the binge-eating files » Sugar

Sugar and binge eating, emotional eating, food addiction, craving

‘Let them eat as much as they want.’ Big Sugar sponsors dietitians’ favourable posts on social media. Experts say Canadian regulators need to intervene   Toronto Star  (Nov 24, 2023) by Rhythm Sachdeva, Declan Keogh, and Robert Cribb — A U.S. consumer protection agency slammed the Canadian Sugar Institute for ‘irresponsible’ marketing. Authorities here have been comparatively quiet. Accompanied by a video of children holding candy and set to the beat of a chart-topping pop song, the social media post from a Canadian registered dietitian said: “If your kiddo is obsessed with sweets they likely need MORE access to sweets rather than LESS.” The dietitian’s advice, superimposed over the video, encouraged parents to “talk about these foods neutrally and let them eat as much as they want.” This social media post and many others were paid for by the Canadian Sugar Institute, a Toronto-based association of sugar producers that has a branding relationship with dietitians across the country. … more

A Dietitian’s Take: The 4 Best Ways To Crush Sugar Cravings   StudyFinds (Aug 21, 2023) by Shyla Cadogan, RD — If you find yourself craving sugar all the time, you’re not alone. Sugar can make people feel almost powerless at times, but it doesn’t have to be that way. So how do you take control of things before they take control of you? … more

How sugar became the scapegoat for society’s ills – from austerity to the cost of living crisis   The Guardian (June 26, 2023) by Karen Throsby — First it was fat, now sugar. In the absence of proper policy, ‘the war on obesity’ always needs something – or someone – to blame for its failures. … more

Should I worry about how much sugar I consume?   The Guardian (Apr 23, 2023) by Joel Snape – Sugary foods are easier to access than ever and designed to keep us coming back for more. Are they actually addictive – and should we quit them? … First of all, it’s important to understand the distinction between “free” sugars – added to foods like sweets, cakes, biscuits, and fizzy drinks – and the sugar found naturally in milk, fruit and vegetables. … more

Think fat and sugar are the enemy? The things that replace them might be even worse   Toronto Star (Mar 14, 2022) by Christine Sismondo — Research on ‘nutritional mismatch’ suggests fat and sugar replacers might confuse our bodies when it comes to metabolizing food or drink … more

Your gut senses the difference between real sugar and artificial sweetener  ScienceDaily (Jan 13, 2022) — Sugar preference isn’t just a matter of taste — it’s deeper than that. Why do mice without taste buds still prefer real sugar to the fake stuff? ‘We’ve identified the cells that make us eat sugar, and they are in the gut,’ said one of the researchers. Specialized cells in the upper gut send different signals to the brain for sugar and sugar substitute. … more

Can the UK kick its sugar habit? We ask the expert   Graham MacGregor, chairman of campaign group Action on Sugar, on how to avoid overdoing the sweet stuff     The Guardian (Dec 10, 2021) by Coco Khan — We are a nation of sweet tooths, consuming more than twice as much sugar as the global average. But with too much sugar linked to serious health conditions, how can we wean ourselves off it? I asked Graham MacGregor, chairman of campaign group Action on Sugar. … more

Reducing sugar in packaged foods can prevent disease in millions   ScienceDaily (Aug 27, 2021) — Cutting 20 percent of sugar from packaged foods and 40 percent from beverages could prevent 2.48 million cardiovascular disease events (such as strokes, heart attacks, cardiac arrests), 490,000 cardiovascular deaths, and 750,000 diabetes cases in the U.S. over the lifetime of the adult population, according to a new study. … more

Sugar not so nice for your child’s brain development, study suggests.  ScienceDaily (Mar 31, 2021) – New research has shown in a rodent model that daily consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages during adolescence impairs performance on a learning and memory task during adulthood. The group further showed that changes in the bacteria in the gut may be the key to the sugar-induced memory impairment. … more

