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Pure Motivation » General Discussion » Health and Wellness/ الصحة و اللياقة » The Truth about Sugar

The Truth about Sugar

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1 The Truth about Sugar on Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:43 pm


Is sugar addictive?

A coworker with an unshakable candy bar habit might sigh that she's utterly addicted to sweets. Can someone truly become physically dependent on sugar?

Sugar taps into a powerful human preference for sweet taste, says Marcia Pelchat, PhD, a scientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a basic research institute in Philadelphia. "We're born to like sugar," she says.

"Sugar does seem to be special in some ways," Pelchat says, even in the womb. Doctors used to treat the problem of excessive amniotic fluid by injecting a sweet substance into the liquid, she says. The appealing taste would prompt the fetus to swallow more fluid, which was then flushed out through the umbilical cord and the mother's kidneys.

Not only do infants prefer sweet tastes, but when babies drink a sweet solution, it can ease pain through a natural analgesic effect in the body, Pelchat says.

Way back, the preference for sugar may have conferred an evolutionary advantage by leading people to seek out ripe fruits, which are sweet and serve as a good source of calories, she says.

But nowadays, is the coworker's constant hankering for sugar merely a strong liking, or is it a true addiction, with physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms?

"The jury's still out," Pelchat says. Scientists aren't sure if people can become physically dependent on sugar, although some animal studies suggest that such a thing is possible, she says. "There are the same kinds of changes in brain dopamine, in these animals given intermittent access to sugar, as in drug addicts."

Unlike with substance abuse, people don't get the shakes when they stop eating sugar. But people with constant sugar cravings do exhibit one symptom of dependence, Pelchat says: "continued use despite knowledge of bad consequences or having to give up certain activities." For instance, people who crave sugary, fatty foods will keep eating them even if obesity makes it uncomfortable to walk or to sit in an economy seat on the plane.


2 Re: The Truth about Sugar on Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:45 pm




3 Re: The Truth about Sugar on Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:47 pm



Is sugar affecting children's health?

Pediatricians are concerned that too much sugar is in their young patients' diets, Kavey says. But again, sugar by itself is not the problem, she says, but rather the excess pounds.

"The reason that we think of it as a problem is because of the big rise in obesity in childhood, and that rise has occurred over the same time period that there's been a major increase in the amount of simple sugar that children consume," Kavey says. Juices, sodas, sweetened cereals, cookies, and candy are common sources of sugar in children's diets.

But other factors -- like spending a lot of sedentary time with computers rather than running around and playing -- may also contribute to childhood obesity.

What about the notion that sugar makes some children hyperactive?

"In my own experience, I know there are some children who are very sensitive to sugar. They really are quite wild after they have sugar," Kavey says. "But that's not proof. The literature on it is not conclusive at all."



4 Re: The Truth about Sugar on Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:49 pm


Is sugar bad for your heart?

Let’s face it: Americans eat too much sugar. Me included! When I think about it, I have a decent-sized list of foods that I deliberately add sugar to: my 2 cups of coffee, the maple syrup I add to my morning oatmeal, that piece of chocolate I nibbled on after lunch today and, oh yeah, the sugar-laden piece of cheesecake I had for dessert last night. Then there are the foods where I unconsciously consume sugar...

Needless to say, it’s no surprise that a recent study says that Americans consume 355 calories—or 22 teaspoons—of added sugars a day. (Added sugars are those added to food by consumers or manufacturers.) (Find 3 easy ways to break your sugar habit here.)

OK, so we eat a lot of sugar. What’s so bad about that? There are consequences for your heart health.

Reducing added sugars will reduce cardiovascular disease risk, says Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., an EatingWell advisor and chair of the American Heart Association’s writing group for the organization’s statement on sugars and cardiovascular disease. High consumption of added sugars is linked with increased risks for high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels, risk factors for heart disease.

Recently the AHA recommended limiting added sugars, advising that women eat no more than 100 calories per day from added sugars, or about 6 teaspoons, and men should stick to less than 150 calories, approximately 9 teaspoons. For reference: A 12-ounce can of cola has about 8 teaspoons. (Cut back on your sugar intake and still enjoy dessert with these 7 delicious no-sugar-added desserts.)

These recommendations apply only to added sugars, which supply calories but no nutritional value, and not to sugars that occur naturally in healthful foods (fructose in fruits, lactose in dairy).

