Finally, there is some good news to report on our addiction to sugary beverages in this country.
The percentage of heavy sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumers – those who drink more than 500 calories of SSBs daily – trended downwards in the United States between 2003 and 2016, according to a new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Among children, the percentage of heavy SSB consumers declined from 11 percent to 3 percent consistently across age group, sex, family income level, and most race/ethnicities. For adults, the percentage of heavy SSB consumers declined from about 13 percent to 9 percent overall, but there was variation among different age, sex, and racial/ethnic groups.
“Our study contributes important new evidence and insights to research on SSB consumption, and it tells a public health success story. The percentage of children and adults who are heavy sugary beverage drinkers has declined significantly, which is similar to trends in overall SSB consumption. Public health strategies to reduce excessive intake of sugary beverages appear to be working,” said senior investigator Sara N. Bleich, PhD, Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
You’ve probably heard the expression, “you are what you eat,” but what exactly does that mean? Put simply, food is fuel, and the kinds of foods and drinks you consume determine the types of nutrients in your system and impact how well your mind and body are able to function according to Mental Health America.
Avoid: Sugary drinks and excessive amounts of caffeine. Sugary drinks have empty calories and damage tooth enamel. Caffeine should also be avoided in excess, as it can trigger panic attacks in people who have anxiety disorders.
Try to: Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day (about 2 liters) to prevent dehydration. Studies show that even mild dehydration can cause fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and mood changes1, in addition to physical effects like thirst, decreased or dark urine, dry skin, headache, dizziness and/or constipation. Limit caffeine if you have an anxiety disorder. If you feel like you need some caffeine, try tea. Tea has lower amounts of caffeine than coffee and has lots of antioxidants-chemicals found in plants that protect body tissues and prevent cell damage.
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.
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.
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.
“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 →
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.
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 →
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.
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).
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.
There are a lot of seductive ads circulating these days encouraging folks who exercise to partake of them. However, I learned early on that there is a basic threshold for using sports drinks. And that is, how much are you exercising? If you are a weekend warrior and go to the health club mainly to socialize and walk on the treadmill or elliptical machine for a half hour while you watch one of the TVs or read, you likely don’t need to use a sports drink and you may be doing yourself some harm if you are.
Sports drinks contain sodium which your body needs to replenish if you have been exercising at least moderately heavily and working up a sweat. In that case, you can be using a sports drink to bring your body’s electrolytes back into balance.
If you have been sweating a lot, getting sodium into your system is a good thing. But, if you haven’t, it isn’t necessarily.
Caitlin Howe, MS, MPH, of the American Heart Association Sodium Reduction Initiative says, “When it comes to winter physical activity, some people feel the need to consume energy and sports drinks during an afternoon walking in the cold air or skating on the lake. Sports drinks were initially designed for elite athletes, so most people can enjoy a winter workout without needing to replenish electrolytes or energy stores. Continue reading →
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…
Per Capita Consumption Drops More Than 26% From 1998 Peak
Regular readers know that I feel strongly about the dangers of soda, both diet and sugared. You can check out my Page: What’s Wrong with Soft Drinks? to learn more about it.
I was pleased to read the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) report that sales are declining.
Americans, eager to reduce their risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and tooth decay are continuing to cut down on their consumption of full-calorie soda, according to new data released by the trade publication Beverage Digest. Based on those data, the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest says that Americans are drinking more than one-fourth less soda than in 1998, when consumption peaked. In fact, Americans are now back to drinking about as much as they did in 1985. CSPI is urging health officials at the local, state, and federal levels of government to enact policies to drive down soda consumption even further, perhaps to levels observed in the 1960s, when soda was an occasional treat served in reasonable portions.
“Drinking nine or 10 teaspoons of sugar makes no sense, and most Americans have wised up to what’s really in a single soda,” said CSPI president Michael F. Jacobson. “The soda industry, which for years has lectured the public about energy balance and moderation, has been marketing excessive consumption, both in terms of frequency and volume. A comprehensive government strategy to drive down consumption further could be a boon to Americans’ health and lower the healthcare costs paid by taxpayers.”
Lawmakers in California are proposing a two-cent-per-ounce health impact fee on sugar-sweetened beverages in that state. In Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney (D) is proposing a three-cent-per-ounce excise tax on sugary drinks to help raise $400 million over five years for universal Pre-K, parks, and other programs. In Congress, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has offered legislation that would institute a tax of one-cent per teaspoon of caloric sweetener. CSPI has estimated that a federal excise tax could raise $10 billion a year for prevention programs.
I don’t share the CSPI’s notion of getting the government more involved in affecting what private citizens eat and drink through raising taxes or any other way. This is still a free country. Let’s keep it that way. It seems like we are off to a good start judging from the fall off in sales in the past 20 years.