Archive | Food

New Study: Does Sugar Cause Heart Disease?

Harmful soda

Bad soda

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.

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 →

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Is This a Real Bag of Sugar?

I was sent this picture, which has been turning up everywhere online. Do you think it’s real?

UPDATE: The picture is a fake. This, however, is apparently real.

When there’s “no sugar added” juice – containing water and sugar – nothing should surprise us, right?

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Doctors Warn: “Sugar Is the New Tobacco”

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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.

MailOnline: “Sugar is the new tobacco”: Health chiefs tell food giants to slash levels by a third

Continue Reading →

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Could You Get Depressed from Sugar, Grains and Margarine?

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Do you get depressed from eating the wrong foods? A recent study from Harvard School of Public Health makes this claim:

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.

Earlier on depression

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Sugar with Your Milk?

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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 →

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Naturally Fat-Free Sugar

Fat free sugar

Photo: Kelley I

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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Panel Discussion on the Fight Against Sugar

Here’s a panel discussion on the fight against sugar featuring, among others, myself and sugar’s enemy number one, ie Professor Robert Lustig.

The discussion took place last month at a health conference in Oslo. The other participants are Dr. Espen Rostrup (a solid rock in the Norwegian diet debate – when he dives in) and Tone Glestad from the Norwegian Center for Sugar Addiction. Together we discussed health problems from sugar consumption, as well as weak and strong points in Lustig’s message.

You can also watch Dr. Lustig’s excellent talk from Oslo “Fight Against Sugar” on YouTube. It’s almost identical to his new YouTube talk from October, “Fat Chance: Fructose 2.0″.

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Robert Lustig’s New Talk on Sugar!

Recently a new 90 minute talk with professor Robert Lustig was posted on YouTube (his most watched – “Sugar, the Bitter Truth” from 2009 – has 4 millions views).

You can see the new one above. It’s almost identical to his talk in Oslo that I attended yesterday. Well worth watching, even before Will Smith makes a surprise appearance!

See the talk for more on why sugar is a potential poison.

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Sugar Shock in Oslo

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I’m in Oslo, Norway, for a conference featuring professor Robert Lustig among others. Here’s the minibar in my hotel room. This is the largest pile of sweet candy that I’ve ever seen in a hotel room. Are Norwegians bigger sugar junkies than others?

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Another Train Wreck: Heart & Stroke Foundation Recommends Eating Candy

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Here’s another nutritional advice train wreck. The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation allows their “Health Check” symbol to be put on candy. Why? As far as I can tell because the candy uses the word “fruit” in its name.

CTV News: Ottawa doctor says Heart and Stroke Foundation is misleading parents over a “Health Check” product

Putting the spotlight on this insanity is one of my heroes, dr Yoni Freedhoff. Here are two recent posts from his blog:

The Heart and Lung Foundation put out a press release saying that they are trying to develop a “comprehensive position” on sugar and will be soliciting international experts to help out. Meanwhile they’ll keep recommending candy.

Here’s dr Freedhoff’s comment:

So what exactly do the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Health Check Registered Dietitians do for the Foundation if Health Check needs to ask for outside help to determine whether or not endorsing fruit juice gummis that are themselves 80% sugar by weight with virtually no associated nutrition is a good idea?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if your organization needs international experts to tell them selling candy as a health food is a bad idea, perhaps you might want to consider the possibility that there’s something wrong with your organization’s own expertise.

I’d rephrase that last message for the Heart and Stroke Foundation:

If your organization believes that selling candy as a health food is OK, then your organization has zero credibility.

Bottom line: choose. You can have the candy money or you can have credibility. You can’t have both.

Continue Reading →

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