“Low sugar” labels on beverages are lies

As people become more health conscious, many of us opt for healthier options when doing our shopping. We choose “low sugar” and “zero sugar” options to try to cut down our sugar intake, however, studies show that these labels are fallacious claims.

sugar-y drinks

The Consumer Council tested 51 beverages with sweeteners with zero calories, however the results of the research showed that many samples were still rich in sugar despite the addition of sweeteners. The beverages tested included 18 non-alcohol carbonated drinks, 16 sports and energy drinks and 17 other drinks ranging from fruit juices, yoghurt drinks and flavored bottled water. The Council cross checked the sugar contents of the samples against its nutrition labels and tested the amount of sweeteners it contained.

sugar!

Samples do not comply with “low sugar” regulations!

Food and Drugs (Composition and labelling) Regulations states that products with “low sugar” or “zero sugar” should not contain more than 0.5g -5g of free sugar per 100ml. However, The Council’s research shows that up to 36 samples abused this guideline, with sugar ranging to 14g per 100ml, more than double than what was stated in the regulation.

Two drinks easily takes us over the sugar limit!

The recommended daily intake for sugar is 50g, according to the World Health Organization, however, 40% of the samples had nearly half the level of recommended daily sugar intake in just one can.

Issue of laws and legalities

  • According to the Sweeteners in Food Regulations in Hong Kong, food manufacturers and food importers can only use or sell food products using 10 permitted sweeteners, however there is no regulation on the amount of different sweeteners used.
  • Some sweeteners detected in some samples did not match with nutrition labels.
  • Some samples lacked identification of sweeteners as required by the law.

Health risks:

Sweeteners are a “sugar substitute 100x sweeter than sucrose” that is neither digested nor absorbed by the body, according to Hong Kong Consumer Council. 4 types of sweeteners were tested in this study, including acesulfame potassium/ACE-K, aspartame, sucralose and steviol glycosides. Although it has no calories and does not affect blood glucose levels, research shows that it still poses its own health risks.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer conducted a study of over 400, 000 individuals and found that people who consumed sweetened beverages more frequently faced a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. Those with a regular consumption of at least 2 cans of soft drinks with sweeteners per day had a 26% higher mortality rate than those who drink less than one can per month.

Advise:

  • Contrary to popular belief, artificially sweetened beverages don’t help your weight loss journey. Studies revealed that they increase sweet cravings and make people desire sweeter foods.
  • Sports and energy drinks have connotations to health and fitness brand. However, this study found that many sports and energy drinks contained sweeteners irrespective of natural sugar contents. Consider diluting energy drinks with water and refrain from drinking excessively.
  • Beware of caffeine and other stimulants in your drinks!

1Source Rates Common Body Lotion Products

Summer is officially over in the northern hemisphere. As we near cooler days and shorter evenings, we start stocking up moisturizers and body lotions to protect our skin against harsh weather. However, with so many products lining supermarket shelves, how to choose the most suitable products?

20201010 at a popular chain store in HK

We got you! Our team recently compiled a list of common body lotion products found in local drug stores and supermarkets in Hong Kong. From budget prices to high end brands, 1Source has analyzed the product contents through its system and came up with a Potential Risk Index and short description for each product.

Body Lotions we analyzed:

Popular products in Hong KongPotential Risk Index®
Cerave Itch Relief Moisturizing Cream10
Chloe Love Story Body Lotion10
Collagen by Watsons Shea Butter Softening Body Lotion10
Nivea Body Moisturising Mousse10
Philosophy Living Grace Firming Body Emulsion10
The Body Shop Vegan British Rose Body Yoghurt10
Aesop Protective Body Lotion SPF506
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Stress Relief Lotion 6
Johnsons Body Care Lotion6
Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair6
QV Skin Lotion Repair Skin6
Cerave Moisturising Lotion For Dry to Very Dry Skin5
Locccitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Cream5
Nivea Intensive moisture Body Milk 48H5
Crabtree Evelyn Gardeners Body Lotion New4
Derma 365 Gentle Lotion4
Kundal Body Lotion4
Cetaphil Pro Ad Derma Skin Restoring Moisturizer3
Physiogel Daily Moisture Therapy Body Lotion3

QV Skin Lotion Repair Skin

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 6

Comments:

  • Contains methylparaben , which is proven to be carcinogenic when bound to human estrogen receptor

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Stress Relief Lotion (Lavender, Chamomile, Ylang- Ylang)

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Stress Relief Lotion, With Lavender, Chamomile + Ylang-Ylang 艾惟諾 天然薰衣草舒緩保濕乳

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 6

Comments:

  • Contains benzyl alcohol which is found to be strongly linkedin to the incidence of brain damage among infants

Kundal Honey & Macadamia Body Lotion, Baby Powder

Kundal Honey & Macadamia Body Lotion, Baby Powder 蜂蜜堅果保濕潤膚乳 爽身粉香

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 4

Derma365 Gentle Lotion, Suitable For Eczema, Dry And Itchy Skin

Derma365 Gentle Lotion, Suitable For Eczema, Dry And Itchy Skin

Potential Health Index:

potential risk index 4

Comments:


Cetaphil PRO AD Derma Body Skin Restoring Moisturizer

Cetaphil PRO AD Derma Body Skin Restoring Moisturizer 舒特膚 倍加護潤膚霜

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 3

Comments: No ingredients rated above 4


Physiogel DAILY MOISTURE THERAPY BODY LOTION

Physiogel DAILY MOISTURE THERAPY BODY LOTION

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 3

Comments: No ingredient above rating 4


Cerave Moisturizing Lotion For Dry To Very Dry Skin

Cerave Moisturising Lotion For Dry To Very Dry Skin

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 5

Comments:

  • Contains phenoxyethanol, a potential irritant to skin and banned in all sunscreen products from January 1 2020 by the Republic of Palau to protect its coral reefs and UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Contains methylparaben , which is proven to be carcinogenic when bound to human estrogen receptor

Cerave Itch Relief Moisturizing Cream

Cerave Itch Relief Moisturizing Cream

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 10

Comments:


Nivea Intensive Moisture Body Milk 48H

Nivea Intensive Moisture Body Milk 48H

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 5

Comments:


Nivea Body Moisturising Mousse Fresh Cucumber & Matcha Tea Fragrance 48H

Nivea Body Moisturising Mousse Fresh Cucumber & Matcha Tea Fragrance 48H

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 10

Comments:

  • Contains phenoxyethanol, a potential irritant to skin and banned in all sunscreen products from January 1 2020 by the Republic of Palau to protect its coral reefs and UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Contains Butane which is on the Canada Ingredient Hotlist of ingredients prohibited for use in cosmetic products in 2019

Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Body Lotion

Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Body Lotion

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 6

Comments:

  • Contains phenoxyethanol, a potential irritant to skin and banned in all sunscreen products from January 1 2020 by the Republic of Palau to protect its coral reefs and UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Contains methylparaben , which is proven to be carcinogenic when bound to human estrogen receptor

Johnson’s Body Care Aroma Milk, Rose & Jasmine

Johnson'S Body Care Aroma Milk, Rose & Jasmine エクストラケア アロマローション

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 6

Chloé Love Story Body Lotion

Chloé Love Story Body Lotion

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 10

Comments:

  • Contains colorant red4, which is prohibited in cosmetic products according to EU CosIng Annex II in 2017 and 2018
  • Contains oxybenzone, functions as physical sunscreen that is banned in 2018 for commercial uses as it is found to be a serious water contaminant to coral reefs under Hawaii Senate Bill 2571
  • Oxybenzone may cause skin irritation and allergic skin reaction
  • Contains Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, which functions as sunscreen and is found to behave as an endocrine disrupter

Aesop Protective Body Lotion SPF50

Aesop Protective Body Lotion SPF50

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 6

Comments:

  • Contains octocrylene, which functions as a chemical filter and is found to be a strong allergen leading to contact dermatitis in children and mostly photoallergic contact dermatitis in adults

Philosophy Living Grace Firming Body Emulsion

Philosophy Living Grace Firming Body Emulsion

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 10

Comments:


Collagen By Watsons Shea Butter Softening Body Lotion

Collagen By Watsons Shea Butter Softening Body Lotion

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 10

Comments:


L’Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Cream

L'Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Cream

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 5

Comments:

Contains phenoxyethanol, a potential irritant to skin and banned in all sunscreen products from January 1 2020 by the Republic of Palau to protect its coral reefs and UNESCO World Heritage Site


Crabtree & Evelyn GARDENERS BODY LOTION (New)

Crabtree & Evelyn GARDENERS BODY LOTION (New)

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 4

Comments:


The Body Shop Vegan British Rose Body Yogurt

The Body Shop Vegan British Rose Body Yogurt

Potential Risk Index:

potential risk index 10

Comments:

  • Contains colorant Red 4 which is prohibited in cosmetic products according to the EU CosIng Annex II 2017 and 2018

Here is what we learnt about body lotions:

  • A product may be popular or has a good reputation but contain unsafe ingredients within certain products
  • Higher pricing does not guarantee products with safer ingredients
  • Just because a product is common and you see it everywhere does not mean all its ingredients are safe

Just because a brand is popular or has a good reputation doesn’t mean that all its products are completely safe. This is because ingredients within a product varies among different products, hence the importance of using an ingredient analyzer site to scan product ingredients to ensure the safety of you and your family.

