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Found 3 results

  1. Sugar, worse than we thought

    Sugar addiction is the problem of 21st century. People consume more and more sugar and get obesity, diabetes and other illnesses. Let's have a comprehensive review of this problem on the whatishealthy, though still in layman terms. It is important that people understand from what products we get  the biggest doses of sugar, what foods should be cut down to most. And what are the health consequences of sugar over-consumption, i.e. what else health problems one can develop except for obesity and diabetes
  2. Sugar vs salt: equal evils?

    Sugar is added to a wide variety of foods. Frozen vegetables and meat products such as sausages often contain added sugar to improve their flavour. Added sugar contains no essential nutrients and can have adverse effects on the body such as weight gain, tooth decay and cavities. High sugar intake is indeed one of the main causes of obesity in both children and adults.[1] Its high calorific value promotes increased levels of insulin which can contribute to insulin resistance and ultimately metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.[1]  Added sugar is high in fructose which, compared with glucose, favours lipogenesis (the metabolic formation of fat). This in turn can contribute to hyperlipidaemia (high levels of fat in the blood) and obesity.[2] [3] Overloading the liver with fructose can also lead to non-alcohol related fatty liver disease.[4] High sugar intake is not only damaging, it can also be addictive, as demonstrated by studies performed in rats, where animals given high large amounts of sugar exhibited behavioural patterns and parallel brain changes similar to addictive drugs.[5] Thus high levels of sugar intake can promote a vicious cycle of further intake and further damage. And it’s not just a sweet tooth that can land you in trouble; excess salt is also detrimental to health. It is generally accepted that salt intake is related to ‘water retention’, however research suggests that high intake of sodium (the main constituent of salt) does not actually increase water storage, but instead induces other changes that contribute to increased blood pressure.[6] These increases can, in the long term, lead to heart disease or stroke.[7] Indeed, modest reductions in salt intake do have a significant lowering effect on blood pressure. As a result of reducing salt intake, deaths caused by stroke could be expected to decrease by approximately 14%, and coronary deaths by approximately 9% in patients with high blood pressure.[8]  There is also a correlation between high salt intake and the risk of stomach cancer,[9] although studies of other ill effects of salt have reached contradictory conclusions. Some studies show potential links to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome,[10] but others oppose this claim.[11] It has also been suggested that high salt intake causing an elevation of urinary calcium excretion is a risk factor for osteoporosis, as any adaptive compensatory increases in calcium absorption are unlikely to be complete if diet is low in calcium.[12] However, yet again the evidence is somewhat unclear, as another study concluded that high salt intake is not an important risk factor for osteoporosis.[13] From the stated evidence, it is seemingly obvious that both sugar and salt can adversely impact on our health. We should therefore try to moderate our intake by trying to avoid processed foods that are likely to have a high content of these substances, and to reduce our use of both in our home cooking.    [1] Gross, LS, Li, L, Ford, ES, Liu, S. (2004) Increased consumption of refined carbohydrates and the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the United States: an ecological assessment. Am J Clin Nutr. 79(5). 774-9. [2] Havel, PJ. (2005) Dietary fructose: implications for dysregulation of energy homeostasis and lipid/carbohydrate metabolism. Nutr Rev. 63(5). 133-57. [3] Elliott, SS, Keim, NL, Stern, JS, Teff, K, Havel, PJ. (2002) Fructose, weight gain, and the insulin resistance syndrome. Am J Clin Nutr. 76(5). 911-22. [4] Ouyang, X, Cirillo, P, Sautin, Y, McCall, S, Bruchette, JL, Diehl, AM, Johnson, RJ, Abdelmalek, MF. (2008) Fructose consumption as a risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. J Hepat. 48(6). 993-9. [5] Avena, NM, Rada, P, Hoebel, BG. (2008) Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioural and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neurosci Biobehav Res. 32(1). 20-39. [6] Gavras I. & Gavras H. (2012) ‘Volume-expanded’ hypertension: the effect of fluid overload and the role of sympathetic nervous system in salt-dependent hypertension. J Hypertens. 30(4). 655–9. [7] Meneton, P, Jeunemaitre, X, de Wardener, HE, MacGregor, GA. (2005) Links between dietary salt intake, renal salt handling, blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. Physiol Rev. 85(2). 679-715. [8] He, FJ, MacGregor, GA. (2002) Effect of modest salt reduction on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized trials. Implications for public health. J Hum Hypertens. 16(11). 761-70. [9] Wang, xq, Terry, PD, Yan, H. (2009) Review of salt consumption and stomach cancer risk: epidemiological and biological evidence. World J Gastroenterol. 15(18). 2204-13. [10] Baudrand R, et al. (2014) High sodium intake is associated with increased glucocorticoid production, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Clin Endocrinol. 80(5). 677-684 [11] Garg, R, Williams, GH, Hurwitz, S, Brown, NJ, Hopkins, PN, Adler, GK. (2011) Low-salt diet increased insulin resistance in healthy subjects. Metabolism. 60(7). 965-8. [12] Heaney, RR. (2006) Role of dietary sodium in osteoporosis. J Am Coll Nutr. 25(S3). 271S-276S [13] Cohen, AJ, Roe, FJC. (2000) Review of risk factors for osteoporosis with particular reference to a possible aetiological role of dietary salt. Food and Chem Toxicol. 38(2-3). 237-53.
  3. Risks and benefits of Honey vs. Sugar

