Category Archives: sugar

Current obesity epidemic may be result of childhood sugar intake decades ago

Bad habits have long tails it seems.

Current obesity rates in adults in the United States could be the result of dietary changes that took place decades ago, according to a new study published by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

“While most public health studies focus on current behaviors and diets, we took a novel approach and looked at how the diets we consumed in our childhood affect obesity levels now that we are adults,” said Alex Bentley, head of UT’s Department of Anthropology and lead researcher of the study, which was published in Economics and Human Biology.

photo of four assorted color beverages

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Consumption of excess sugar, particularly in sugar-sweetened beverages, is a known contributor to both childhood and adult obesity. Many population health studies have identified sugar as a major factor in the obesity epidemic. One problem with this theory, however, has been that sugar consumption in the US began to decline in the late 1990s while obesity rates continued to rise well into the 2010s.

That increase shows in the numbers: By 2016, nearly 40 percent of all adults in the US–a little over 93 million people–were affected by obesity. In Tennessee alone, the adult obesity rate more than tripled, from about 11 percent in 1990 to almost 35 percent in 2016. By 2017, however, obesity in Tennessee had fallen 2 percent from the previous year.

If high-sugar diets in childhood have long-lasting effects, the changes we see now in adult obesity rates may have started with diets decades ago, when those adults were children.

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Everything you wanted to know about Sugars …

One of the most helpful facts I ever learned about sugars and reading ingredients notices is that there are four grams of sugar in a teaspoon. So, when you read 20 grams of sugar, you can visualize five teaspoons full.

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Sugar is Sugar – Tufts

Like you, I hope, I am working on eating intelligently. That means cutting back on the junk foods and nutrients that might taste great, but carry lots of empty calories or other elements that mess up my system in one way or another.

Here is Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter on that great bugaboo – sugar.

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In addition to those white crystals in your sugar bowl, added sugars come in many forms, including corn syrup, honey, molasses, maple syrup, brown sugar, agave syrup, fruit juice concentrates, and evaporated cane juice. Most forms of sugars are chemically similar, so switching from one kind of sugar to another won’t make a huge difference in terms of your health. The key is to cut back on sweet treats in general. It’s estimated that 75 percent of packaged foods sold in the U.S. contain added sugars. If you see a sweetener listed as one of the first three ingredients in a packaged food, it likely contains a significant amount of added sugar.

Nearly half of added sugars that people consume are in the form of sugar sweetened beverages, especially soft drinks, but also fruit drinks, coffee, tea, and sports and energy drinks. Other major sources of added sugars include sweets and snacks such as candy, ice cream, cookies, granola bars, flavored yogurts, cake, and doughnuts. People also get a significant amount of added sugars from less obvious sources, such as pasta sauces, salad dressings, ketchup, barbecue sauces, breakfast cereals, breads, baked beans, and many other packaged foods.

Spotting Added Sugars in Packaged Foods

The American Heart Association recommends woman and children limit intake of added sugars to 6 teaspoons or less a day, and men aim for less than 9 teaspoons. But food labels list sugar in grams! To figure out roughly how many teaspoons of sugar are in a packaged food, divide the number of grams by 4.

Added sugars go by many names on package labels, but the body metabolizes them all in essentially the same way. Check ingredient lists for:

  • Sugar (white granulated sugar, brown sugar, beet sugar, raw sugar, sugar cane juice)
  • Other common names for sugars: (cane juice, caramel, corn sweetener, fruit juice/fruit juice concentrate, honey, molasses
  • Nectar (agave nectar, peach nectar, fruit nectar)
  • Syrup (corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, carob syrup, maple syrup, malt syrup)
  • Words ending in “-ose” (including sucrose, dextrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, lactose, galactose, saccharose, or mannose)
  • Foreign or unusual names for sugars (demerara, muscovado, panela/raspadora, panocha/penuche, sweet sorghum, treacle)

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Raw sugar or white sugar? – Tufts

I must confess that given the alternative, I will choose the raw sugar over white. Nice to learn how they compare according to this senior scientist at Tufts.