Want to know how much added sugar is in your favourite foods? Canadian companies don’t have to tell you   CBC News (Mar 28, 2021) by Charlsie Agro, Tyana Grundig, Stephanie Kampf – Experts urge Canadians to watch added sugars in packaged foods but no clear path to information for consumers. Despite having to disclose many details about ingredients, specific allergens, calorie counts and other nutritional information on labels, food manufacturers are not required to include the amount of added sugar a product contains and don’t have to disclose that information to an inquiring consumer, a CBC Marketplace investigation has found. … more

Eating sugar will actually make you want to eat more sugar. From going cold turkey to substituting sweets.  ABC News (Jan 16, 2021) by Nidhi Singh,Will Linendoll, and Angeline Jane Bernabevia – Sugar is addicting — and science definitely agrees. That’s why decreasing your sugar intake or quitting it altogether can be very difficult. Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News’ chief medical correspondent, says sugar can be found in much of what we eat. Although it makes those products taste good, they can increase your sugar intake above recommended amounts. “Read those labels,” Ashton said. “Turn everything that comes out of a package around and look at the sugar content.” … more

A gut-to-brain circuit drives sugar preference and may explain sugar cravings   ScienceDaily (Apr 15, 2020) – The sensation of sweetness starts on the tongue, but sugar molecules also trip sensors in the gut that directly signal the brain. This could explain why artificial sweeteners fail to satisfy the insatiable craving for sugar. A little extra sugar can make us crave just about anything, from cookies to condiments to coffee smothered in whipped cream. But its sweetness doesn’t fully explain our desire. Instead, new research shows this magic molecule has a back channel to the brain. … more

Sweet as: The science of how diet can change the way sugar tastes   ScienceDaily (Apr 9, 2020) – Learning and tasting are controlled by the same molecules, animal studies show. Researchers have discovered the basic science of how sweet taste perception is fine-tuned in response to different diets. While it has long been known that food can taste different based on previous experience, until now we didn’t know the molecular pathways that controlled this effect. … more

More electronic device use tied to more sugar and caffeine in teens   ScienceDaily (Oct 22, 2019) – A new study found that more than 27% of teens exceed recommended sugar intake and 21% exceed recommended caffeine from soda and energy drinks. Males consumed more sodas and energy drinks than females, and youth in grade 8 consumed more than those in grade 10. … more

Today’s obesity epidemic may have been caused by childhood sugar intake decades ago   ScienceDaily (Sept 23, 2019) – Current obesity rates in adults in the United States could be the result of dietary changes that took place decades ago, according to a new study.  … more

Natural Sugars vs. Added Sugars: Do Our Bodies Know The Difference?  Huffpost (Aug 21, 2019) by Beth Krietsch — Experts explain how we process the sugar in an apple differently from the sugar in a cookie. It’s no secret that the American diet is filled with way too much added sugar, and it’s not doing us any favors. It’s linked to high rates of weight gain and obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. … more

The Case Against Sugar  Medscape (Aug 21, 2018) by Tom G. Bartol, NP – It  took more than 40 years from the publication of studies that pointed to the dangers of smoking cigarettes to begin to rein in the tobacco industry and reduce cigarette smoking among the public. Now, we are seeing similarities with the sugar industry, which is wreaking havoc on public health by influencing both science and public opinion … more

The Barbaric History of Sugar in America   New York Times Magazine (Aug 14, 2019) by Kahil Gibran Muhammad – The sugar that saturates the American diet has a barbaric history as the ‘white gold’ that fueled slavery … more

Big Sugar Versus Your Body   New York Times (Mar 11, 2018) by David Leonhardt – The sugar industry and its various offshoots, like the soda industry, have spent years trying to trick you. Big Sugar has paid researchers to conduct misleading — if not false — studies about the health effects of added sweeteners. It has come up with a dizzying array of euphemistic names for those sweeteners. And it has managed to get sugars into a remarkable three-quarters of all packaged foods in American supermarkets. … more

Getting More Sleep May Help You Eat Less Sugar   Time (Jan 12, 2018)  by Amanda MacMillan – Sleeping at least seven hours a night may help people eat less sugar, according to a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The research also found that getting more shuteye was an attainable goal for healthy adults who typically got less than the recommended amount, and that simple strategies like reducing screen time before bed and avoiding coffee late in the day really did help…. more

