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Sugar – Your Health vs Politics – Always Read the Ingredients Label – Part 1 of 2

So you have cravings for Sugar and Sweets and you consider Life without it pretty bland – don’t we all?

 

Well, relax, this is not about coercing you into giving up on those lovely chocolates and tempting pastries, but rather to make you aware of how the choice of sweetener in the product affects your health and the health of your children – and to reveal the links to the unexplained horizontal growth you may be experiencing – even though you eat so little.

 

 

We have all heard that Americans consume huge amounts of sugar, over 150 pounds per person and year. As if this wasn’t enough, a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) survey was cited as adjusting the latest numbers to160 pounds of sugar a year – a 30% increase since the early 1980s. That’s the approximate equivalent of 53 heaped teaspoons of sugar per person per day! Well, these numbers appear to be inflated, in fact the April 2007 updated USDA release states the average daily sugar consumption in the US currently is “only” 30 teaspoons per person each day, not including synthetic sweeteners and honey. According to the year by year statistics, the sugar consumption actually slightly decreased in the past seven years, which was probably compensated by artificial sweeteners increase. However, even these lower numbers are staggering: each American consumes over 20% of daily food calories from refined Sugars – empty calories with no nutritional value!

 

 

Consider this: the 30 teaspoons of sugar per person per day is just straight sugar that is declared as such on food and beverage “ingredients” labels. Although a refined sugar, Alcohol is a “stealth sugar”, undeclared as such. Just a small glass of wine or one can of beer will add the equivalent of 2 teaspoons of sugar, one whiskey, gin, vodka or the like will account for 4 teaspoons of sugar! More nutrients-deprived, indigestible calories.

 

Are you not able to maintain your perfect weight?

Do you suffer from Allergies or Asthma?

 

Such are the symptoms from consuming sugars in the above quantities for many years. So always reading the “Ingredients” Labels of all Foods and Beverages before buying may significantly help you reduce the consumption of the worst of the sweeteners, those that make you sick and spawn degenerative disease, including arthritis, candida, depression and digestive disorders. You will be surprised to find sugars added to almost all beverages and processed foods, including salty snacks like chips, nuts and instant soups. In addition, you may find inspiration and motivation to surrender some products and make them yourself instead. That is compelling when you read the following list of healthy and functional sugar alternatives available, that greatly improve taste and texture of dinners and desserts with very little work and skill required.
Your guests will commend you for your creativity and ability and you can all indulge in sweet, great tasting, and wholesome temptations with impunity.

 

Are you at risk of Diabesity?

 

Well – you are not alone: in the US 10% of Healthcare costs are used just for the “Diabesity” problems. According to Center for Disease Control “CDC” stats

  • Estimated total diabetes costs in the United States in 2002 (direct and indirect): were $132 billion
  • 1.5 Million New Cases were diagnosed in 2005 (age 20 and older)
  • The diabetes II rate in the US has tripled in 30 years: over 20 millions have it and 1/3 don’t even know it
  • Total prevalence of diabetes among people aged 20 years or older, United States, 2005
  • Age 20 years or older: 20.6 million, or 9.6%
  • Age 60 years or older: 10.3 million, or 20.9%

 

An additional 54 Million have pre-diabetic conditions, the so called metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance . Obesity is the driving force of diabetes: over 90% of diabetics are overweight. But the increase in food consumption was only 300 calories and thus could not account for this phenomenon.

 

What explains this unprecedented growth from the seventies to today’s raging pandemic?

 

It should be noted that the US is not alone, a similar increase has been documented in other developed countries: in the UAE one in every four people is at risk and in the EU the current rate is at 7.5% the same as in the United States and half of these are estimated undiagnosed. In Japan 10% of 40 year olds have diabetes II, according to Health Ministry statistics Dr.Paul Zimmer, director of the International Diabetes Institute (IDI) in Victoria, Australia, predicts that diabetes “is going to be the biggest epidemic in human history that will bankrupt social security-systems.”

 

There is an interesting correlation of the rise in Diabesity and the rise in the consumption of Sugar substitutes, namely

HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup).

In the 1970s the food and beverage industry discovered a cheap alternative to cane and beet extracted sugar, by chemically modifying corn starch from glucose to fructose. As from 1976, when HFCS could be mass produced, the cost advantage to the industry were so compelling, that consumption of HFCS increased by 4,000% until the year 2000 while the use of table sugar decreased by 35% and by now, Westerners consume more HFCS than sugar, according to the Weston Price Foundation website. 

Check the label on the container of your favorite soft drink, and, unless it is the Aspartame and Sucralose variety, you are likely to find HFCS or High-Fructose Corn Syrup listed as a primary ingredient after water. Since soft drink giants Coke and Pepsi switched from sugar to HFCS in 1984, the product conquered markets beyond beverages, HFCS is omnipresent in most processed foods and even health foods and sports drinks. Not only is it found in cookies, candies, and other confections, but Glucofort  also ubiquitous in foods where one would least expect to find sugar: soups, hot dogs, pasta sauce, ketchup, breakfast cereals, buns that cover the hamburger patties and even salad dressings,

The industry wants to hoodwink you into believing that HFCS is a natural product, after all isn’t Fructose the stuff that makes the fruits naturally sweet? Yet unlike in fruits were fructose is present with other sugars in a complex hydro-colloidal environment of fibers and active enzymes, the fructose in HFCS is an isolated derivative from genetically modified corn, processed by genetically modified enzymes – it is probably the highest processed food of all. Nevertheless, Snapple – sweetened with HFCS proclaims on their Labels: “All Natural Ingredients”.

Why does this matter? Because HFCS is addictive: the more you eat the more you want! Consumption of high amounts of sweet fruits result in a sense of fullness, when we know it’s time to stop eating, not so with isolated fructose. While glucose increases insulin release from the pancreas, fructose does not. Insulin helps to control sugar consumption by signaling the brain to indicate a sense of satiety, fructose lack of a triggering mechanism for insulin may lead to excessive caloric consumption. Also, fructose appears to convert to fat more readily than glucose because every cell in the body can metabolize glucose, while only the liver is able to metabolize fructose.

HFCS contains more fructose than sucrose and this fructose is more immediately available than fructose in fruits, because it is not bound up in sucrose. In animal studies, fructose showed disastrous effects particularly in growing animals that did not reach adulthood, had anemia, impaired collagen production, high cholesterol and heart hypertrophy (where the heart enlarges until it explodes) according to Dr Meira Field who led the USDA study on rats fed with fructose. “Since the effects of fructose are most severe in the growing organism, we need to think carefully about what kind of sweeteners we give to our children.” Of course the food industry contends that results in rats are not replicated in human, but if you don’t want to prove them wrong yourself, you may want to simply not take a chance. Originally, the fructose content of HFCS was little over 50%, but more recently the manufacturers have introduced syrup containing 90% and more fructose, yet you wouldn’t know from reading the food label. Therefore products containing HFCS should be avoided and certainly not be given to children.

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