Tag Archives: sugar

Food Fight: Sugar vs. Artificial Sweeteners

About a year ago I was sitting in a coffee shop in Topeka, Kansas with my husband, eating a vegan oatmeal cookie and doing some reading online. One of the articles I came across was ‘Is Sugar Toxic?‘ by The New York Times. And by the time I finished the 6,000+ word story, I was deeply regretting that cookie.

The article discussed the research of Dr. Robert Lustig – a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California – who has deemed sugar as the major cause of most of the health-related diseases Americans are facing today like obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. And he believes 75% of these diseases are preventable if we’d just cut back on the sweet stuff.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently did a special on Dr. Lustig on 60 Minutes, and the story seemed to catch the attention of other media outlets. This has brought the ‘sugar is toxic’ discussion back full circle, forcing Americans once again to consider whether or not it’s their sugar habit that’s making them sick. (more…)

Sugar is Not Food, it is a Highly Addictive Drug

By Samantha Childs for NutritiousAmerica.com

Please say the following out loud: “Hello my name is ________ (fill in your name), and I am an addict.”

Congratulations, you’ve done it! Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to recovery. And you are a junkie to something far more deadly than drinking or even cigarettes.

Here are some clues:

  1. It’s most common form is as a white powder.
  2. In the 1300s it was recognized as a potent drug and handled under lock and key by apothecaries.
  3. It’s original name, bestowed by the French, was crack.

You guessed it. Sugar. Sugar is the crack of the masses. I learned this from famous psychotherapist Julia Ross at the 2011 Nutrition Conference held by The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sugar as a drug? Yes. And not just that, it is a high calorie drug. (A double whammy.) (more…)

Pepsi Next: Fewer Calories but Creates More Concern

Pepsi just officially released its newest beverage: Pepsi Next.

Pepsi says the new beverage has 60 percent less sugar and 60 percent fewer calories than regular Pepsi. But, in order to keep the sweetness but reduce the amount of sugar and calories, Pepsi Next features all of the sugar substitutes it has into one beverage. It combined high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, Sucralose and acesulfame potassium.

This is quite the sweetener combo and if you are like most, seeing this list may make you wonder what you’re going to be chugging. Even though Pepsi Next does contain a lot of artificial sweeteners, the fact that it is only half the calories of regular Pepsi could be a plus for those who want to reduce their sugar intake and cut calories to lose weight or maintain their weight.

Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN, and author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips said in an email, “If someone were to replace one full calorie soda for a Pepsi Next each day, he or she would save 60 calories—that’s 420 calories a week. They may not lose weight, but they’ll certainly save nutrient-poor sugar calories and perhaps leave more room in the diet for more healthful foods like a small piece of fruit.”

Here is some quick info on these artificial sweeteners included in the Pepsi Next that you may want to know about:

Aspartame, also found in Diet Pepsi, is one of the more controversial artificial sweeteners out there. The FDA has claimed its research has not shown any adverse health complications from aspartame. But according to MedicineNet.com, there is some evidence suggesting headaches, depression, increased hunger, and even cancer can be related to consuming aspartame.

Sucralose, also found in Pepsi One, is most well known for its claim to be made from sugar. It is usually  found in Splenda and is 600 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). It is claimed to have no calories by itself. According to Sucralose.org, it is not a natural product. The website claims it is made from a chemically modified sugar molecule. The FDA reviewed studies in human beings and animals. It determined there was no evidence of it causing cancer and posed no risk to human health. According to MedicineNet, the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for sucralose is set at 5 mg per kilogram of body weight per day. So if you weighed 200 pounds, your ADI would be 455 mg. According to Pepsi’s product information for every 12 ounces, there is approximately 14 mg of sucralose. (more…)

Fructose Research Does Not Change Perception of HFCS

A couple of weeks ago Medpage Today published an article titled Fructose May Not Be Culprit in Weight Gain which seems to contradict the Princeton research that found considerable more weight gain from ingesting high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Even when caloric intake was the same, rats gained more weight when eating HFCS than table sugar. Diets in Review has consistently spoken out against high fructose corn syrup as an unhealthy genetically modified food. Fructose and HFCS are not exactly the same as Tanvir Hussain, physician and adjunct professor of bioethics at Pepperdine University School of Law, points out, “[the study] did not include high fructose corn syrup in their analysis, but only simple fructose. Thus it would be difficult to make conclusions about high fructose corn syrup and weight gain based on this particular study. Nonetheless, the results do call into question the hypothesis that fructose disproportionately contributes to weight gain over other carbohydrates.”

Those are exactly the questions that have been posed to me – does this mean that HFCS is not bad for you?

Ann A. Rosenstein clearly explains the difference between sugar and HFCS, saying, “HFCS is an industrial food product and far from “natural” or a naturally occurring substance. It is extracted from corn stalks through a process so secret that Archer Daniels Midland and Carghill would not allow the investigative journalist Michael Pollan to observe it for his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The sugars are extracted through a chemical enzymatic process resulting in a chemically and biologically novel compound called HFCS.”


Should Sugar be Regulated Just Like Tobacco and Alcohol?