Caffeine: How Much Should You Be Drinking?

Do you find yourself reaching out for a cup of coffee to kick start your day? Do you stock up energy drinks and soft drinks with high caffeine levels to pull an all nighter for college exams? Do you follow it up with high caffeinated beverages throughout the day to stay sharp?

80% of the world’s population consumes at least one caffeinated product daily, and this number increases to 90% for adults in North America. Businesses seized the opportunity to churn out energy drinks, traditional coffee and soft drinks laden with caffeine, but what is caffeine and why is it such an indispensable part of our daily lives?

How does caffeine affect you?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in coffee, tea, and cacao plants, kola nuts and guarana berries. Caffeine stimulates the the brain and nervous system and keeps us awake by binding with adenosine receptors without activating them. Fun fact, adenosine receptors the brain and is the culprit of making us feel tired.

Daily dose of caffeine!

How much caffeine should you take?

According to the studies at the U.S Food & Drug Administration (FDA), caffeine can be part of a healthy diet for most people, but too much caffeine may pose dangerous effects to our health. The FDA recommends a maximum intake of 400 milligrams a day (that’s about four or five cups of coffee).

However, the amount of caffeine in beverages vary depending on the type of beans used to how the product was processed. As a general rule of thumb, the FDA compiled a rough list of reference on caffeine content in selected beverages.

  • 12 ounce can of caffeinated soft drink: 30-40mg
  • 8 ounce green or black tea: 30-50mg
  • 8 ounce coffee: 80-100mg
  • Caffeine in energy drinks per 8 ounces: Ranges from 40-250mg

FDA listed common symptoms of overconsuming coffee as :

  • insomnia
  • jitters
  • anxiousness
  • fast heart rate
  • upset stomach
  • nausea
  • headache
  • a feeling of unhappiness (dysphoria)

1Source decided to take a closer look at popular caffeinated beverages consumed by the public and empower consumers by listing out their caffeine content. Check out Caffeine Informer to find out the caffeine content in your fancy cup of coffee.

Starbucks Coffee

Starbucks coffees are ultra strong, with up to 270mg of caffeine packed into a single small cup. 2 cups and we would be over our daily limit.

McDonalds Coffee

A 12 ounce cup of McDonalds coffee contains 109mg of caffeine. Handy if you prefer something to sip on throughout the day!

Latte

A shot of espresso contains up to 71mg of caffeine. These pack a punch!

Black Tea

Contrary to popular belief, not all teas lulls us to sleep. Black tea packs about 67mg of caffeine, less than coffee or a can of Red Bull.

Red Bull

A single can of red bull contains 80mg of caffeine, which is less than a standard cup of coffee and roughly one third of the caffeine level in a 12 ounce Starbucks according to Business Insider.

Coca Cola

Caffeine in coke? What?

A can of coke contains 34mg of caffeine. Do not be fooled by the low amount, drink a few of these in a day and it all adds up!

Why You Should Avoid Protein Supplements

The popularity of protein supplements have skyrocketed over the past few years. We’ve seen the industry shift from focusing on the fitness industry to penetrating the “ordinary people” market. Our generation places a heavy emphasis on health, and companies feed into this narrative by advertising their products as ” metabolism booster”, ” organic” and ” all natural” to cater to the larger market.

According to BBC News, Wing-Co, a chocolate-flavoured high-protein drink aimed as a snack alternative for men in their 30s and 40s who “aren’t sucked in by lots of marketing rubbish“, while Upbeat drinks were promoted as a snack replacement for “post-pregnancy mums and vegetarians”. Many companies and brands have since jumped on the bandwagon to make a quick buck.

Why you should be wary of protein supplements?

Protein supplements can look pretty!

According to the National Center for Health Research, the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Furthermore, there is no requirement that supplements should be tested to make sure they’re contents are the same as what is printed our on the ingredient label.

The Clean Label Project: Heavy metals and BPA in protein supplements

The Clean Label Project, a non profit organization, conducted an independent study on the contents of protein shakes in 53 leading brands. Their study revealed that top-selling nutritional protein powder supplement products contained heavy metals and BPA. Another shocking result from the study showed that plant-based protein powders contain higher levels of heavy metals compared to non-plant-based protein supplements.

Vanilla protein powder? YUM.