Analysis of new studies including 250,000 people confirms sugar-sweetened drinks are linked to overweight and obesity in children and adults   ScienceDaily (Dec 23, 2017) – A new review of the latest evidence on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)- which includes 30 new studies published between 2013 and 2015 (and none of them industry sponsored) — concludes that SSB consumption is associated with overweight and obesity, and that countries that have not already done so should take action to reduce the consumption of the so-called ’empty calories’ that these drinks contain. … more

Eating too much sugar can hurt your health, and for some it’s actually addictive   Washington Post (Dec 16, 2017) by Marlene Cimons  – Who hasn’t been in a relationship we know is bad for us, but one we just can’t quit? For many people, it’s like that with sugar. Breaking up is hard to do. “People generally know that sugar isn’t good, but they don’t appreciate how powerfully negative it really is,” says Donald Hensrud, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. “If you look at all the things in our diet we can change, pulling away from refined or added sugar will do more good than anything else.” … more

What The Industry Knew About Sugar’s Health Effects, But Didn’t Tell Us    NPR: The Salt (Nov 21, 2017) by Allison Aubrey – Back in the 1960s, the fact that our diets influence the risk of heart disease was still a new idea. And there was a debate about the role of fats and the role of sugar. The sugar industry got involved in efforts to influence this debate. “What the sugar industry successively did,” argues Stanton Glantz of the University of California, San Francisco, “is they shifted all of the blame onto fats.” The industry’s strategies were sophisticated, Glantz says, and are similar to those of the tobacco industry. … more

Overweight children and adults get significantly healthier and quickly with less sugar  MNT Medical News Today (Aug 9, 2017) – Osteopathic physicians suggest shifting the conversation from weight to health for overweight children and adults, asking patients to reduce their sugar intake to see measurable improvements in metabolic function. Improved measures of health can be seen in less than two weeks of sugar reduction, according to a review published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA). … more

Swedish mum’s battle against sugar goes viral  BBC News (Mar 1, 2017) – the A Swedish mother’s successful stand against sugar has turned her into a social media sensation. Anna Larsson decided to cut out sweet treats after realising how bad her young daughter’s cravings had become. The results shocked her: after a difficult few days, the little girl was no longer asking for yoghurts and iced buns, but happily consumed healthy options she would once have rejected. What’s more, she was sleeping better and was less grumpy. … more

Sugar is the ‘alcohol of the child’, yet we let it dominate the breakfast table. The Guardian (Jan 4, 2017) by Robert Lustig – With kids consuming half their sugar quota first thing, it’s no wonder they’re getting diabetes and liver disease. We have to fight corporate interests. Breakfast is considered by most nutrition experts, including Public Health England, to be the most important meal of the day. It gets your brain and your metabolism going, and it suppresses the hunger hormone in your stomach so you won’t overeat at lunch. But in our busy lives, it’s easy to turn to what is quick, cheap, or what you can eat on the go. … more

Junk Science or Junk Food? Experts Debate Sugar Guidelines  Medscape (Dec 19, 2016) by Marcia Frellick – Guidelines on dietary sugar published over the past 20 years do not meet the criteria for trustworthy recommendations for reasons that include low-quality evidence and inconsistent advice, say the authors of a new review published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine. …more

Sugar Is the New Tobacco, so Let’s Treat It That Way  Medscape Public Health (Oct 31, 2016) by Aseem Malhotra – So  how much sugar do we need? For the purpose of health, the optimum consumption is zero. Added sugar has no biological requirement and is, therefore, not by any definition a “nutrient.” It is the fructose component (sucrose is 50% glucose and 50% fructose) that fulfils four criteria that justify its regulation: toxicity, unavoidability, the potential for abuse, and its negative impact on society. … more

Sugar not only makes you fat, it may make you sick  CNN (Oct 10, 2016) by Ben Tinker – In recent years, sugar — moreso than fat — has been receiving the bulk of the blame for our deteriorating health. Most of us know we consume more sugar than we should. Let’s be honest, it’s hard not to. The (new) bad news is that sugar does more damage to our bodies than we originally thought. It was once considered to be just another marker for an unhealthy diet and obesity. Now, sugar is considered an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, as well as many other chronic diseases, according a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. … more