35 million people die each year due to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The major risk factors causing these diseases are tobacco use, alcohol use, and poor diet. Two of these factors are regulated by the government: tobacco and alcohol. Professionals are now arguing that sugar is the other main culprit of these diseases and should also be put through the same regulations as alcohol and tobacco.

In the past 50 years the worldwide sugar consumption has tripled. This has contributed to an obesity epidemic. As a result, there are now 30 percent more obese people in the world than malnourished people.

Just in America alone, people are consuming nearly 500 calories a day in added sugar. That’s not naturally occuring sugars like the ones found in fruit, but food and drink with sugar specifically added in. Soda is a major source of this added sugar as the average American is is consuming 57 gallons of soda a year, over half on which is not diet or sugar free soda.


Sugar Should Be Regulated Like Tobacco and Alcohol Argues Professor

pastreyIn the most recent edition of the medical journal Nature, Dr. Robert Lustig and co-authors Laura Schmidt and Clair Brindis make an argument for regulating access to sugar similar to the restrictions placed on alcohol and tobacco. Dr. Lustig, a professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of California San Francisco, writes that sugar is responsible for an increasing number chronic diseases around the world.

Lustig’s call for regulations is sure to be controversial, just as the soda tax debate has been in the past. However, Lustig says that health risks posed by increased levels of sugar consumption makes it a danger that should not be left to individual responsibility alone. The paper outlines how sugar alters the body’s chemistry, not only leading to problems like metabolic resistance but also leading people to crave more and more sweetness.

The paper further argues that sugar is a bigger underlying than obesity alone, noting that 40 percent of individuals with a normal weight have metabolic resistance problems that can lead to diabetes and health disease. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar each day, which is three times as much as was consumed 30 years ago.


Soda vs Marijuana – Which Do You Think is Worse?

There’s a chart that has been floating around the Internet for a while comparing various health effects of soda and marijuana. The agenda doesn’t appear to be pro-pot as much as it is pointing out societal hypocrisy and the serious dangers associated with foods most of us have no moral issue with.

I would be the first to get in line with people who think the demonizing of marijuana in Western culture has always been taken to an extreme level. However, if you think it somehow comes without any serious health risks, you need to consider putting the bong down for a moment and read on. Let’s take a look at how soda and marijuana really compare:

Carcinogens – Let’s start with the biggest hole in the chart’s argument: that there are no carcinogens in marijuana. According to Donald Tashkin, MD, a researcher at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, there are as many or more carcinogens and co-carcinogens in marijuana smoke as in cigarettes. Inhaling carcinogens for a long period of time can’t be harmless, can it? (more…)

Coconut Sugar is a Nutritionally Superior Natural Sweetener

By Abra Pappa for NutritiousAmerica.com

Seems like there is a hot, new “healthy sweetener” on the market every 10 minutes and as soon as you are convinced that this is the ONE, new reports come out saying, “NO, stay away!” Frustrating, I know.

Let’s look at the star “healthy sweetener” of the moment, Coconut Palm Sugar. Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

What exactly is Coconut Sugar?

Coconut sugar is an unrefined sweetener derived from the nectar of the blossom or bud of the coconut palm tree; not the coconut itself but the bud that would form a coconut. This is important because this bud is the source of all nutrients that are being fed to the maturing coconut, kind of like the umbilical cord from mom to baby. Skilled farmers, called “tappers,” tap the bud and release the sap. The sap is then heated and crystallized. (more…)

Eat More Honey for National Honey Month

This month is National Honey Month and it just so happens that this week, we’re all about honey. Between the Jewish New Year, which includes a tradition of dipping apples in honey for a “sweet” New Year to First Lady Michelle Obama’s honey beehive at the white house, we just can’t get enough. Plus, there is just no denying that the sweet sugar alternative has some astounding health benefits.

According to the National Honey Board, Americans consume nearly 1.5 pounds of honey per year annually. While honey is certainly not new, it has recently gained popularity as a healthy alternative to sugar. At 60 calories per tablespoon, honey offers a number of advantages.


5 Foods That Will Help You Snooze

By Lise Turner for Care2.com

It has been a sleepless several nights for me, mainly because of troubling events. But it made me start thinking about food, and how it’s intimately connected to our patterns of sleep. If you can’t sleep, and life is calm and happy, maybe it’s something you ate–or didn’t. The foods we eat can dramatically affect how much, and how well, we snooze. Some foods calm and relax, some wake up the nervous system, and some just downright wire you for the night.

What you should eat for deeper sleep depends partly on your patterns. If you toss and turn before drifting off but then doze soundly for the rest of the night, you might benefit from adding slow-burning carbs (beans, sweet potatoes, berries) to your evening meal to prompt the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that promotes calm. If you zonk out quickly but wake up a few hours later, you might be suffering from blood sugar fluctuations. I’ve tried a high-protein snack before bed–a handful of walnuts, a spoonful of almond butter, a small cube of cheese–and these tend to keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the night.

Focus on foods with soothing nutrients, like magnesium, which help relax muscles and calm the body, and B vitamins, key in the production of serotonin and other brain chemicals necessary to sleep. Trytophan, an amino acid that’s needed to make sleep-inducing serotonin, is especially effective when it’s paired with complex, slow-burning carbs.