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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. Logic would suggest that consuming fewer calories should result in weight loss, or at the very least, prevent weight gain. However, in the case of artificial sweeteners, which are lower in calories than sugar,  there is a paradox in that it has been shown that they can actually cause weight gain. Therefore, diet drinks are potentially far from the ‘healthier’ calorie-free alternative to regular drinks that they claim to be. As the artificial sweeteners present in diet drinks are now thought to contribute to the development of obesity,[1] they could in fact actually be quite unhealthy. Artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame have zero calories yet are intensely ‘sweet’ tasting, but the brain is not as easily fooled as the tongue. Artificial sweeteners provide less actual ‘sweetness’ satisfaction, and furthermore reduce the satisfaction obtained when ‘real’ sugar is consumed.[2] This can actually lead to increased carbohydrate cravings, boosting the inclination to overindulge.[2] [3] The first hints at the potential risks of artificial sweeteners arose over two decades ago when studies began revealing that they can stimulate the appetite,[4] with further investigations linking them to increased carbohydrate cravings,[3] the stimulation of fat storage[5] and weight gain.[1] One recent study that followed 474 diet soda drinkers for nearly 10 years, found that they had a staggering 400% greater increase in waist size during the 10 year study period than those who did not drink diet sodas.[6] This increased waist size is not just an aesthetic issue, it is a powerful indicator of the accumulation of visceral fat. This is a dangerous type of fat that gathers around the internal organs, and is strongly linked with type 2 diabetes and heart disease.[7] [8] In fact waist size is now considered a more powerful predictor of cardiovascular risks than body mass index (BMI).[9] However increased body weight is not the only controversial potential side effect of diet drinks. Early studies showed that some artificial sweeteners caused bladder cancer in laboratory animals, [10] although further studies failed to provide clear evidence of an association with cancer in humans, leaving the results inconclusive.[11] Reports also suggest an association between the consumption of aspartame, a widely used artificial sweetener, and neurological and behavioural reactions.[12] Aspartame has been shown to have the potential to induce serious adverse reactions, including seizures.[13]  So if you’re trying to lose weight, so-called ‘diet’ drinks may not be the healthy alternative that they claim to be. They have the potential for major metabolic, cardiovascular and neurological side effects and can actually contribute to weight gain. That being said, sugary drinks are also potentially damaging to health, so care should also be taken with their consumption. Why not opt for safe and simple water, the benefits of which are well known.   [1] Pepino, MY. (2015) Metabolic effects of non-nutritive sweeteners. Physiol Behav. 152(Pt B). 450-5. [2] Rudenga, KJ, Small. DM. (2012) Amygdala response to sucrose consumption is inversely related to artificial sweetener use. Appetite. 58(2). 504-7. [3] Yang, Q. (2010) Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings. Yale J Biol Med. 83(2). 101-8. [4] Rogers, PJ, Blundell, JE. (1989) Separating the actions of sweetness and calories: Effects of saccharin and carbohydrates on hunger and food intake in human subjects. Physiol Behav. 45(6). 1093-9. [5] Maersk, M, Belza, A, Stødkilde-Jørgensen, H, Ringgaard, S, Chabanova, E, Thomsen, H, Pedersen, SB, Astrup, A, Richelsen, B. (2012) Sucrose-sweetened beverages increase fat storage in the liver, muscle, and visceral fatdepot: a 6-mo randomized intervention study. Am J Clin Nutr. 95(2). 283-9. [6] Fowler, RP, Williams, K, Hazuda, HP. (2015) Diet soda intake is associated with long-term increases in waist circumference in a biethnic cohort of older adults: the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging. J Am Geriatr Soc. 63(4). 708-15 [7] Abraham, TM, Pedley, A, Massaro, JM, Hoffmann, U, Fox, CS. (2015) Association between visceral and subcutaneous adipose depots and incident cardiovascular disease risk factors. Circulation. 132(17). 1639-47.  [8] Han, TS, Lean, ME. (2016) A clinical perspective of obesity, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. JRSM Cardiovasc Dis. [epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1177/2048004016633371. [9] Bastien, M, Poirier, P, Lemieux, I,  Després, JP. (2014) Overview of epidemiology and contribution of obesity to cardiovascular disease. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 56(4). 369-81. [10] Takayama, S, Sieber, SM, Adamson, RH, Thorgeirsson, UP, Dalgard, DW, Arnold, LL, Cano, M, Eklund, S, Cohen, SM. (1998) Long-term feeding of sodium saccharin to nonhuman primates: implications for urinary tract cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 90(1). 19-25. [11] Kessler, II, Clark, P. (1978) Saccharin, cyclamate and human bladder cancer. No evidence of an association. JAMA. 240(4). 349-55.  [12] Lindseth, GN, Coolahan, SE, Petros,TV, Lindseth, PD. (2014) Neurobehavioural effects of aspartame consumption. Res Nurs Health. 37(3). 185-93. [13] Maher, TJ, Wurtman, RJ. (1987) Possible neurologic effects of aspartame, a widely used food additive. Environ Health Perspect. 75. 53-7.
