What is the purpose of food stamps? How important is a healthy diet? Today we learn about what some people in Sacramento think on these topics.
A recent study from the Annal of Internal Medicine says guidelines that are set to regulate sugars in foods are unreliable. It is also important to note that this study was funded by sugar “giant”, so to say, such as Coca-Cola, McDonald, And Pepsi. This conflict of interested could be a problem considering that sugars are scientifically linked to the current obesity epidemic in America.
For anyone who drinks soda or any sugary based beverages regularly may want to start reaching for water soon. New research suggests that drinking two or more sweetened drinks per day could be doubling your risk for diabetes. In this new study conducted Swedish researchers found that consuming two or more 6.07 oz. servings of sweetened drinks daily doubles the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This creates a big dilemma for many Americans because the average size drink is 12 ounces. Furthermore if you are consuming just one standard drink a day you have already doubled your risk unknowingly.
“Not all studies have been able to look at sugary and artificially beverages separately,” said Josefin Edwall Löfvenborg, a nutritionist at the Karolinksa Intitute in Sweden, “(but) it’s getting more and more established that soft drinks increase risk of type II diabetes.” (CNN)
So how are we going to change society’s consumption of sugary drinks? Soda companies have already started cutting sugar in their drinks, but just a few weeks ago Pepsi Co. just announced they will be finally turning against sugar. While the news may come to a surprise for such a prominent soda company; the reason why they opting for less sugary drinks is to turn around sales as soda consumption begins to decline. Since new studies are verifying the health risk behind the added sugar in soda. Society has been consuming less of the sugary beverages. Even though Americans consume 30% more sugar daily now than three decades ago, according to the Obesity Society, nutritional trends are increasingly focusing on the dangers of eating too much sugar. Pepsi hopes to diversify their offerings by 2025 and grow sales of drinks such as tea, coffee, bottled water, and downsizing bottles.
Soda companies are not the only companies trying to help eliminate this obesity trend. Local fast food restaurants have also opted to change the format of their menus and promotion. Recently, Burger King has decided to jump on board with other fast food chains by taking soda off their kids menu.
“Many kids today are active and busy today, and for a lot parents they don’t have time to always make sure their kids are making healthy choices.” Ann Taylor – Registered Dietician “Which means when kids are out and have easy access to soda for processed sugars it creates a dilemma to continue raise obesity rates.”
Fast- food chains are feeling the urgency from advocacy groups to do their part to help fight obesity. According to The Center for Science in the Public Interest says sugary drinks are a hefty contributor to kids packing on the extra pounds. Fast food chains are continuing to try to develop new ways to balance their nutritional menu to help lower this unhealthy trend.
The good news is not only can soda and fast food companies make changes but we all as community as well. When looking at the nation’s first “soda tax” on sugar-sweetened beverages, which went into effect in Berkeley, last year showed that it worked.
A local research student named Kristine Madsen at UC Berkley conducted a study that showed once the tax was put in place there was a significant decline. People in Berkeley reported a huge increase in their water consumption.
“Being a student on campus it was always hard to avoid unhealthy caffeine, so sometimes I would opt for a soda, Julia Surges 2016 UC Berkley Graduate “but when the tax was put into place I opted for coffee and water.”
Cutting sugar is in high demand right now for society, and thanks for advocacy groups and researchers soda are no longer the main source of revenue for these companies. This research may show that soda companies need to cut sugar from beverages to survive due to consumer demand, but consumers need to actually take control monitoring their daily sugar intake in order to a decline diabetes and obesity rates.
One motto of science is that it important to never stop questioning. Science itself has been put on trial as a document from the JAMA Internal Medicine shows that a Harvard researcher in the sixties was bribed to downplay the health risk of sugar. This could be one of the major reasons why the modern diet philosophy has been that fat is way worse than sugar even though both have very similar effects on the human health.
With such a revelation, this might shed light on how important it is to have truthful independent scientific communities with little to no bias. This problem can be seen especially in America. Many Americans turn to science for news and facts to base the decisions of their life on. But when lobbyists such as those in the sugar industry mess with this delicate balance by swaying researchers to downplay an effect of a certain product or screw with the scientific method, things can get messy for the consumer.
Recently, the World Health Organization recommended that an average adult consume only twenty-five grams of sugar daily. However, an average American consumed about three pounds of sugar each week. With two-thirds of American being obese or overweight, there are many scientific studies to support that sugar is strongly linked to obesity. How then, is sugar consumption increasing every year?
The discovery of the Harvard researcher taking a bride has made many people question the integrity of science. Articles have been published to show how messing with the connections between science and people by lobbyists groups can affect everyone, even for generations afterward.
“I don’t think they [lobbyist] should mess with the scientists, science needs to be trustable,” says one junior at JFK High School in Sacramento. It can be difficult to find a direction in the modern world with all the media rhetoric coming from all sides. But one thing can be said for certain, honest science is an integral part of a healthful society.
