ISA joins forces in France and co- launches MENU (Mouvement pour l’Equilibre Nutritionnel)

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Paris, 29th July 2014: The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) is proud as one of the founding members to announce the launch of MENU in France, a joint initiative aimed at promoting balanced diets and healthy lifestyles.

It is estimated that more than 3,5 million people suffer from diabetes in France1. The French Ministry of Health has also recently confirmed that almost 15% of the French adult population is obese2 whilst around half of the French population declare they believe to have a weight problem3.

It is within this context that MENU – a not-for-profit association co-founded by CNAO, the French Federation of Obesity Associations, OBOBS, the French Obesity Observatory, together with the ISA – was created. This science-based coalition aims to inform French consumers on the benefits of low-calorie food and beverages, often enabled by low and no-calorie sweeteners, and their role as a preventative health measure in reducing the risk of diabetes, obesity and weight management, and providing options for a balanced diet.

This latest alliance between the health care community and the food industry reflects the recent rise in non-communicable diseases and the need to address them: in the last 12 years, the obesity rate in France has increased from 8,5% to 15%4, whilst that of diabetes has increased from 2,6% to 4.4% between 2000 and 20105.

Colette Shortt, Chair of the ISA, believes that public/private partnerships are vital in addressing Europe’s public health agenda. “A joint effort is very much needed if the obesity and diabetes rates are to decrease. Research shows us that calorie awareness amongst consumers is very low, and that there is a need to provide the right kind of information through different channels. We are therefore delighted to be co-launching this initiative in France with highly respected partners such as the CNAO and OBOBS, and MENU looks forward to welcoming more in the future.”

Low calorie sweeteners, which can be found in a variety of products including soft drinks, chewing gum, confectionery, yoghurts, dessert mixes and puddings are an excellent substitute with the benefit of enabling people to enjoy sweet tastes without the calories. Choosing low calorie varieties of products is an easy way of reducing calorific intake and achieving weight loss and weight maintenance. By providing sweetness without the calories, low calorie sweetened options can make a useful contribution to a healthy, calorie-controlled diet.

For more information about MENU, please click here.