    What is healthy sugar Granulated sugar, which is the most common type of sugar used for sweetening our cups of tea and coffee, consists of a mixture of 50% glucose and 50% fructose (the sugar naturally found in fruit). The pure sugar content of a 100g of granulated sugar is 99.8g, which has a calorific value of 387kcal. 100g of honey, however, has a smaller pure sugar content of 82.1g, and a lower calorific value of 304kcal. This is not the only difference, as honey is only about 30% glucose, and less than 40% fructose.[1] In addition, honey is more complex than granulated sugar, as it contains many other sugars, as well as proteins and amino acids.[2] Honey also may contain small quantities of minerals (e.g. selenium and zinc), trace elements and some vitamins.[2] This varies depending on the region from which the honey was sourced and from what plants the bees gathered nectar etc. One of the roles of our digestive system is to convert carbohydrates to glucose, for use as energy. The components of granulated sugar are broken down very easily, providing a surge in blood glucose levels.  Any excess glucose not immediately required is converted in fat and stored in the body. Many of the sugars contained in honey are more complex than those in granulated sugar, meaning that the amount of energy required to break them down into glucose is greater.[3] This can mean that the amount of calories you absorb are actually less than those from an equivalent calorific value of granulated sugar. The nutritional value of honey over and above calorific content is totally dependent on its source. It can range from being just a sugar substitute (with a slightly lower calorific value) to actually being quite nutritious. As stated above, honey contains traces of numerous vitamins and minerals,{2} which can have beneficial effects on the body. Honey has also been found to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, and to assist in the process of wound healing.[4] In fact honey is now included in some proprietary dressings. Furthermore, honey does not ‘go off’ or  deteriorate in quality over time and so has no requirement for any preservatives or any other food additives, which can themselves have adverse effects on health.[6][7][8] Whilst its relatively high sugar content means that the consumption of large quantities of honey should be avoided, its healthier composition than granulated sugar means that, as a sugar substitute, honey could be a healthier option. Furthermore, honey can have many beneficial components such as antioxidants with anticancer actions,[9] found in particularly high levels in good quality honey purchased from a reliable, genuinely organic source.   [1] USDA (2016) Full Report (All Nutrients): 19296, Honey. Retrieved April 2016, https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/6287?fg=&man=&lfacet=&count=&max=35&sort=&qlookup=honey&offset=&format=Full&new=&measureby= [2] Bristol University (2001) Chemical composition of honey. Retrieved April 2016, from http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/webprojects2001/loveridge/index-page3.html [3] Elia, M. & Cummings, JH. (2007) Physiological aspects of energy metabolism and gastrointestinal effects of carbohydrates. Eur J Clin Nutr. 61 Suppl 1. S40-74. [4] Postmes, TJ. et al. (1997) Speeding up the healing of burns with honey: An experimental study with histological assessment of wound biopsies In bee products. Springer, US. [5] Lay-flurrie, K. (2008) Honey in wound care: effects, clinical application and patient benefit. Br J Nurs. 17(11). S32-6. [6] Yim, E. et al.(2014) Contact dermatitis caused by preservatives. Dermatitis. 25(5). 215-31. [7] Konikowska, K. et al. (2012) The influence of components of diet on the symptoms of ADHD in children. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 63(2). 127-34. [8] Vally, H. et al. (2009) Clinical effects of sulphite additives. Clin Exp Allergy. 39(11). 1643-51. [9] Ahmed, S. & Othman, NH. (2013) Honey as a potential natural anticancer agent: a review of its mechanisms. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. [epub] doi: 10.1155/2013/829070