Sugars, spices, and everything nice, these are the ingredient for making the perfect little kids, but is it really? Some people might not think about it, but there’s sugar everywhere in our food. If you asked a scientist what sugar is, they might say it’s glucose or fructose and that it provides energy for all living things. If you ask an average person, they probably will say that’s it’s a sweet treat that should be taken in moderation. What a lot of people don’t know is exactly how much sugar is in their food.
When we asked a random high school student of how much sugar do they think is a 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, he said that he thought “[the Coke had around] ten plus grams.” Compared to when we asked of a University of Berkeley Student, Stanley Ou, the response was “[the Coke was around] sixty-seven grams”. The correct answer is sixty-five grams which is nearly the same amount of sugar in five Little Debbie Swiss Rolls. Even though both answers are wrong, it is clear who is closer to the correct response. There’s a chance that’s an average person would not be so educated on the subject of how much sugar is in their food or how it will affect their health.
One of the U.S. closest trading partners, the United Kingdom, now has plans to tax products with a certain sugar amount to combat obesity. It is estimated that around sixty-four percents of adults living in the UK are considered “overweight or obese”. That number is even higher in the U.S with sixty-eight percent. Do keep in mind that there are five times more Americans than Brits which makes that percentage carried more weight. So if the UK are taking steps to reduce the obesity rate, why isn’t America?
One problem with trying to reduce sugar in American food is the sugar lobbyists. Despite many published scientific studies in America of how sugar is linked to obesity, there’s seen to be nothing happening. Sugar lobbyists have argued that the effect is exaggerated and it would hurt the U.S economy if sugar were to be taxed and restrict anymore than they are right now. Whether whatever the case may be, the fact remains that American are gaining excess weight.
New guidelines from The American Heart Association are out now with its first ever statement on the issue of kids overconsuming sugar. They say children should limit their sugar intake to 25 grams a day. That’s just six teaspoons per day. The issue of concern is not with the natural sugar kids consume by eating fruits, bread, and many other natural sugar sourced items. The concern is the amount of added sugar that is added throughout the day. For instance, American kids and teens on average consume up to 90.5 grams of added sugars daily. That’s triple the amount recommended. Many kids are unaware of the extra sugar they are consuming through sodas, sports drinks, sweets, pizza, burgers, corn dogs, and cheeseburgers. A diet high in added sugar for children increases the chance that they’ll develop childhood obesity and or have high cholesterol that will result in other health issues in the future.
“We all consume extra added sugar without realizing it, parents need to help monitor their kids added sugar intake by limiting how many condiments such as ketchup their kids use, soda intake, not keeping sweets on hand in the home,” says Cassie McGrath a graduate student studying nutrition at California State University, Sacramento. “It’s all about creating healthier choices such as fruit smoothies, milk, and dark chocolate as healthy alternatives.
The city of Sacramento Unified School District has already taken precautions to help limit kids intake consuming unhealthy sugar and carbohydrates. They created nutritional menu plans that portions out how much sugar, and carbohydrates they can consume throughout the week. The goal is to teach kids how to consume added sugar in moderation, which could help the community health in the future.
Thanks to TV shows like “The Biggest Loser”, counting carbs is on its way to becoming a regular American pastime. Newly released figures are also showing that diabetes is quickly becoming part of American culture and more people should be worried about it.
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention* found that on average almost one third of U.S. teens with diabetes are unaware that they have it. The data showed that “about 0.8 percent of the teens surveyed had diabetes, and of these, nearly 29 percent didn’t know they had the condition.”
A quick internet search reveals that diabetes often has no symptoms, and even the few that are listed such as frequent urination and thirst could be seen as trivial. Diabetes is dangerous because of the strain it puts on our bodies which puts people with diabetes at a much higher risk for mortal complications such as liver failure, heart attack, and stroke.
To put more candidly, the findings reveal that a third of teens who are facing these deadly complications are completely in the dark about it and therefore unable to combat it. In turn they showcase the importance of teaching America’s youth about healthy eating habits and the consequences of neglecting our bodies.
”Type 2 diabetes is preventable by eating a healthy diet that includes lots of fruits and veggies!” says Amber Stott, founder of the Sacramento-based Food Literacy Center. “It’s critical to teach kids the habit of eating their veggies at a young age, because eating habits form early.”
In accordance with Stott’s advice, another study** published in the Health economics journal found that by rewarding or ‘bribing’ kids to eat fruits and veggies, the number of kids who ate at least one serving per day doubled.
“Vegetables protect us from many diet-related diseases. Eating veggies is like brushing your teeth. We don’t wait until our kids have a cavity to teach them to brush their teeth–we teach them early so they don’t get cavities in the first place,” said Stott. “This same thinking should be considered with eating vegetables. By doing it early–and often–we’re protecting our kid’s good health so they don’t develop health problems later in life.”
Even after the rewards ceased for eating fruits and veggies, the children continued to eat almost double the fruits and veggies they had previously, proving that good habits can die hard too.
These studies reveal two things: one, to slow the diabetes epidemic action must be taken to correct the poor eating habits that our country has developed, and two, there are feasible ways of doing so, such as bribing kids.
*The CDC study noted that the tests could not confirm whether the teens that showed positive had type 1 or type 2 diabetes, only the latter of which is preventable; as well as the fact that only one round of blood tests leaves some room for overestimation as to the results.
