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Scientific team sounds the alarm on sugar as a source of disease

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« on: January 05, 2015, 02:49:37 pm »

Scientific team sounds the alarm on sugar as a source of disease

Is sugar making us sick? A team of scientists at the University of California in San Francisco believes so, and they're doing something about it. They launched an initiative to bring information on food and drink and added sugar to the public by reviewing more than 8,000 scientific papers that show a strong link between the consumption of added sugar and chronic diseases.

The common belief until now was that sugar just makes us fat, but it's become clear through research that it's making us sick. For example, there's the rise in fatty-liver disease, the emergence of Type 2 diabetes as an epidemic in children and the dramatic increase in metabolic disorders.

Laura Schmidt, a UCSF professor at the School of Medicine and the lead investigator on the project, SugarScience, said the idea is to make the findings comprehensible and clear to everyone. The results will be available to all on a website (SugarScience.org) and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Added sugars, Schmidt said, are sugars that don't occur naturally in foods. They are found in 74 percent of all packaged foods, have 61 names and often are difficult to decipher on food labels. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires food companies to list ingredients on packaging, the suggested daily values of natural and added sugars can't be found.

The FDA is considering a proposal to require food manufacturers to list information on sugars in the same way they do for fats, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates and protein. But because so much added sugar is dumped into so many products, one average American breakfast of cereal would likely exceed a reasonable daily limit.

"SugarScience shows that a calorie is not a calorie but rather that the source of a calorie determines how it's metabolized," said pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig, a member of the SugarScience team and the author of "Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease." Lustig said that more than half of the U.S. population is sick with metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors for chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and liver disease that are directly related to the excessive consumption of added sugars in the Western diet.

Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the category of heart attack/stroke as the leading cause of death in the United States. Every day, 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease. That's about 800,000 a year, or one in three deaths.

The latest statistics from the American Diabetes Association show that 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent, have diabetes. Of that number, 21 million have been diagnosed and 8.1 million have not, and the numbers continue to grow, according to the association.

It doesn't stop there. The American Liver Foundation says at least 30 million Americans, or 1 in 10, has one of 100 kinds of liver disease.

Clinicians widely believe that obesity is the cause of metabolic disease. Although it is a marker for these diseases, Lustig said, it's not the cause. "Too much sugar causes chronic metabolic disease in both fat and thin people," he said, "and instead of focusing on obesity as the problem, we should be focusing on our processed-food supply."

The average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons (78 grams) of sugar a day, substantially more than the amount recommended by the American Heart Association. The association sets these limits: 6 teaspoons (24 grams) for women, 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men, and 3-6 teaspoons (12-24 grams) for children, depending on age. Just one 12-ounce soda contains 8 to 9 teaspoons (32-36 grams) of sugar.

Liquid sugar in sodas, energy drinks and sports drinks is the leading source of added sugar in the American diet. That represents 36 percent of all added sugars consumed, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. And because liquid does not include fiber, the body processes it quickly. That causes more sugar to be sent to the pancreas and liver than either can process properly, and the resulting buildup of sugar leads to heart disease, diabetes and liver disease.

Consuming too much sugar causes the level of glucose sugar in the bloodstream to increase. That, in turn, causes the pancreas to release high levels of insulin that cause the body to store extra calories as fat.

Too much insulin also affects the hormone leptin, a natural appetite suppressant that signals the brain to stop eating when full. But the imbalance of insulin levels caused by the intake of too much sugar causes lipid resistance, and the brain no longer gets that signal.

Another member of the SugarScience team, Dean Schillinger, is a professor of medicine at UCSF and a practicing primary care doctor at San Francisco General Hospital. He believes the overconsumption of added sugars is a social problem, not a problem of individual choice and freedom.

"People are becoming literate about the toxic effects of sugar," Schillinger said, "and have more understanding of the idea that high doses are bad for one's health." He sees evidence that those in a higher socioeconomic bracket are taking steps to limit intake of sugar when compared with poorer, less literate people.

Healthy food is expensive and less readily accessible in poorer neighborhoods, and because corn is so abundant and cheap, it is added to many food products. "Dumping high fructose corn syrup into cheap foods, sodas, sports drinks and energy drinks is toxic to the body, causing epidemic metabolic diseases and a serious health crisis," Schillinger said.

To underscore the scope of the problem, he pointed out that during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 1,500 American soldiers lost a limb in combat. In that same period, 1.5 million people in the U.S. lost limbs to amputations from Type 2 diabetes, a preventable disease. "We have yet to mobilize for a public health war," he said, "but the time has come to do so."

Such a war would have to take on the root causes of the problem. As a nation, Schillinger added, we would need to look at our food policies, food pricing, availability of healthy foods, and the marketing being carried out by food and beverage industries to hook the public on unhealthy choices loaded with added sugar.

Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, is not a SugarScience researcher, but he agreed that the amount of sugar consumed by the American public is too high. SugarScience, he said, is being helpful by bringing the information about added sugar to public attention.

"It's just about impossible," Hu said, "to know from food labels what kinds and amounts of sugars are in a product." That's why he thinks the FDA should require food companies to list those amounts on all food labels so people know what they're eating, in what amounts they're eating it, and what amounts are safe.