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A. “Sugar is sugar,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, senior scientist at the HNRCA and executive editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. “All sugar is made by extracting juice from sugar beet or sugar cane plants, then cleaning, crystallizing, and removing molasses. The final product may differ in crystal size or molasses content, but, chemically and nutritionally, all of these sugars are the same. When it comes to digestion and metabolism, your body cannot tell the difference between raw sugar, white sugar, and any other kind of sugar.”

“Where raw and white sugar differ is in processing and flavor. Producing white sugar takes more steps (and several chemicals like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and calcium hydroxide) to absorb impurities and prevent browning. Raw sugars like cane, turbinado, and demerara are less processed, and the molasses gives them a brown color and a richer taste. Muscovado sugar (which is dark, sticky, and good for barbecue sauce and marinades) is a minimally-processed, unrefined cane sugar.”

“While raw sugar may be a bit more environmentally friendly, and some people prefer the taste, it is associated with the same negative health effects as any other sweetener.”

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Sweetened drinks more risky than other sugary foods for diabetes – Study

Public health strategies to cut sweetened drink consumption could be useful, say researchers.

The findings suggest that fruit and other foods containing fructose seem to have no harmful effect on blood glucose levels, while sweetened drinks and some other foods that add excess “nutrient poor” energy to diets may have harmful effects.

four champagne flutes with assorted color liquids

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“These findings might help guide recommendations on important food sources of fructose in the prevention and management of diabetes,” said Dr. John Sievenpiper, the study’s lead author and a researcher in the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada. “But the level of evidence is low and more high quality studies are needed.”

The role of sugars in the development of diabetes and heart disease attracts widespread debate and increasing evidence suggests that fructose could be particularly harmful to health.

Fructose occurs naturally in a range of foods, including whole fruits and vegetables, natural fruit juices and honey. It is also added to foods, such as soft drinks, breakfast cereals, baked goods, sweets, and desserts as ‘free sugars’.

Current dietary guidelines recommend reducing free sugars, especially fructose from sweetened beverages, but it is unclear whether this holds for all food sources of these sugars. Continue reading

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How to age more slowly

Here is further information on the goal and idea of living a long life with a functioning brain throughout.

Tony

True Strange News

Centenarians reach age 100 because they age more slowly. Genetics play a part in resisting damage that accumulatesover time, but there are things anyone can do to slow the aging process and improve health.

According to Israeli physician Nir Barzilai of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York:

“There is no pattern. The usual recommendations for a healthy life — not smoking, not drinking, plenty of exercise, a well-balanced diet, keeping your weight down — they apply to us average people. But not to them. Centenarians are in a class of their own.” …

“Today’s changes in lifestyle do in fact contribute to whether someone dies at the age of 85 or before age 75.

But in order to reach the age of 100, you need a special genetic make-up. These people age differently. Slower. They end up dying of the same diseases…

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Filed under aging, aging brain, aging myths, blood sugar, living longer, longevity, successful aging, sugar, sugary soft drinks

Are sugary drink interventions cutting consumption?

I have written repeatedly about the ill effects of soft drinks, both sugary and diet, on our bodies. You can check out my Page – What’s wrong with soft drinks? for chapter and verse. So this item in Medical News Today citing efforts to curb sugary drink consumption caught my eye.

An evaluation of efforts designed to reduce how many sugary drinks we consume shows some success in changing younger people’s habits but warns they cannot be the only way to cut consumption.

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Nutritionists at the University of Leeds have carried out the first comprehensive review of interventions to reduce sugary drinks consumption. The team analyzed 40 studies with 16,500 participants across three age groups: children, teenagers and adults.

Their study, published in the Obesity Reviews journal, found that children participating in these programs reduced their sugary drink intake by around 30%, removing nearly 2.5 teaspoons of sugar from a child’s average intake of 16 teaspoons per day.