Results from the independent study as published on their page:

  • Approximately 75% protein powders contained lead. The laboratory discovered that the plant-based protein powders each contained on average twice the amount of lead per serving of other products.
  • In addition to lead, the plant-based protein powders contained mercury, cadmium and arsenic, in several cases above health-based guidelines.
  • 55% of protein powders tested had measurable levels of BPA, a known endocrine disruptor.
  • Certified organic products averaged twice as much heavy metals.
  • 10% of whey-based protein powders contained lead levels above health guidelines
  • 28 out of 134 of the protein powders contained twice the regulatory limit (3 micrograms) of BPA

Plant based protein powders were theoreticized to contain twice as much heavy metals due to the possibility of plants ingredients being grown and sourced from contaminated soil with high levels of heavy metals.

Plant based products

Other risks:

  • Milk based protein supplements may cause digestive stress to those with dairy allergies or who are lactose intolerant
  • May be high in sugar and calories, (as much as 23g per scoop), causing weight gain and spike in blood sugar levels
  • Our meals provide us with sufficient protein

The global protein supplement market size was USD 17.55 billion in 2019. With more health conscious people driving up dietary supplements sales, the market is project to expand even more. However, the lack of regulation by the FDA gives companies legal room to bypass health and safety regulations is concerning. It is imperative for us to advocate for ingredient transparency. 1Source aims to empower consumers with knowledge to make smarter purchasing decisions for the health and safety of the public.

The Dark Side of Maybelline’s Superstay Matte Lipstick

Lipsticks have evolved over decades and now it’s become an irreplaceable part of our beauty routine, be it to feel pretty or to condition lips and prevent it from chapping. Personally, I’ve never really used lipstick due to the fact that I was worried about the chemicals in lipsticks getting into my body during a meal or when I lick my lips.

I came across raving reviews and shiny posters advertising Maybelline’s Superstay Matte Lipstick which had gained a cult like following from women from all walks of life. Many claimed they only had to touch up their lips once a day and that it remained on their lips for a very long time. Was this it? Is this product the solution for not ingesting as much lipstick?

Maybeline’s Superstay matte lipstick features:

  • Stays on for 16+ hours
  • Does not smudge on masks

I decided to verify this product myself and vlogged myself using the product for a few days. I was still iffy about putting it on my lips so I swatched in on my arm. True to its claim, it stayed on for more than 5 days through various showers and washes. In fact, it stayed on so long and effectively that a Superstay remover was needed specifically to remove the product. Using common make up removers just doesn’t cut it. Check out this video snippet featuring 1Source’s resident pharmaceutical chemist, to learn more!

Snippet of video:

Why does this specific brand stay on for so long?

C30-45 Alkyldimethylsilyl Polypropylsilsesquioxane is a long, synthetic hydrocarbon chain specially designed to replicate wax for long lasting lipstick.

Why does only a special type of make up remover work?

The longer the hydrocarbon chain, the more non-polar a compound is. As C30-45 Alkyldimethylsilyl Polypropylsilsesquioxane is a fairly long compound, it requires a similarly long hydrocarbon solvent, such as Octyldodecanol to dissolve or remove it. Common make-up wipes / removers tend to consist of short hydrocarbon chains, like ethanol, which are ineffective.

A closer look at ingredient components:

I use ingredient analyzers to vet the safety of my products and a quick search on the 1Source database yielded a detailed list of ingredients in the product. I was shocked to learn that a number of products were rated 7 and above, meaning toxic if ingested and swallowed on the Potential Risk Index, and that up to two ingredients were banned in some countries.

Ingredients banned in certain parts of the world:

Colorant: Red 22 Lake; CI 45380

Colorants are pigments or dyes that are added in order to change or enhance the color. This particular colorant, Red 22 Lake, has been prohibited by the European Commission for use in cosmetic products, particularly hair dye products. *For the sake of consumer safety, 1Source interprets and extends this to all cosmetic applications.

PRI for Phenoxyethanol

Preservative: Phenoxyethanol

Infamous in the cosmetic industry for being a preservative and disinfectant, the overall rating for phenoxyethanol is 4, however it is very damaging towards aquatic life, hence earning it a 10 in environment.

This ingredient, also found in Kylie Skin, is an environmental pollutant chemical toxic to sea creatures. The Republic of Palau has since issued a new law that banned sunscreen products containing phenoxyethanol since January 2020.

Seeing as how certain ingredients have a high rating on the Potential Risk Index, I feel uneasy about using this line of lipsticks. Yes, its long lasting and anti smudge features are attractive, meaning less of it will be consumed, however, ingredients are banned for a reason, and personally, I would not want them in my body at all.