Food labels are important, Schillinger said, and they need to be revised, but the most important change needed is to make the healthier choice the easier choice.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-01-scientific-team-alarm-sugar-source.html
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2015, 02:50:35 pm »

The hidden costs of sugar

Americans today consume nearly three times the recommended amount of sugar every day. That's an average of 66 pounds of added sugar per year.

A growing body of science suggests that all this sugar isn't just making us fat; it may also be making us sick. That's one of many conclusions of SugarScience, an educational initiative and a comprehensive review of more than 8,000 scientific papers studying added sugar and its impact on health.

"It's already, from my perspective, a public health crisis," said Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD, director of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and member of the SugarScience team. "To see geriatric issues in kids, like diabetes, is extremely alarming. The numbers are staggering: 10 years ago, one out of 10 teens had pre-diabetes; right now, one out of four teenagers have pre-diabetes."

The goal of the national education initiative is to bring this scientific research out of the medical journals and to the public in an empowering way In addition to the team of UCSF, UC Davis and Emory University School of Medicine health scientists, SugarScience is partnering with outreach programs in health departments across the country.

"There really is a lack of an objective, authoritative voice on what the science actually is," said Bibbins-Domingo. "The goal behind SugarScience is to get this information out to the public, and we hope people can act on the information in the way that seems most appropriate to them."

In addition to links between sugar and chronic disease, such as diabetes and heart disease, physicians also are seeing new diseases they previously didn't have a name for, and hadn't seen in children, including Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. This is a disease of the liver similar to what is seen in alcoholics, and, if left unchecked, it can progress into cirrhosis of the liver.
 

That's because liver processes sugar – specifically fructose – very similar to alcohol.

"The fastest rising cause of liver transplantation in Americans is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease," said Laura Schmidt, PhD, a professor in the UCSF School of Medicine and lead researcher on the project. "You don't see changes like that in such a short period without a major change in environment."

A big part of that change is sugar consumption. Sugar is hidden in 74 percent of processed foods, including innocuous-seeming products like ketchup and salad dressing, according to research identified through SugarScience.

"It used to be a condiment, now it's a diet staple," said Robert Lustig, MD, MSL, a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco and a member of the SugarScience team.

"As pediatricians, we had evidence of the connection between sugar and diabetes, heart disease and liver disease for years, but we haven't had this level of definitive scientific evidence to back up our concerns," said Lustig.

Despite the overwhelming negative findings associated with sugar consumption, the good news is that the knowledge can empower people to change their habits. The most important step, the scientists said, is understanding how much we eat, as well as where in our diet that sugar comes from.

Bibbins-Domingo noted that just reducing one's intake of sugary drinks alone – such as energy drinks and soda – would cut out 25 pounds of sugar annually for the average American.

"What we hope is that people will use the information to make their own changes in their diet, and to think about that for their families," she said.

More information about how to spot hidden added sugars, the latest sugar research and resource kits to share with schools or churches or community centers are all available at SugarScience.org.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-11-hidden-sugar.html#inlRlv
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2015, 02:51:04 pm »

Sugared soda consumption, cell aging associated in new study

Sugar-sweetened soda consumption might promote disease independently from its role in obesity, according to UC San Francisco researchers who found in a new study that drinking sugary drinks was associated with cell aging.

The study revealed that telomeres—the protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells—were shorter in the white blood cells of survey participants who reported drinking more soda. The findings were reported online October 16, 2014 in the American Journal of Public Health.

The length of telomeres within white blood cells—where it can most easily be measured—has previously been associated with human lifespan. Short telomeres also have been associated with the development of chronic diseases of aging, including heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

"Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence disease development, not only by straining the body's metabolic control of sugars, but also through accelerated cellular aging of tissues," said Elissa Epel, PhD, professor of psychiatry at UCSF and senior author of the study.

"This is the first demonstration that soda is associated with telomere shortness," Epel said. "This finding held regardless of age, race, income and education level. Telomere shortening starts long before disease onset. Further, although we only studied adults here, it is possible that soda consumption is associated with telomere shortening in children, as well."

The authors cautioned that they only compared telomere length and sugar-sweetened soda consumption for each participant at a single time point, and that an association does not demonstrate causation. Epel is co-leading a new study in which participants will be tracked for weeks in real time to look for effects of sugar-sweetened soda consumption on aspects of cellular aging. Telomere shortening has previously been associated with oxidative damage to tissue, to inflammation, and to insulin resistance.

Based on the way telomere length shortens on average with chronological age, the UCSF researchers calculated that daily consumption of a 20-ounce soda was associated with 4.6 years of additional biological aging. This effect on telomere length is comparable to the effect of smoking, or to the effect of regular exercise in the opposite, anti-aging direction, according to UCSF postdoctoral fellow Cindy Leung, ScD, from the UCSF Center for Health and Community and the lead author of the newly published study.

The average sugar-sweetened soda consumption for all survey participants was 12 ounces. About 21 percent in this nationally representative sample reported drinking at least 20 ounces of sugar-sweetened soda a day.