Interventions aimed at teenagers saw sugary drink consumption reduced by nearly 10%. However, there was almost no measurable change in adults participating in these programs. Continue reading

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Filed under childhood obesity, diabetes, obesity, prediabetes, sugar, sugary soda, sugary soft drinks, Type 2 diabetes

Your muscles can ‘taste’ sugar – Study

As a guy with a highly developed sweet tooth, I have to say I was not surprised at the findings in this study.

It’s obvious that the taste buds on the tongue can detect sugar. And after a meal, beta cells in the pancreas sense rising blood glucose and release the hormone insulin—which helps the sugar enter cells, where it can be used by the body for energy.

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Now researchers at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute have uncovered an unexpected mechanism of glucose sensing in skeletal muscles that contributes to the body’s overall regulation of blood sugar levels. Continue reading

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Good health in simple steps – NIA

Living a healthy life is simple but not easy. This infographic from the National Institute on Aging makes it very clear.

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, sugar, sugary soft drinks, Weight, weight control, whole grains

Not so sweet facts about sugars – AHA

Two days ago I published a super infographic on How to beat your sugar addiction. You can check it out by clicking the link.

Sugars in your diet can be naturally occurring or added. Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose). Added sugars are sugars and syrups put in foods during preparation or processing, or added at the table.

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Foods Containing Added Sugars

The major sources of added sugars are regular soft drinks, sugars, candy, cakes, cookies, pies and fruit drinks (fruitades and fruit punch); dairy desserts and milk products (ice cream, sweetened yogurt and sweetened milk); and other grains (cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles).

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How to beat your sugar addiction – Infographic

Sweets for the sweet sounds better than it really is. I think to a greater or lesser extent, people of my generation have something of a sugar addiction. Unfortunately, we are hard-wired to like sweet tastes. The fact that food purveyors are aware of this can sometimes create a problem.

If you get nothing else from this post, remember, 4 grams of sugar equals one teaspoonful. So, all you need to do is divide by four and you can see how many teaspoons full sugar you are getting in those soft drinks, pastries, etc.

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Tony

Source: https://www.budgetdirect.com.au/blog/beat-sugar-addiction.html

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7 Foods That Might Be Making You Anxious

Some useful ideas here if you are looking to eat healthy.

Please check out my Page – What’s wrong with soft drinks? for more on them.

french-fries

Tony

Our Better Health

A lifelong friend of mine suffered from debilitating anxiety for years. It was hard to watch her have panic attacks, knowing that people did not understand her behavior. Although anxiety disorders are the most common mental health illness in the United States, only about one-third of affected individuals receive some form of treatment.

From a young age, I read books every chance I got. Taking a particular interest in the human brain, it was only natural that I would go on to study psychology and neuroscience at a university. Focusing on both mental health and nutrition, I quickly realized how one’s diet influenced brain health and overall well-being  — my attention shifted and this connection has been the focal point of my research ever since.

Anxiety and food — what’s the connection?

Anxiety disorders are complex and although various factors play a role, chemical imbalances within the brain cannot be…

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Top 11 Most Common Nutrition Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Eating healthy takes a lot of information. Here are some very useful looking tips.

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Tony

Our Better Health

Nutrition is full of misinformation.

Everyone seems to “know” what is right, most often based on zero evidence.

Here are the top 11 most common nutrition mistakes that people keep repeating.

1. Drinking Fruit Juice

Fruit juice isn’t always what it seems to be.

It is often little more than water mixed with sugar and some kind of fruit concentrate.

In many cases, there isn’t any actual fruit in there, just chemicals that taste like fruit.

But even IF you’re drinking real, 100% fruit juice, it is still a bad idea.

That’s because fruit juices like orange juice have just about the same amount of sugar as Coca Cola and Pepsi!

Fruit juice is like fruit, except with all the good stuff removed.

There is no fiber, no chewing resistance and nothing to stop you from downing massive amounts of sugar.

