Monday, February 9, 2009

More About Sugar

That's a model of the Mormom temple in Salt Lake City, made with sugar cubes.

Most Americans eat too much sugar. We drink too much soda, eat too much ice cream, and ingest a huge amount of sugars from sources we might not suspect, like bread. Many commercially available pre-sliced breads (great for sandwiches!) have high-fructose corn syrup added as a softener and preservative.

The New York Times has a pretty good discussion of some of America's problems with sugar, corn syrup, obesity, soda and so on.

Here are some of the good parts:

Neither ordinary sugar — sucrose — nor high-fructose corn syrup contains any nutrients other than sweet calories, and both are added in prodigious amounts to beverages and many foods that offer few if any nutrients to compensate for their caloric input.

“What consumers need to do is cut down on both,” Dr. Jacobson said. “Sugary foods either add calories or replace other, more nutritious foods.”

The article gives first place to those who claim there's nothing really wrong with high fructose corn syrup, but ends with links to three studies showing the exact opposite:

“It is not surprising that several studies have found changes in circulating lipids when subjects eat high-fructose diets,” he wrote in an editorial in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007. A study by Elizabeth J. Parks and colleagues at the University of Minnesota, for example, found that triglyceride levels rose when people consumed mixtures containing more fructose than glucose.

Another study, by nephrologists at the University of Florida, found that fructose consumption raised blood levels of uric acid, which can foster “metabolic syndrome,” a condition of insulin resistance and abdominal obesity associated with heart disease and diabetes.

And a study by Chi-Tang Ho, professor of food science at Rutgers University, found “astonishingly high” levels of substances called reactive carbonyls in 11 carbonated soft drinks. These molecules, which form when fructose and glucose are unbound, are believed to cause tissue damage. They are elevated in the blood of people with diabetes and linked to complications of the disease. Dr. Ho estimated that a can of soda has five times the concentration of reactive carbonyls found in the blood of an adult with diabetes.

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