It’s fairly easy to keep track of sugars you add yourself. Added sugars in processed foods are more difficult to track. “Sugars” on Nutrition Facts panels include natural and added sugars. Check the ingredient list for sugar and all its aliases: corn syrup, honey, molasses, etc. (Find a more complete list here.) In general, the closer sugars are to the top of the list, the more the food contains.


5 Re: The Truth about Sugar on Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:51 pm


Study: High-Fructose Diets May Raise Blood Pressure
Added Sugar May Be Linked to Hypertension Risk

July 1, 2010 -- Foods and beverages with high amounts of fructose from added sugar may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

A type of sugar, fructose is a key ingredient in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Added sugars are found in processed foods such as candy, cookies, and cakes, as well as soda.

For the study, data on 4,528 U.S. adults were collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2003-2006. Fructose intake was calculated based on self-reported diet information. Those participants who reported eating or drinking 74 grams of fructose or more per day (which the study equates to 2.5 sugary soft drinks per day) had a higher risk of high blood pressure than their counterparts who got less fructose. The findings took into account factors such as age, smoking history, physical activity level, and salt and alcohol intake.

However, the study doesn’t prove that fructose was the cause for the rise in risk.

A link between added sugars and blood pressure is controversial. There are several theories about how fructose affects blood pressure levels, but none is firmly established. For example, high-fructose corn syrup may raise uric acid levels, which have been linked to high blood pressure.

“Limiting fructose intake is readily feasible, and in light of our results, prospective studies are needed to assess whether decreased intake of fructose from added sugars will reduce the incidence of hypertension and the burden of cardiovascular disease in the U.S. adult population,” conclude researchers who were led by Diana I. Jalal, MD, of the University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center in Denver.

Study Flawed, Critics Say
Not so fast, according to The Corn Refiners Association, a national trade group based in Washington, D.C., and others.

The Corn Refiners Association takes issues with the findings and the methodology used in the new study. “The authors failed to learn the true composition of sweeteners used in caloric soft drinks,” according to a statement released by the group. “Caloric soft drinks are not sweetened with 100% fructose. The sweeteners they contain are comprised of almost equal portions of the two simple sugars fructose and glucose, because they are sweetened with either sucrose (table sugar) or high fructose corn syrup (corn sugar).”

As a result, “the authors miscalculated the number of beverages represented by 74+ grams of fructose/day,” the trade group states. “This actually represents four 12-oz sodas (not 2.5), an amount consumed by only the top 5% of consumers [in the study]. Thus, the risk of hypertension from fructose is not a matter of concern for the overwhelming majority of Americans.”

Another weakness of the study is that it relied on asking participants to recall what they ate and drank in the past.

Maureen Storey, PhD, senior vice president of science policy for the American Beverage Association, a trade group in Washington, D.C., also has concerns about the findings. The new study “furthers the confusion and misunderstandings about high fructose corn syrup and sugar-sweetened beverages,” she says in a written statement. “This study fails to show a link between soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages and high blood pressure.”

George Bakris, MD, president of the American Society of Hypertension and a professor of medicine and the director of the Hypertension Center at the University of Chicago, says fructose should not be singled out in terms of its role in raising blood pressure.

“It is not the fructose itself, it is all sugars that are deleterious,” he tells WebMD. “Sugar is the bad guy and lack of exercise is the bad guy when it comes to causing obesity and hypertension. It is not any one thing. Don’t gain weight and your blood pressure won’t go up.”

The study was first presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology in October 2009.


6 Re: The Truth about Sugar on Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:50 pm


Here are a few little known negative effects of sugar. It can cause:

1. Premature aging. The single most important factor that accelerates aging is insulin, which is triggered by sugar.
2. Immune system suppression. It impairs your defenses against infectious disease. It can also increase your risk for osteoporosis, periodontal disease, Alzheimer's disease, Crohn's disease, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune diseases such as: arthritis, asthma, and multiple sclerosis.
3. High cholesterol and triglycerides, and can lower good cholesterol.
Cancer. Sugar has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, biliary tract, lung, gallbladder and stomach.
4. Weakening of eyesight. Sugar can cause cataracts and nearsightedness.
Gastrointestinal problems including: an acidic digestive tract, indigestion, and malabsorption.
5. Gallstones, appendicitis, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and kidney stones.
6. Food allergies, and can also lower the ability of enzymes to function.
7. Toxemia during pregnancy.
8. Hormonal imbalances such as: increasing estrogen in men, exacerbating PMS, and decreasing growth hormone.


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