Sugar addiction: Discovery of a brain sugar switch: Cell types like astrocytes regulate metabolic processes  ScienceDaily (Aug 12, 2016) – Researchers have discovered that our brain actively takes sugar from the blood. Prior to this, researchers had assumed that this was a purely passive process. The transportation of sugar into the brain is regulated by so-called glia cells that react to hormones such as insulin or leptin; previously it was thought that this was only possible for neurons. … more

Treating sugar addiction like drug abuse: QUT leads world-first study  MNT Medical News Today (Apr 8, 2016) – With obesity rates on the rise worldwide and excess sugar consumption considered a direct contributor, the search has been on for treatments to reverse the trend. Now a world-first study led by QUT may have the answer…. more

Fructose alters hundreds of brain genes, which can lead to a wide range of diseases. Scientists report that diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reverse the damage  ScienceDaily (Apr 22, 2016) – Consuming fructose, a sugar that’s common in the Western diet, alters hundreds of genes that may be linked to many diseases, life scientists report. However, they discovered good news as well: an important omega-3 fatty acid known as DHA seems to reverse the harmful changes produced by fructose. … more

Kids Who Are Better at Tasting Sugar Are More Likely to Be Overweight, Study Finds   Time/Living (Dec 15, 2015) by Belinda Luscombe –Being more sensitive to sugar might not be a good thing. Some kids can taste as little as 0.005 teaspoons of sugar in a fluid ounce of water. Others need three teaspoons until they register it. Logic would suggest that the less sugar-sensitive—those who need to add more sugar to get the hit of sweetness—would be more likely to be obese, right? Not according to new research. … more

Cutting sugar ‘can improve health in nine days’  The Telegraph (Oct 27, 2015) by Laura Donnelly — Doctors say a new study provides ‘the strongest evidence to date’ that sugar causes health risks, regardless of whether it increases calorie intake. Reducing sugar in diets even without cutting calories or losing weight can dramatically improve health in as little as nine days, a study suggests. A new study involving obese children found significant results in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol in less than two weeks. … more

What Eating 40 Teaspoons of Sugar a Day Can Do to You  New York Times (Aug 14, 2015) by Anahad O’Connor – A new movie called “That Sugar Film” seeks to educate consumers about the hazards of consuming too much added sugar, which can be found in an estimated 80 percent of all supermarket foods. The new documentary stars an Australian actor-director, Damon Gameau … more

What Has Caused More Deaths Than All Wars In The Last 40 Years, Combined? Progressive Radio Network (July 10, 2015) by Gary Null, PhD – There is an unseen culprit hiding in the shadows, killing at least 180,000 people annually. It is a toxic poison contained in many of the foods and beverages that we commonly eat. A toxin that has been implicated in causing cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lowered cognitive function, addiction, depression, and obesity. The magicians and alchemist of the corporate food industry have cleverly disguised this ingredient and sung it praises.  If you are waiting for mainstream media to undertake an in-depth investigative report on this topic you will be waiting a long time. more …

High-Sugar Diet Can Impair Learning And Memory By Altering Gut Bacteria  Huffington Post (June 24, 2015) by Carolyn Gregoire – The typical American diet is loaded with fat and sugar, and it may be hurting not only our physical health, but also our ability to think clearly. New research from Oregon State University finds a high-sugar, high-fat diet causes changes in gut bacteria that seem to lead to significant losses in cognitive flexibility, a measurement of the brain’s ability to switch between thinking about one concept to another, and to adapt to changes in the environment. more…

Fat, sugar cause bacterial changes that may relate to loss of cognitive function   ScienceDaily (June 22, 2015) – A study indicates that both a high-fat and a high-sugar diet, compared to a normal diet, cause changes in gut bacteria that appear related to a significant loss of ‘cognitive flexibility,’ or the power to adapt and adjust to changing situations. This effect was most serious on the high-sugar diet, which also showed an impairment of early learning for both long-term and short-term memory. more …

