March 10, 2016

The CSI Manager of Nutrition & Scientific Affairs, Dr. Flora Wang, conducted an oral presentation at the 2016 Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST) conference in Burnaby, BC on February 23, 2016. CIFST is the national association for food industry professionals, and its membership is comprised of scientists and technologists in industry, government, and academia. She shared research findings from CSI’s health professional survey on “Canadian health professionals’ understanding of sugar’s functional role in foods”. Only a small proportion of health professional respondents (ranging from 21% to 38%) were able to identify all the functional roles of sugar in three types of food products (baked goods, tomato-based sauces, and ready-to-eat breakfast cereals). The results suggest that proper rise of the dough in baked foods, surface porosity improvement in cereals and the browning process in tomato-based sauces were among the least known functions of sugar, whereas flavour was most frequently known for each. 

Based on these results, continuing education resources such as CSI’s new webinar “Beyond Sweetness: The Functional Roles of Sugar in Foods and the Challenges in Replacing/Reducing It” with expert speakers Dr. Douglas Goff (University of Guelph, ON) and Dr. Julian Cooper (University of Reading, UK) may be helpful to address knowledge gaps regarding sugar’s functional roles in foods beyond sweetness.