While whole fruits take a long time to eat…

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Reduce The Damaging Effects Of Sugar On Your Brain

I have written about sugar a number of times. To read further check out:

The war on sugar

Soft drink makers again pushing sugar  WSJ

The sugar addiction cycle – Infographic

How much sugar is in that? Infographic

drinking a glass of sugar

Push those Omega 3’s.

Tony

Our Better Health

9TH MAY 2016    MINA DEAN

In 2014 North Americans consumed an average of about 27 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup each.

Fructose consumption can damage hundreds of genes.

But the good news is that DHA — an omega 3 fatty acid — can reverse this damage, scientists have discovered.

Fructose is a sugar commonly found in the Western diet.

Most of the fructose in the American diet comes from high-fructose corn syrup or is consumed in sweetened drinks, syrups, honey and desserts.

According to the Department of Agriculture, in 2014 each American consumed about 27 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup.

In addition, most baby food and fruit contains fructose.

However, the absorption of the fruit sugar is mostly slowed down by the fibre in fruit.

On top of that there are other healthy components found in fruit which are important for the body and the brain.

Our brain cell membranes…

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The war on sugar

Really interesting post on the impact of sugar, especially fructose on our bodies.

To read more on the soft drink aspect, please check out my Page – What’s Wrong With Soft Drinks?

Tony

Focus on food safety

The sweetness of ice cream can be overwhelming. The sweetness of ice-cream can be overwhelming.

The sweet tooth seems to require a treat now and then. But why are most food manufacturers overdoing the sweetness thingy. You have an ice-cream treat and although it initially tastes nice, after half is consumed you feel the sugar molecules crawling in your mouth with the sugar taste lingering for several hours. The same with a blueberry cheesecake. The sweetness is just overwhelming.

I could go on and on. I am not after sugar replacements, I just want the sweetness to be toned down.

Trend to reduce sugar intake

Actually, reducing sugar intake has become a key concern amongst many consumers. In a recent 2,500-strong European consumer survey, a quarter of those asked preferred low sugar food products, findings that seem to confirm the continuing shift in consumer efforts to reduce sugar intake. They also found that more than 60% of those surveyed…

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Many U.S. Consumers Cutting Back on Sugar Consumption – NPD Group

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released every five years, were issued last month and one of the new guidelines’ strongest recommendation is something that consumers have already caught on to — limiting sugar intake, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company.  Overall, U.S. consumers have indicated that sugar is the number one item they try to avoid in their diet and are eating less sugary foods and beverages, according to NPD’s ongoing food consumption research.

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The new dietary guidelines recommend that only 10 percent of daily calories come from added sugars. Although this may sound like a lofty goal, consumers have cut down on foods and beverages with high sugar content, like carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks and juice, ice cream and frozen treats, and other sweet snacks. Consumption of sugar-free, unsweetened, or reduced sugar products, which is highest among young children and adults 55 and older, follows the trend in concern about sugar overall. Calories were once the top item consumers looked for on nutrition facts labels, but now it is sugar.

Cholesterol, the outcast of past dietary guidelines, is no longer a dietary concern according to the new guidelines.  NPD’s food consumption research shows that consumers are in line with this since their concern for cholesterol content has continued to decline since 2006. Eggs, which bore the brunt of the anti-cholesterol push, are back in vogue and consumption is up as consumers look for more sources of protein.

Eating more fruits and vegetables is a perennial federal dietary standard and is still front-and-center in the new guidelines. There is good and bad news in regards to this standard. The good news is: consumers are eating more fruits and fruit is among the top growing better-for-you snacks. The bad news is: vegetables are still fighting to find their way into Americans’ hearts and stomachs.

“Consumer alignment with the new guidelines speaks volumes to our collective shift toward eating more healthfully,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “We have nutritional information at our fingertips. Some seek it consciously and others hear it subliminally. If there is a weight or health problem, it’s typically not a result of nutritional ignorance.”

For the record here are the key recommendations from the 2015 Guidelines:
•    Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
•    Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
•    Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium
•    If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.

Remember, to live healthy, you need to employ two tools: eat intelligently and exercise regularly. You can’t have one without the other.

Tony

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