Regular soda, please: Hormone that differentiates sugar, diet sweeteners could exist in humans  ScienceDaily (June 11, 2015) – We’ve all been there: We eat an entire sleeve of fat-free, low-calorie cookies and we’re stuffing ourselves with more food 15 minutes later. One theory to explain this phenomenon is that artificial sweeteners don’t contain the calories or energy that evolution has trained the brain to expect from sweet-tasting foods, so they don’t fool the brain into satisfying hunger. However, until now, nobody understood how organisms distinguish between real sugar and artificial sweetener. more …

Sugar and carbs are the obesity culprits, not lack of exercise Medical News Today (MNT) (Apr 23, 2015) – Bad    diet is a lifestyle cause of obesity, but a lack of exercise is not, says an editorial reviewing controversial questions about this established health risk. The article published in a journal from The BMJ says the problem “cannot be outrun by exercise.” more …

This is what sugar does to your brain   Huffington Post (Apr 6, 2015) by Carolyn Gregoire – We know that too much sugar is bad for our waistlines and our heart health, but now there’s mounting evidence that high levels of sugar consumption can also have a negative effect on brain health — from cognitive function to psychological wellbeing. more…

Sugar Season. It’s Everywhere, and Addictive   The New York Times (Dec 22, 2014) by James J. DiNicolantonio and Sean C. Lucan — Your co-worker brought in brownies, your daughter made cookies for a holiday party and candy is arriving from far-flung relatives. Sugar is everywhere. It is celebration, it is festivity, it is love. It’s also dangerous. In a recent study, we showed that sugar, perhaps more than salt, contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease. Evidence is growing, too, that eating too much sugar can lead to fatty liver disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and kidney disease. Yet people can’t resist. And the reason for that is pretty simple. Sugar is addictive. more …

Obese children’s brains more responsive to sugar   ScienceDaily (Dec 12, 2014)   A new study led by researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine finds that the brains of obese children literally light up differently when tasting sugar. Published online in International Journal of Obesity, the study does not show a causal relationship between sugar hypersensitivity and overeating but it does support the idea that the growing number of America’s obese youth may have a heightened psychological reward response to food. more …

Sugar Rehab: New Treatment for Not-So-Sweet Addiction   NBC News (Nov 28, 2014) by Maria Shriver — Sandie Leonard couldn’t wait to get her next fix. She would wake up with cravings and search her hiding spots when she felt low — in her kitchen, her car, her desk at school … Sugar addiction and food addiction is one of the hottest new sciences emerging over the last 10 years. more …

Fed Up documentary: Sugar added to food causing obesity   CBC News/The Canadian Press (May 9, 2014) – Documentary starring U.S. journalist Katie Couric opens Friday in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Food manufacturers are responsible for fuelling a sugar dependency that is creating an obesity epidemic, and it’s spreading around the world, the makers of the new documentary Fed Up charge. Director Stephanie Soecthig (Tapped) teamed with narrator and journalist Katie Couric to create the hard-hitting look at why millions of children are growing up obese despite media attention and government guidelines.   more …

Smoking may dull obese women’s ability to taste fat, sugar   ScienceDaily (Apr 3, 2014) – Cigarette smoking among obese women appears to interfere with their ability to taste fats and sweets, a new study shows. Despite craving high-fat, sugary foods, these women were less likely than others to perceive these tastes, which may drive them to consume more calories. “Obese people often crave high-fat foods,” she said. “Our findings suggest that having this intense craving but not perceiving fat and sweetness in food may lead these women to eat more. Since smoking and obesity are risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, the additional burden of craving more fats and sugars, while not fully tasting them, could be detrimental to health.” more …

The quest for a natural sugar substitute – (Jan 1, 2014) by Daniel Engber – On a Sunday evening last September, stevia became famous. In the final episode of “Breaking Bad,” an image of the sweetener filled the TV screen … The natural, noncaloric sweetener, made from the leaves of a Paraguayan shrub, now sits in second place in the $400 million market for sugar-bowl sachets. (Sucralose hangs on at No. 1.) … But the battle for the sugar-substitute market is not about packets on the table; the real money is in being the go-to additive for diet foods, especially diet drinks.   More

