; a promise to our loved ones to say no to smoking or to help them to stop.2

A promise for small lifestyle changes towards heart-healthier lives

On the occasion of World Heart Day 2019, the ISA would point to the small steps that can be taken towards eating well and getting more active, which can help achieve a heart-healthier life, such as:

  • Turn to fruit and vegetables aiming to eat 5 portions a day; variety helps meet your target!
  • Limit foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar; food labels can help you choose wisely!
  • Cut down on sugary treats and beverages; low calorie sweetened food and drink alternatives have less sugar and fewer calories and can therefore be a useful option if you want to keep enjoying the pleasure of sweet taste.
  • Reduce alcohol intake and keep it within recommended guidelines.
  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity 5 times a week. Or more!
  • Remember: changes can be small and do not need to happen all at once, but the impact on your heart health can be huge.

Obesity and diabetes linked to higher CVD risk

Obesity is a major risk factor for heart diseases. Increased body weight leads to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and may affect blood pressure and blood lipid levels.3 Similarly, people with diabetes are 2-3 times more likely to have cardiovascular disease.4

Low calorie sweeteners, as alternatives to sugars, have a beneficial role to play when used in place of sugar and as part of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, including for people at risk of heart disease. Indeed, consumption of low calorie sweeteners causes a lower rise of blood glucose levels compared to sugars.5 They can therefore offer a significant aid to people with diabetes who need to manage their carbohydrate intake6 but who want to still be able to enjoy sweet-tasting food and drinks, with less sugar and fewer calories. Low calorie sweeteners can, in turn, help reduce the total amount of calories people consume and thereby help manage their weight.7 Low calorie sweeteners are also tooth-friendly ingredients and therefore do not contribute to tooth decay.5

Engage in the conversation on social media about World Heart Day 2019 and share the above information and tips by using #WorldHeartDay.

  1. https://www.who.int/nmh/publications/ncd-action-plan/en/
  2. https://www.world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day
  3. World Heart Federation. Factsheet: Diet, overweight and obesity. Published 30 May 2017. Available at: https://www.world-heart-federation.org/resources/diet-overweight-obesity/
  4. World Heart Federation. A roadmap on the prevention of cardiovascular disease among people living with diabetes. Global Heart 2019 Sep 2; 14(3): 215-240
  5. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that: “Consumption of foods/drinks containing intense sweeteners instead of sugar induces a lower blood glucose rise after their consumption compared to sugar-containing foods/drinks” and that: “Consumption of foods/drinks containing intense sweeteners instead of sugar contributes to the maintenance of tooth mineralisation”. EFSA Scientific opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to intense sweeteners. EFSA 2011 Journal 9(6): 2229, and 9(4): 2076
  6. Diabetes UK. The use of low or no calorie sweeteners. Position Statement (Updated December 2018). Available at: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/professionals/position-statements-reports/food-nutrition-lifestyle/use-o…
  7. Rogers PJ, Hogenkamp PS, de Graaf C, et al. Does low-energy sweetener consumption affect energy intake and body weight? A systematic review, including meta-analyses, of the evidence from human and animal studies. Int J Obes 2016; 40(3): 381-94.