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Big news today, the war on sugar is heating up. The World Health Organization is planning new dietary guidelines, where the proposed recommendation is to cut sugar intake in half!
The old upper limit of 10 percent sugar intake of total energy intake per day will remain, but WHO says that a further lowering of the limit to 5 percent will provide more health benefits (for example in controlling weight gain and dental caries).
The new goal of 5 percent corresponds to an upper limit of about 25 gram (or six teaspoons) added sugar daily. This is less than the amount of sugar in a can of Coke (33 centiliter).
An average sugar consumption of 10 percent of total energy intake – like in Sweden where I live – means that about half the population consumes more than the previously recommended upper limit and more than twice as much as the new upper limit.
Most people on an LCHF diet will no doubt keep well below the new target by a large margin.
- Fox News: WHO cuts sugar intake recommendation in half
- BBC: WHO: Daily sugar intake “should be halved”
- MailOnline: People should cut their sugar intake to just six teaspoons a day, says World Health Organisation
It remains to be seen whether the WHO new draft guidelines will survive a massive campaign from well-funded sugar-lobbyists. Let’s hope so!
Let’s also hope that governments issuing dietary guidelines will embrace new science and lower their recommendations. Continue Reading →
The paradigm shift continues. More and more experts stop being unnecessarily afraid of fat. More and more people blame the obesity epidemic on junk food, with added sugar and other refined carbohydrates as culprit number one.
Now there are also new rules proposed for nutrition labels in the US. They’ll make it easier to watch out for added sugar:
Some people take a detour and blame the obesity epidemic on the fuzzy concept of calories. They are right in theory, but wrong in practice. The quality of the calories determines how many calories one wants to eat.
In the past, before the obesity epidemic, nobody knew what a calorie was. They still kept their weight. Requiring calorie counting to maintain weight falls on its own absurdity. It’s as silly as demanding that you count your breaths.
The picture above is said to have been taken the other week at Walmart somewhere in the U.S. after the Valentine’s candy went on clearance. Sad.
What the customers are riding? Motorized shopping carts. As the obesity epidemic continues to get worse this could be a fairly common view in the not-so-distant future.
After last week’s alert about sugar and heart disease, some people – including a representative from the Swedish National Food Agency (issuing official dietary guidelines) – drew a funny conclusion.
They agreed that sugar is hazardous to the heart, but claimed that the study showed that if you kept your sugar intake below about 8 percent of your energy intake, you wouldn’t be at an increased risk.
This is somewhat embarrassing. It turns out that the group that ate the least sugar in the study consumed about that much (7.4%). The most obvious reason for this group being the healthiest, was that no other group ate less sugar!
So now you know. If you eat only 7.4 percent sugar, you’ll not be at an increased risk… compared to others that eat more sugar.
Using the same logic we could do a study of people who smoke 10, 20 or 30 cigarettes daily. If the people smoking 10 cigarettes per day were found to be the healthiest it would “prove” that smoking this amount of cigarettes per day is safe.
Science according to the Swedish National Food Agency. Continue Reading →
Are today’s high rates of overconsumption of sodas and other sugar sources a direct cause of heart disease? It’s possible, more and more people think so, and a new study gives this idea further support.
- CBS News: Too much sugar linked to fatal heart disease, even in those who are not obese
- BBC News: Sweet tooth linked to heart attacks
Of course, today’s study only shows statistical associations. In this study, people who consumed large amounts of sugar, for example sodas, got heart disease more often. Correlation doesn’t prove causation, so this doesn’t mean that this study has proven what is cause and effect. However, this study did demonstrate a linear association: the more sugar the greater the risk.
This study is just another piece of the puzzle, and more and more people are starting to see a clear picture, and taking the health hazards stemming from excessive sugar consumption seriously.
Prof. Laura Schmidt at University of California San Francisco writes in a commentary in JAMA:
We are in the midst of a paradigm shift in research on the health effects of sugar, one fueled by extremely high rates of added sugar overconsumption in the American public.
Past concerns revolved around obesity and dental caries as the main health hazards. Overconsumption of added sugars has long been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, under the old paradigm, it was assumed to be a marker for unhealthy diet or obesity. The new paradigm views sugar overconsumption as an independent risk factor in CVD as well as many other chronic diseases, including diabetes mellitus, liver cirrhosis, and dementia—all linked to metabolic perturbations involving dyslipidemia, hypertension, and insulin resistance. The new paradigm hypothesizes that sugar has adverse health effects above any purported role as “empty calories” promoting obesity. Too much sugar does not just make us fat; it can also make us sick.
The fight against cigarettes has almost been won in the West. Now the fight against sugar is starting to get serious. The health benefits may be at least as great. Continue Reading →
I was sent this picture, which has been turning up everywhere online. Do you think it’s real?
When there’s “no sugar added” juice – containing water and sugar – nothing should surprise us, right?
More and more people now realize that the fear of natural fats has been a mistake that’s led us into a health disaster. Sugar is the “new tobacco” – and low-fat products are often loaded with sugar.
Do you get depressed from eating the wrong foods? A recent study from Harvard School of Public Health makes this claim:
- The Huffington Post: Inflammation-Linked Diet Associated With Depression in Women
- Harvard School of Public Health: Inflammatory dietary pattern linked to depression among women
As always, this is uncertain and preliminary science that doesn’t prove anything. It’s only statistical correlation from a questionnaire. The relatively small increase in risk may be due to almost anything.
A bad diet (including bread, sugar and margarine) might increase the risk of depression and other brain disorders, but we can’t prove this with a questionnaire-based study.
A reader sent me the above picture, from a vacation trip to Tenerife. Milk was ordered for the kids and it came with two packages of sugar.
Do you think this was a mistake? Or do we assume that all kids are already little sugar addicts? Continue Reading →
Sugar is “Naturally Fat Free” according to this proud Target brand.
So, of course, are cigarettes. And arsenic. And land mines.
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