Addicted to Sugar? 7 Steps You Need to Take Before You Can Break Free   Huffington Post (Sept  19, 2013| by Kristin Kirkpatrick – Last month, I devoted my blog to reviewing some of the more surprising adverse health outcomes associated with excess sugar consumption. While most of us know that sugar is not the best substance to load our body with, many individuals struggle with tactics in actually breaking free of their addiction to sugar — and yes, it can truly be an addiction.  Link

Sugar toxic to mice in ‘safe’ doses, test finds   ScienceDaily  (Aug 13, 2013) – W hen mice ate a diet of 25 percent extra sugar — the mouse equivalent of a healthy human diet plus three cans of soda daily — females died at twice the normal rate and males were a quarter less likely to hold territory and reproduce, according to a toxicity test developed at the University of Utah. Link

Is sugar toxic? Health effects of sucrose, fructose spotlighted in new research  Huffington Post (July 16, 2013)  by Ferris Jabr, Scientific American – Our  very first experience of exceptional sweetness—a dollop of buttercream frosting on a parent’s finger; a spoonful of strawberry ice cream instead of the usual puréed carrots—is a gustatory revelation that generally slips into the lacuna of early childhood … Considering that our cells depend on sugar for energy, it makes sense that we evolved an innate love for sweetness. How much sugar we consume, however—as well as how it enters the body and where we get it from in the first place—has changed dramatically over time.  Link

How much sugar is in your food?  MNT Medical News Today (July 7, 2013) – With people living ever more frantic and fast-paced lives, we can often lose track of which essential and non-essential nutrients we consume. Sugar is vital for good health, without it all the cells in our body would come to a halt and perish. However, too much sugar raises the risk of several diseases and conditions, including rotting teeth, obesity and type 2 diabetes.  These days we’re all being warned to cut down on our sugar consumption. But, sometimes we can be unaware of just how much sugar is in the food that we are eating.  To help you, we have listed some common everyday foods and drinks, together with their sugar content..  Link

Sugar not sweet to your body: Food fight   We can’t live without this sweet staple, but should we at least try?  The Toronto Star (July 2, 2013) by Michele Henry – It flavors our pop, our cookies and cakes. Its quick energy and satisfies our cravings. But sugar gives so much that it’s making us fat and lazy and diabetic. We can’t live without this sweet staple, but should we?   Link

Is sugar actually bad for you?    The Globe and Mail (July 2, 2013) by Anne-Marie Vettorel – An  apple a day is toxic.  At least, it is if you believe some of the health advice on the Internet. The maxim “sugar is poison, fructose is toxic” has garnered legendary pop-health status ever since Dr. Robert Lustig posted a video on YouTube about sugar’s “bitter truth.” Since then, sugar has been framed as the skeleton key that unlocks every physical malady. Scientifically, though, this might not be the case, according to Dr. David Katz of Yale University’s Prevention Research Centre.    Link

From agave nectar to coconut sugar, sift through the specs of so-called natural sweeteners before settling   National Post (May 14 2013) – From agave nectar to coconut sugar, sift through the specs of so-called natural sweeteners before settling.  In a world where nutrition trends are fueled by celebrities and talk show hosts, the average person can feel like they’re in a fog when it comes to “the next big thing” in dietary advice. In that sense, the recent buzz about agave and coconut sugar is probably about as welcome as the return of fanny packs and acid-washed jeans. Can’t we just enjoy our flaxseeds and salmon for a while? Nope — because when it comes to the cult of health and wellness, the big wheels are always turning. So, to get you up speed on the lingo before your next lunch date with a Hollywood celebrity trainer, here’s a primer on some of the hot new sugar substitutes that are taking up shelf space in health food stores these days.    Link    

Sneaky sugar: We’re eating too much, and we don’t even know it (May 1, 2013) by Linda Carroll – Americans may be heeding warnings to avoid sugary drinks, but many are still consuming way too much “added sugar” in their food, a new government report shows.   And most of those sugary foods are being consumed at home rather than at restaurants, said study co-author Bethene Ervin, a nutritional epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.    Link

