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Added Sugar can Wreak Havoc on Your Health

by: Deanna Dean

(NaturalNews) Sugar may give you a temporary energy boost, but too much sugar exacts a toll on your health. This is not breaking news. So why did the American Heart Association issue a new scientific statement on "Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health?" Linda Van Horn is professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. She chairs the American Heart Association's Nutrition Committee, and states, "We know that sugars contribute to obesity, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes." Great concern over excessive sugar consumption and the "worldwide pandemic of obesity and cardiovascular disease," led to the association's issuance of a new statement.

Added sugars are an integral part of the American diet today. We are on a sugar binge. Sugar consumption is 22 to 30 teaspoons per person, per day. Our hedonism packs on 350 to 480 worthless calories that we cannot afford.

The heart association's new recommendations are 100 calories a day (about 6 1/2 level teaspoons) of added sugars for women and 150 calories (9+ level teaspoons) for men

Added sugars include high fructose corn syrup, table sugar, honey, syrups, and all other sweeteners with calories.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been demonized as the villain of added sugars. But HFCS and sugar are essentially the same when broken down in the body. HFCS is about 50% fructose and table sugar is 50% fructose, so they are essentially the same in composition.

Suzanne P. Murphy, Ph.D., R.D., is a research professor at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii. She summarized the results of a conference held in March 2008 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service and the International Life Sciences Institute of North America. "Considering the evidence presented by 22 researchers," Dr. Murphy concluded, "…[HFCS] and sucrose are similar. One is not 'better or worse' than the other." "Added sugars are added sugars," adds Rachel Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont, who chaired the heart association's new regulations.

University of California Davis found very different health results, though, in their participants when they compared glucose and fructose consumption. For 12 weeks, thirty two overweight or obese people drank either a fructose- or glucose-sweetened beverage that made up 25 percent of their daily calories. Both groups gained a similar amount of weight. However, those drinking the fructose beverage had health problems that were not experienced by the other group- including:

– An increase in visceral fat; the kind that lodges between tissues in organs
– Less sensitivity to insulin; one of the first signs of diabetes
– Increased fat production in the liver
– Elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol
– Increased levels of triglycerides; can increase heart attack risk

Many experts believe that HFCS, particularly in soft drinks, is partly responsible for the obesity epidemic in America.

Another study by researchers at Children's Hospital Boston, found that every additional 8-ounce soft drink in a day increased school kids' risks of being obese by 60 percent.

Another study at the University of Minnesota found that fructose "produced significantly higher [blood] levels" of triglycerides in men than did glucose.

A USDA study, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, found that fructose may alter the body's balance of magnesium, leading to increased bone loss.

Regardless of the disparate conclusions surrounding HFCS , one thing seems certain: the typical American cannot continue to consume an extra 350 to 480 calories from added sugars and hope to protect their health.

Your healthmate,
Deanna Dean

Nutrition Action Health Letter/January February 2010
Curbing America's Sweet Tooth/Bonnie Liebman… USDA Scientific Conference…

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