Category Archives: Sugar

From Diabetes Care: What About Sugar Substitutes?

I enjoy an aspartame-flavored Fresca now and then

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed several types of sugar substitutes for safety and approved them for consumption by the general public, including people with diabetes (211). In this report, the term sugar substitutes refers to high-intensity sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, nonnutritive sweeteners, and low-calorie sweeteners. These include saccharin, neotame, acesulfame-K, aspartame, sucralose, advantame, stevia, and luo han guo (or monk fruit). Replacing added sugars with sugar substitutes could decrease daily intake of carbohydrates and calories. These dietary changes could beneficially affect glycemic, weight, and cardiometabolic control. However, an American Heart Association science advisory on the consumption of beverages containing sugar substitutes that was supported by the ADA concluded there is not enough evidence to determine whether sugar substitute use definitively leads to long-term reduction in body weight or cardiometabolic risk factors, including glycemia (212). Using sugar substitutes does not make an unhealthy choice healthy; rather, it makes such a choice less unhealthy. If sugar substitutes are used to replace caloric sweeteners, without caloric compensation, they may be useful in reducing caloric and carbohydrate intake (213), although further research is needed to confirm these concepts (214). Multiple mechanisms have been proposed for potential adverse effects of sugar substitutes, e.g., adversely altering feelings of hunger and fullness, substituting for healthier foods, or reducing awareness of calorie intake (215). As people aim to reduce their intake of SSBs, the use of other alternatives, with a focus on water, is encouraged (212).

Sugar alcohols represent a separate category of sweeteners. Like sugar substitutes, sugar alcohols have been approved by the FDA for consumption by the general public and people with diabetes. Whereas sugar alcohols have fewer calories per gram than sugars, they are not as sweet. Therefore, a higher amount is required to match the degree of sweetness of sugars, generally bringing the calorie content to a level similar to that of sugars (216). Use of sugar alcohols needs to be balanced with their potential to cause gastrointestinal effects in sensitive individuals. Currently, there is little research on the potential benefits of sugar alcohols for people with diabetes (217).”

Source: Nutrition Therapy for Adults With Diabetes or Prediabetes: A Consensus Report | Diabetes Care

Click pic to buy book at Amazon.com

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Sugar Industry Made Dietary Fat the Villain

See Larry Husten’s article for MedPageToday”

“Newly uncovered documents reveal that 50 years ago the sugar industry gave secret support to prominent Harvard researchers to write an influential series of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine that downplayed the negative effects of sugar.Instead, the articles shifted the blame from sugar to fat as the “dietary culprit” behind heart disease.

In recent years there has been growing awareness that decades of dietary policy demonized fat and ignored or played down the dangers of increased consumption of carbohydrates and sugars. Many believe this policy had a significant adverse effect on public health, contributing to the obesity and diabetes epidemics.”

Source: How Sweet: Sugar Industry Made Fat the Villain | Medpage Today

Remember that sugar doesn’t always refer to just table sugar. Starches -as in bread, potatoes, and peas – are easily and quickly broken down by the body into simple sugars.

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No Dentist Ever Told Me, “No Carbs, No Cavities”

But it’s true to a great extent. And the worst carbohydrates for your teeth seem to be sugars.

173 Years of U.S. Sugar Consumption

(Thanks to Dr. Stephan Guyenet and Jeremy Landen for this sugar consumption graph.)

MNT on September 16, 2014, published an article about the very prominent role of sugars as a cause of cavities, aka dental caries. This idea deserves much wider circulation.

I’ve written before about the carbohydrate connection to dental health and chronic systemic disease. Furthermore, sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to 200,000 yearly worldwide deaths

Investigators at University College London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine think the World Health Organization’s recommendation of a maximum of 10% total daily calories from “free sugar” should be reduced to 3%, with 5% (25 grams) as a fall-back position.

Six teaspoons of granulated table sugar (sucrose) is 25 grams. That should be enough daily sugar for anyone, right? But it’s incredibly easy to exceed that limit due to subtly hidden sugars in multiple foods, especially commercially prepared foods that you wouldn’t expect contain sugar. Chances are, for instance, that you have in your house store-bought sausage, salad dressings, and various condiments with added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup. Sugar’s a flavor enhancer.

tooth structure, paleo diet, caries, enamel

Cross-section of a tooth

The aforementioned “free sugar” as defined as any monosaccharides and disaccharides that a consumer, cook, or food manufacturer adds to foods. In the U.S., we just call these “added sugars” instead of free sugars. From the MNT article, “Sugars that are naturally present in honey, syrup, and fruit juices are also classed as free sugars.” Sugar in the whole fruit you eat is not counted as free or added sugar.

The London researchers found that—in children at least—moving from consuming almost no sugar to 5% of total daily calories doubled the rate of tooth decay. This rose with every incremental increase in sugar intake.

From the MNT article:

“Tooth decay is a serious problem worldwide and reducing sugar intake makes a huge difference,” says study author Aubrey Sheiham, of the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health at University College London. “Data from Japan were particularly revealing, as the population had no access to sugar during or shortly after the Second World War. We found that decay was hugely reduced during this time, but then increased as they began to import sugar again.”

I’m convinced. How about you?

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Is Excessive Fructose Consumption the Cause of Type 2 Diabetes?

Lumps of Diabetes

Cubes of Diabetes?