"It is critical to understand both dietary factors that may shorten telomeres, as well as dietary factors that may lengthen telomeres," Leung said. "Here it appeared that the only beverage consumption that had a measurable negative association with telomere length was consumption of sugared soda."

The finding adds a new consideration to the list of links that has tied sugary beverages to obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and that has driven legislators and activists in several U.S. jurisdictions to champion ballet initiatives that would tax sugar-sweetened beverage purchases with the goal of discouraging consumption and improving public health.

The UCSF researchers measured telomeres after obtaining stored DNA from 5,309 participants, ages 20 to 65, with no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, who had participated in the nation's largest ongoing health survey, called the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, during the years 1999 through 2002. They found that the amount of sugar-sweetened soda a person consumed was associated with telomere length, as measured in the laboratory of Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, professor of biochemistry at UCSF and a winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her telomere-related discoveries.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-10-sugared-soda-consumption-cell-aging.html#inlRlv
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2015, 11:10:11 pm »

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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2015, 09:39:22 pm »

http://www.infowars.com/sugar-the-hidden-menace-and-beyond/
SUGAR: THE HIDDEN MENACE AND BEYOND!
Americans consuming dangerous amounts of highly-addictive sugar

3/18/15

Reporting from the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, Rex Jones breaks down one of the most addictive and dangerous substances consumed by Americans every single day – sugar.

A staple in nearly every processed food, the average American consumes more than 156 pounds of sugar every year according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Of that, only 29 pounds comes from traditional sugar, most commonly found in foods such as fruit.

Major university studies on lab rats have found that foods using processed sugar are often even more addictive than illegal drugs such as **** and heroin.

“Our research supports the theory that high-fat/high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do,” Neuroscientist Joseph Schroeder wrote in 2013. “It may explain why some people can’t resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them.”

Similar research published in the journal Nature Medicine in 2013 also found processed sugar to be one of the main causes behind the spread and growth of cancerous tumors.

In an attempt to suppress growing public knowledge, companies have begun relying on other substances such as aspartame and neotame in an attempt to fool the public.

Fortunately, CONTINUED exposure on the subject as well as the public’s shift towards organic food has served to slowly chip away at the power of the sugar-industrial complex.
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« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2016, 08:11:25 pm »

http://www.anh-usa.org/mercury-found-in-high-fructose-corn-syrup/
Mercury Found in High Fructose Corn Syrup
8/30/16

But apparently covered up by the Food and Drug Administration. Action Alert!

There were already plenty of reasons to avoid this highly processed ingredient like the plague. Now there’s an even better reason.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) makes up one out of every ten calories Americans eat. It is in nearly every processed food and sweetened beverage. Americans consume about 150 pounds of sugars per person per year, thirty-six pounds of which is in the form of HFCS, making HFCS one of the principal drivers behind heart attacks, strokes, cancer, dementia, and diabetes.

Now we’ve learned that HFCS contains mercury.

A 2009 study led by a former FDA employee found that half of tested samples of HFCS contained mercury. Another study found nearly a third of tested commercial products containing HFCS were contaminated with mercury. In a statement released with the study, one of the authors remarked:

    Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [US Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply.

The circumstances leading up to the study are even more alarming.

Years before the study, the lead author, Renee Dufault, was an environmental health researcher at the FDA conducting research on chlor-alkali processing plants. These plants use mercury to produce chlorine and caustic soda—sodium hydroxide, a chemical base used in manufacturing paper, textiles, and many other products, including HFCS. In 2003, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that about seven tons of mercury were missing from the eight chlor-alkali processing plants in the US. Every year, in fact, these plants reported missing mercury to the EPA. Due to the public health nightmare this poses—since exposure to mercury in even small amounts can cause serious health problems—Dufault began investigating where the missing mercury was going.

Dufault learned that mercury residue in chlor-alkali plants could be found in all products made with mercury, and that caustic soda from these plants was used heavily by the HFCS industry. She conducted tests and found that 45% of HFCS samples tested positive for mercury contamination. In 2005 she presented her findings to the FDA, but was instructed to drop the issue altogether. Dufault said that the FDA began taking her off field projects and wanted her “to sit in an office.” When Dufault left the FDA in 2008, she decided to go public with her findings.

Following up on Dufault’s report, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy found that nearly one-third of the fifty-five brand-name products they tested were contaminated with mercury. For a list of those products, you can consult the full report here.

The FDA and the HFCS industry say there is nothing to worry about. The agency said the mercury in Dufault’s samples was elemental mercury and thus safer than other forms of mercury—although no scientific evidence was provided to substantiate such a claim. The lab that originally analyzed the samples even said it was likely that the kind found in the HFCS samples was organic mercury—which is the form most dangerous to human health.

The peril mercury poses to human health, especially to young children with developing brains, cannot be understated. As Dufault and her colleagues point out in the article, mercury in any form is toxic. Organic mercury readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and damages developing nervous tissue. Even if only trace amounts are found in HFCS-containing products, the amount of HFCS that Americans consume every day without even realizing it makes this a huge concern—especially given the propensity of metals like mercury to accumulate over time.
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