Tag Archives: sugar

Your brain on sugar: What science actually says

We love sweet treats. But too much sugar in our diets can lead to weight gain and obesity, Type 2 diabetes and dental decay. We know we shouldn’t be eating candy, ice cream, cookies, cakes and drinking sugary sodas, but sometimes they are so hard to resist.

It’s as if our brain is hardwired to want these foods.

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Neuroscience research centers on how modern day “obesogenic,” or obesity-promoting, diets change the brain. We want to understand how what we eat alters our behavior and whether brain changes can be mitigated by other lifestyle factors. Continue reading

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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.

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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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Filed under childhood obesity, obesity, sugar, sugar addiction, sugary soda, Uncategorized

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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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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Filed under diabetes, fructose, sugar, sugary soda, sugary soft drinks, Type 2 diabetes

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

What Are Calories? How Many Do We Need? – MNT

When I started trying to eat healthy and control my weight, I found that counting calories was a very useful tool. It also happens to be quite easy to use now that I have a smart phone which is always with me. There are all kinds of apps that make calorie counting a snap to do. But, what are calories?

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This item from Medical News Today gives a useful answer.

A calorie is a unit of energy. In nutrition and everyday language, calories refer to energy consumption through eating and drinking and energy usage through physical activity. For example, an apple may have 80 calories, while a one mile walk may use up about 100 calories.

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Filed under blood pressure, calorie counting, calorie equivalents, calories, calories in soft drinks

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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Some vintage ads and your health

I stumbled across these old ads in my web wanderings and thought they might amuse you. We had some really goofy ideas a few years back.

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Are your donuts fortified with at least 25 units of B Vitamins?

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Nothing like a doctor’s recommendation to guide your cigarette smoking.

 

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It wasn’t that long ago that cigarettes permeated our lives.

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An energetic looking Tootsie Roll ad.

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No sense eating broccoli plain when  you can drown it in Velveeta.

Tony

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Filed under smoking, Smoking dangers, vintage ads

What about those sports drinks?

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.

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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

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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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White Potato vs Sweet Potato: WHO WINS?

Dr. Jonathan does a great job here on giving us chapter and verse on a fascinating pair of potatoes. I know I learned a lot. Hope you do too.

Tony

All About Healthy Choices

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For all those insomniacs never realizing the cause of their sleep deprivation, I give you the answer to the long awaited question: White Potato vs. Sweet Potato: WHO WINS?

First, I will start by saying BOTH forms of potato (especially in organic form) are naturally HEALTHY products that provide good sources of nutrition. Interestingly, there are distinct differences between these vegetables coming from two different botanical families. White potatoes come from the Solanaceae family and Sweet potatoes come from the Convolvulaceae family. Although there are thousands of varieties, I will keep this simple by focusing on the white potato vs. the sweet potato. The following graph provides some nutrition facts; white potato on the left, sweet potato on the right:

13-HHB-090-Health-Hub-Knockout-March_FNL II Reference Source: Cleveland Clinic

This chart shows that white potatoes have greater amounts of protein, potassium, magnesium and iron as well as CALORIES and CARBOHYDRATES. Sweet potatoes have greater…

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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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