  3. Sweet drinks lead to soured health

    Sweet-tasting “soft” drinks are any beverage to which sugar or other low calorie sweeteners have been added. These include: Sodas Colas Fruit punch Lemonade and other fruit-flavoured carbonated drinks Sports drinks Energy drinks Sweetened, powdered drinks Fruit or veg juice  It is widely accepted that soft drinks are a major contributor to the current obesity epidemic. Levels of obesity are increasing in tandem with consumption of calorie- laden drinks, which has increased five-fold since 1950.[1] In addition to the other  negative aspects related to weight gain, increased sugar consumption may also be associated with metabolic syndrome.[2] Metabolic syndrome is the term for a cluster of risk factors including obesity, high blood pressure, elevated fasting plasma glucose, high serum triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein.[3] This syndrome is dangerous to health, as it is linked with the development cardiovascular disease and diabetes.[4]  The calorific value of an average can of soda, cola or fruit punch is 150 calories. Most of these calories are derived from sugar, usually high-fructose corn syrup.[5] This is the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of table sugar, which, when consumed regularly, can contribute to weight gain.[5] Drinking just one can of a sugary drink per day can potentially result in a weight gain of 5 pounds in a year, assuming other calorie intake is not reduced.[5] And it isn’t just the effects on weight and metabolism that are concerning, the inherent acids and sugars in soft drinks result in dental caries and potential enamel erosion if consumed regularly.[6]  Furthermore, drinking sugary beverages does not satisfy the appetite or reduce solid food consumption, despite their high calorific value.[7] This is because fluids do not give the same satisfaction or feeling of “fullness” as solid food and the body doesn’t “register” liquid calories as it does those from solid food.[7] It is also possible that sweet-tasting drinks (whether sweetened with sugar or a low calorie substitute) actually stimulate the appetite for sweet, high carbohydrate foods. A 2014 study highlighted that consumers of sweetened drinks, even if low calorie, tended to have a generally poor diet, with increased consumption of high carbohydrate foods.[8]  Surprisingly, replacing sugary drinks with natural fruit juice is not necessarily a healthy option as although fruit juice is more nutritious, it can contains just as many calories as sugary drinks in the form of naturally occurring fruit sugars, such as fructose. Studies in both adults and children have shown that reducing sugary drink intake (including fruit juice) can lead to better weight control among those who are initially overweight,[9] and that simply replacing sugary drinks or fruit juice with water is also associated with lower long term weight gain, as a result of reduced calorie intake.[2] As well as weight control, a reduction of sugary drink intake can also result in metabolic improvements.[9]  Substituting sugary drinks for diet versions may also not be as beneficial as might be expected. Non- nutritive sweeteners (very low or zero calorie substances) used in diet versions of soft drinks are associated with numerous health risks. They are, surprisingly, known to be linked to metabolic changes and obesity,[10] and it has previously been speculated that they may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, although this theory has been discredited.[11]  Studies have shown that people who drink 1 or more ‘diet’ drinks per day are 67% more likely to develop diabetes than those who don’t drink any.[10] The established links between soft drinks and obesity, poor dental health and metabolic syndrome make a definite case for reducing intake, which could result in an improvement of overall health. The healthiest option of all? Stick to pure water instead of sweetened drinks to avoid souring your health. [1] Bray, GA, Popkin, BM. (2014) Dietary sugar and body weight: have we reached a crisis in the epidemic of obesity and diabetes?: health be damned! Pour on the sugar. Diabetes Care. 37(4). 950-6. [2] Vartanian, LR, Schwartz, MB, Brownell, KD. (2007) Effects of soft drink consumption on nutrition and health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Public Health. 97(4). 667-75. [3] Grundy, SM, Brewer, B, Cleeman, JI, Smith, SC, Lenfant, C. (2004) NHLBI/AHA Conference Proceedings. Definition of the metabolic syndrome. Circulation. 109. 433-8 [4] Grundy, SM. (2015) Metabolic syndrome update. Trends Cardiovasc Med. [Epub ahead of print] pii: S1050-1738(15)00249-2 [5] Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2015) Sugary drinks. Retrieved April 2016, from  [6] Moynihan, P, Petersen, PE. (2004) Diet, nutrition and the prevention of dental diseases. Public Health Nutr. 7(1A). 201-26 [7] Pan, A, Hu, FB. (2011) Effects of carbohydrates on satiety: differences between liquid and solid food. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 14(4). 385-90. [8] Piernas, C, Mendez, MA, Ng, SW, Gordon-Larsen, P, Popkin, BM. (2014) Low-calorie and calorie-sweetened beverages: diet quality, food intake, and purchase patterns of US household consumers. Am J Clin Nutr. 99(3). 567-77. [9] Pan, A, Malik, VS, Hao, T, Willett, WC, Mozaffarian, D, Hu, FB. (2013) Changes in water and beverage intake and long-term weight changes: results from three prospective cohort studies. Int J Obes (Lond). 37(10). 1378-85. [10] Nettleton JA, et al. (2009) Diet soda intake and risk of incident metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Diabetes Care. 32(4). 688-94. [11] Weihrauch, MR, Diehl, V. (2004) Artificial sweeteners - do they bear a carcinogen risk? Ann Oncol. 15(10). 1460-5.