A Pharm.D (Dr of Pharmacology) and a pair of MD’s surveyed much of the available scientific literature—both animal and human studies—and concluded that fructose is a major culprit in the rise of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. Fructose does its damage by increasing insulin resistance. ScienceDaily has the details.

Be aware that their conclusion is certainly not universally accepted. I just read “Pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus” at UpToDate.com and saw no mention of fructose. Under dietary factors, they mainly talked about obesity and how that increases insulin resistance, leading to elevated blood sugars, while the reverse happens with weight loss. I haven’t looked at all the research so I have no definite opinion yet on the fructose-diabetes theory; I’m skeptical.

Fructose is a type of simple sugar. Common dietary sources of fructose are fruits, table sugar (aka sucrose, a 50:50 combination of glucose and fructose molecules), and high-fructose corn syrup (which is usually 42 or 55% fructose).

Damaging effects, if any, of fructose in these fruits may be mitigated by the fiber

Damaging effects, if any, of fructose in these fruits may be mitigated by the fiber

A few quotes from ScienceDaily:

“At current levels, added-sugar consumption, and added-fructose consumption in particular, are fueling a worsening epidemic of type 2 diabetes,” said lead author James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD, a cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO. “Approximately 40% of U.S. adults already have some degree of insulin resistance with projections that nearly the same percentage will eventually develop frank diabetes.”

*   *   *

While fructose is found naturally in some whole foods like fruits and vegetables, consuming these foods poses no problem for human health. Indeed, consuming fruits and vegetables is likely protective against diabetes and broader cardiometabolic dysfunction, explained DiNicolantonio and colleagues. The authors propose that dietary guidelines should be modified to encourage individuals to replace processed foods, laden with added sugars and fructose, with whole foods like fruits and vegetables. “Most existing guidelines fall short of this mark at the potential cost of worsening rates of diabetes and related cardiovascular and other consequences,” they wrote.

If you’re eating a typical Western or American diet, you’ll reduce your fructose consumption by moving to the Mediterranean diet, the Advanced Mediterranean Diet, Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet, or the Paleobetic Diet.

RTWT.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Filed under Causes of Diabetes, Sugar

John Yudkin Wrote a Book About Sugar Called “Pure, White, and Deadly”

Sugar is poisonous according to John Yudkin and Robert Lustig, among others. Australia’s “The Age” had the details but my prior link is no good. A quote:

[Robert] Lustig is one of a growing number of scientists who don’t just believe sugar makes you fat and rots teeth. They’re convinced it’s the cause of several chronic and very common illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. It’s also addictive, since it interferes with our appetites and creates an irresistible urge to eat.

This year [2014], Lustig’s message has gone mainstream; many of the New Year diet books focused not on fat or carbohydrates, but on cutting out sugar and the everyday foods (soups, fruit juices, bread) that contain high levels of sucrose. The anti-sugar camp is not celebrating yet, however. They know what happened to Yudkin and what a ruthless and unscrupulous adversary the sugar industry proved to be.

In 1822, we in the U.S. ate 6.2 pounds of sugar per person per year. By 1999, we were up to 108 pounds.

An occasional teaspoon of sugar probably won't hurt you

An occasional teaspoon of sugar won’t hurt you

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that added sugars provide 17% of the total calories in the average American diet.  A typical carbonated soda contain the equivalent of 10 tsp (50 ml) of sugar.  The average U.S. adult eats 30 tsp  (150 ml) daily of added sweeteners and sugars.

On the other hand, Fanatic Cook Bix found a study linking higher sugar consumption with lower body weight, which you might think would protect against type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

Steve Parker, M.D.

h/t Jamie Scott

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Sugary Drinks Linked to Overweight in Preschoolers

…according to an article at MedPageToday. A sample:

DeBoer and colleagues evaluated the effect of sugary drinks on body mass index in 9,600 children evaluated at ages 9 months, 2 years, 4 years, and 5 years, who were enrolled in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey — Birth Cohort, a representative survey of the U.S. population of children born in 2001.

Parents answered survey questions about beverage intake at ages 2, 4, and 5. Sugar-sweetened beverages were defined as soda, sports drinks, and fruit drinks that were not 100% fruit juice. They also looked at when the drinks were consumed — such as at meals or with snacks — and if the child was a regular or infrequent/nondrinker.

diabetic diet, low-carb mediterranean diet

Why not teach your kids to cook?

Toddlers drinking at least one sugary drink daily were much more likely to have mothers who were overweight or obese. The sugared-up kids also watched more TV and drank less milk.

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Filed under Carbohydrate, Overweight and Obesity, Sugar

Sources of Calories in U.S. Diet Over Last Four Decades

Italian seaside totally unrelated to this post

Do you ever wonder how many of your total calories come from added sugars? Grains? Dairy products? Added fats?

Deriving your personal numbers would require detailed nutrient analysis, but if you’d like U.S. averages, see this cool infographic at Civil Eats.

It also shows how many calories are or were available for consumption per capita over time (without accounting for wastage in restaurants). It’s based on U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

A superficial glance suggests that U.S. per capita daily calorie consumption has increased by about 600 from the 1970s until now. But remember, these numbers don’t discount for restaurant wastage. Nor do I see an adjustment for children versus adults. I’ve seen other calculations of and extra daily 150 calories (women) to 300 calories (men). Even the lower numbers could explain our explosion of overweight and obesity.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Filed under Dairy Products, Fat in Diet, Grains, Overweight and Obesity, Sugar