Dr. Robert Lustig has a new book out called “Fat Chance” that addresses the huge problems caused by excessive consumption of sugar, which is a real problem in this country. Watch this video and you’ll realize that you need to be very cognizant of how much sugar you are consuming. This is particularly important if you’re a parent.
The biggest issue involves hidden sugar in processed foods, like salad dressing, hamburger buns, BBQ sauce etc. It’s a labeling issue and an issue about government subsidies for the sugar and corn industries.
The New Scientist Magazine, September 3, 2012 issue explains the sugar-Alzheimer’s link as the condition by which our muscle, fat, and liver cells stop responding to insulin.
The cells no longer metabolize glucose properly thereby leading to insulin resistance or pre-diabetes.
This, then causes the pancreas to produce excess amounts of insulin even as excess glucose builds up in the blood causing insulin spikes which overwhelm the brain.
Insulin also regulates neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, which are crucial for memory and learning and is also important for the function and growth of blood vessels, which supply oxygen and glucose to the brain.
There’s also research tying brain dysfunction directly to excess sugar consumption. In a 2012 study, UCLA scientists fed rats a heavy ration of fructose (which makes up roughly a half of both table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup) and noted both insulin resistance and impaired brain function within six weeks. Interestingly, they found both insulin function and brain performance to improve in the sugar-fed rats when they were also fed omega-3 fatty acids. In other words, another quirk of the American diet, deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids, seems to make us more vulnerable to the onslaught of sweets.
Another facet of our diets, lots of cheap added fats, may also trigger insulin problems and brain dysfunction. New Scientist flags yet another recent study, this one from University of Washington researchers, finding that rats fed a high-fat diet for a year lost their ability to regulate insulin, developed diabetes, and showed signs of brain deterioration.
Government subsidies of corn and sugar have made these commodities incredibly inexpensive for the food industry which puts sweeteners in almost everything we eat.
This, at the same time Alzheimer’s costs $200 billion a year in health care alone.
Too much sugar, starch and fat are the leading offenders when it comes to pain because of their inflammatory affects on our bodies.
Avoiding inflammation through diet is the best way stay healthy.
Scientists are making a strong link between our food choices and pain.
About 70% of our immune cells are in our digestive system, making direct contact with the food we enjoy every day. If the immune system is triggered by bacteria in food, or flags a food as an allergen, or has an imbalance of important hormones such as insulin, it can set off the red alert of inflammation.
For example, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that processed sugars and other high-glycemic starches increase inflammation, which causes pain, overheating, redness and swelling.
While inflammation is an important part of the body’s healing process, chronic inflammation is at the root of many deadly diseases. The great news is that we can completely heal and prevent chronic inflammation with an eating plan.
You’ve been eating healthy and avoiding junk food.
There is a kind of momentum which develops where you are gaining will power by exercising your will to stay away from fatty, sugary foods.
But, that first whiff leads to that first bite which can lead to a slippery slope into over indulgence.
There’s a reason this tends to happen almost exclusively with fatty and sugary foods and not, say, lettuce. The saturated fats in foods like bacon and cheese impair your brain’s normal ability to regulate appetite and cravings, so you don’t realize you’re full until you’re completely stuffed, says Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., a health psychologist at Stanford University and author of The Willpower Instinct. What’s more, that effect on your appetite can last for up to three days, the length of time it takes to flush those fats from your system. So one unhealthy indulgence can end up triggering a major relapse.
Add sugar to the fatty food, ice cream, cake, doughnuts, and you have a double whammy. High-sugar foods increase your levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite and increases cravings. “So you may tell yourself ‘Just one bite’ but find yourself wanting more and more, the more you eat,” says McGonigal.
Moderation is a term that gets tossed around often, however, the definition seems to have a wide range of meaning.
If being around treats could derail your diet, then better to avoid them altogether especially considering that there is no nutritional gain to be had from eating junk food anyway.
Sugar, caffeine, B-12 and herbal concoctions do little to truly increase your energy level.
In fact, hospital visits related to energy drinks have surged more than tenfold since 2005, reports the U.S. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. And most of those amped-up patients are men.
Regular sleep of 7-8 hours, a healthy diet and moderate exercise are the best ways to maintain an energy level which will allow you to stay awake and alert, productive and energized throughout your day.
“We don’t use our bodies the way they’re built to be used,” says Dr. Edlund. “We guzzle energy drinks and then can’t sleep at night. We sit all day and then read e-mails at 3 a.m.” It’s no wonder we walk around like zombies, and treat these drinks like liquid life support. As sales and heart rates spike, it’s a good time to question the trends and find healthier ways to power up.
However, there are those who will say that sugar is sugar and it is best to simply ween yourself off of all things sweet.
Read for yourself to see which is the best for you.
For a less-processed alternative with small amounts of nutrients in it as well, look for sucanat, which is simply dehydrated sugar cane juice. Sucanat (an abbreviation for sugar-cane-natural) has a stronger molasses flavor than refined white sugar and retains all of the nutrients found in natural sugar cane juice, including iron, calcium, vitamin B6 and potassium. Though, as New York University nutritional scientist Marion Nestle points out: “The amounts of trace minerals in raw sugar are so small that they are nutritionally insignificant.”
Researchers have found that although beverages do account for a large amount of sugar in kids’ diets it is the hidden sugars in foods such as tomato sauce, muffins, cereals and everyday household items.
These sugar calories add up.
Simple carbohydrates such as pasta and breads also contribute to sugar in the diet.
With all the changes being made to food and nutritional guidelines in schools, it seems like the place where children come in contact with the most sugar is at home.
Almost everything we buy has sugar as an ingredient.
Over the course of the day children can consume a week’s worth of sweeteners.
Planning meals and reading labels is the best way to avoid unwanted added ingredients.
Eating meals as a family and introducing fresh fruits and vegetables also help to satisfy sugar cravings.
Fatty snacks and a glass of wine with your dinner are just two of the ways that you can block the absorption of sugar into your system.
You can blunt the blood sugar-raising effects by taking advantage of natural substances in foods that slow carbohydrate digestion and entry into the bloodstream. No matter what kind of sugar blocker you use, your waistline (and health) will win in the end.
Could more than 2,600 deaths a year be prevented by taxing soda?
Some analysts think, yes.
In general, they assume that if the price of soda rises, people will buy less of it. “We assume that 40 percent of the calories saved by forgoing a sugary drink are replaced with other calories,” she says, meaning either calories from drinks such as milk or fruit juice or from food. “So for every 100 calories in soda avoided, only 60 calories are actually lost in the diet.”
This is not the first study to predict that a soda tax would be effective in reducing consumption. Yale University researchers concluded in this report that taxing sugary drinks would lead to economic benefits as well.
Using the funds that come from taxing unhealthy foods could be the answer to a host of health cost issues.
This blog is for consumers of health care and medical services. Basically, it’s for everyone. For health issues you should always see a doctor or qualified medical professional - we are not dispensing medical advice. You should, however, be an educated consumer, so we offer information to help you start the process to become educated and to ask important questions. There are many excellent resources on the web, along with all sorts of conflicting opinions and advice. The key is to use a wide variety of resources to learn and access information, so you can ask the important questions when you are with your doctor or health professional.