**The Health Economics study noted that rewarded behavior can lead to a slight lack of motivation to perform the rewarded behavior purely through personal motivation in the future.
Recently an article published by Alternet.org told readers about 12 surprising foods with more sugar than a Krispy Kreme donut. Foods that typically are thought to be “healthy” turned out to be worse than a glazed donut which contains ten grams of sugar.
The article featured visual imagery of the product along with the amount of donuts it equates to. A Yoplait yogurt which many people typically associate with diet food, has about two and a half donuts worth of sugar in it. Foods and drinks that even say “no sugar added”, such as the Naked blueberry pomegranate drink has about three donuts worth of sugar in it.
“I’d say about one,” Aryn Breaux, a student and food lover replied when asked how many donuts worth of sugar are in a Dole fruit cup. “Maybe even only half.”
“One and a half?” Breaux exclaimed when told the actual amount. “That’s just too much, like I can barely eat one donut without it being too much sugar. Are you forreals? I kinda don’t believe it.”
Some people still fail to realize exactly what they are putting into their bodies. When seeing a label stating fat free people can assume it is completely healthy, but what they don’t realize is that fat free doesn’t necessarily mean sugar free. Some Sacramento schools promote products such as a Nature Valley Granola bar which can hold up to a donut and a half worth of sugar.
In Sacramento, the Food Literacy Center is working to educate people on issues like this. The center works to educate children from a young age about the foods around them and how to make better, smarter, and healthier choices.
To contact the Food Literacy Center or learn more about their program visit their website at www.foodliteracycenter.org
The New York Times released an article on August 9th stating that Coca Cola is now backing up a new scientific theory which states “to maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.”
Coca Cola has teamed up with scientists that are now sharing this theory on social media pages, at conventions, and in medical journals. They are also supporting a nonprofit organization, the Global Energy Balance Network, which supports the theory.
Many don’t agree with this new theory, calling the sugary beverage the cause of certain medical illnesses and problems like diabetes.
“It’s a two sided solution, we need to eat less empty calories and exercise is (also) a part of it.” said Ana Sanchez, a primary care provider in Sacramento.
The reason for this new theory might be a product of the plummeting soda sales that Coca Cola is now experiencing.
“The (sales) numbers are going to decrease,” said Sanchez. “That’s what is going to happen to sugary drinks like Coca Cola. The more we know the less people are going to drink it, that’s why Coca Cola doesn’t want to lose the money. Many people are not drinking soda or they are more careful with soda these days.”
Read the New York Times article by clicking the hyperlink and feel free to add your opinions in the comment section below.
Addiction is a relative term. It is most often associated with popular drugs and alcohol, and in recent years, technology. According to recent findings it seems there has been an addictive substance hiding right beneath our noses, and yes it can come in the form of white powder.
Sugar is everywhere we look. It is in our breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners; fast food and health food alike.
It has many aliases including high fructose corn syrup, regular corn syrup, glucose, sucrose, cane crystals, cane juice, maltose, malt syrup, and dextrose. Even ingredients with healthy connotations like honey, agave, and fruit juice concentrates are still received by the human body as sugar.
Sugar itself is not evil. Like most things, it has its time and place. Many foods important to the human diet contain sugar in their organic state, like fruits, vegetables, and nuts. It is the over consumption of such food, especially processed food that has created such a ruckus in past years.
A recent study executed by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that 61 percent of the food Americans eat is processed.
Times magazine explained it further saying that 16 percent of our diet is “moderately processed—still recognizable as its original plant or animal source, but with additives,” and 61 percent of it is “highly processed—multi-ingredient industrial mixtures that are no longer recognizable as their original plant or animal source.”
Altering food from its natural state only serves to deteriorate its nutritional value by either destroying its chemical properties or adding compromising chemicals to it, a.k.a. preservatives.
Sugar, in its many forms, is the cheapest and therefore most common preservative.
As a country focused on ease and efficiency, it is no wondering easy-to-prepare processed foods have become the backbone of our diets and sugar our round bellies.
It has become such a problem a politician in the Netherlands believes government needs to take a role in curbing humanities sugar addiction.
“Just like alcohol and tobacco, sugar is actually a drug,” said Paul van der Velpen, the head of Amsterdam’s health service, in an article for The Telegraph. “There is an important role for government. The use of sugar should be discouraged. And users should be made aware of the dangers.”
Velpen goes on to say that sugar is just as, if not more addictive than smoking.
A study conducted in 2013 by Connecticut College supports his claim. They found that when compared side by side, lab rats became more addicted to Oreo cookies than notorious drugs like cocaine and heroin.
“Health insurers should have to finance addiction therapy for their obese clients,” Velpen said. “Schools would no longer be allowed to sell sweets and soft drinks. Producers of sports drinks that are bursting with sugar should be sued over misleading advertising and so on.”
Velpen also shares a philosophy similar to California’s own state senate when it comes to labeling sugary foods and drinks. Even though the recent soda labeling bill did not pass it seems to have been a pioneer effort in starting a global conversation.