Sweetened drinks associated with increased depression risk (Jan. 21, 2013) by Dr. Mercola – Foods have an immense impact on your body and your brain, and eating whole foods … is the best way to support your mental and physical health.   Avoiding sugar (particularly fructose) and artificial sweeteners is in my view, based on the evidence, a very important aspect of preventing and/or treating depression. Both contribute to chronic inflammation, and can wreak havoc with your brain function.     Link

Brain image study: Fructose may spur overeating     Associated Press (Jan. 1, 2013) by  Marilynn Marchione and Mike Stobbe – This  is your brain on sugar — for real. Scientists have used imaging tests to show for the first time that fructose, a sugar that saturates the American diet, can trigger brain changes that may lead to overeating.  After drinking a fructose beverage, the brain doesn’t register the feeling of being full as it does when simple glucose is consumed, researchers found.    Link

How sugar may make you stupid    Toronto Star (Oct 21, 2012)   by Lorianna De GiorgioBad news sugar lovers: a diet high in fructose won’t just make you fat, it may also make you stupid, according to research out of California.  A steady high-fructose diet disrupts the brain’s cognitive abilities, leading to poor learning and memory retention, says a study by Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a neurosurgery professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Rahul Agrawal, a visiting UCLA postdoctoral fellow from India.   Link

Obese brain may thwart weight loss: Diets high in saturated fat, refined sugar may cause brain changes that fuel overconsumption   ScienceDaily (Oct. 1, 2012) — “Betcha can’t eat just one!” For obese people trying to lose weight, advertising slogans such as this one hit a bit too close to home as it describes the daily battle to resist high calorie foods.  But new research by Terry Davidson, director of American University’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, indicates that diets that lead to obesity — diets high in saturated fat and refined sugar — may cause changes to the brains of obese people that in turn may fuel overconsumption of those same foods and make weight loss more challenging.   Link

Is Alzheimers caused by too much sugar? How the American diet is as bad for our brains as our bodies  AlterNet (Sep. 14, 2012) by Tom Philpott  (Article first appeared in Mother Jones) – Yet  another reason to load up on fruit and veggies—and work to wrest federal farm policy (which encourages the production of cheap sweeteners and fats)—from the grip of agribusiness.    Egged on by massive food-industry marketing budgets, Americans eat a lot of sugary foods. We know the habit is quite probably wrecking our bodiess, triggering high rates of overweight and diabetes. Is it also wrecking our brains?   Link

Other names for sugar: fruit concentrate, maltose, dextrose, syrup and more    The Huffington Post  (Sep. 13, 2012) by Meredith Melnick – If  you keep up with health news, you probably know to look out for added sugar in your diet — a major culprit in the growing rates of obesity, diabetes and associated conditions like fatty liver disease. And if you know about added sugar, you probably also know that — excuse the bastardized Shakespeare — sugar by any other name tastes just as sweet. That’s because it is — any sugar or full calorie sweetener affects the body in the same way. Some formulations just have a worse reputation.  Link

Miracle sweetener stevia may have a sour note   Reuters (May 23, 2012) by Sybille de La Hamaide – The meteoric rise of a natural, healthy alternative to sugar – a holy grail for the food industry – might just be a little too good to be true. In two years stevia, a plant used for centuries by Paraguay’s Guarani Indians, has shot to prominence in products by Coca-Cola, Danone and Merisant.  Encouraged by distrust of artificial sweeteners and demand for natural products, they have turned to extract of stevia, which is up to 300 times sweeter than traditional beet or cane sugar.  The problems are the aftertaste, the cost, and possible hurdles in defining it as natural in some European Union markets.  Link

‘Obesity genes’ may influence food choices, eating patterns    ScienceDaily (May 23, 2012) — Blame it on your genes? Researchers … say individuals with variations in certain “obesity genes” tend to eat more meals and snacks, consume more calories per day and often choose the same types of high fat, sugary foods.  Their study, published online by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and appearing in the June issue, reveals certain variations within the FTO and BDNF genes — which have been previously linked to obesity — may play a role in eating habits that can cause obesity.  The findings suggest it may be possible to minimize genetic risk by changing one’s eating patterns and being vigilant about food choices, in addition to adopting other healthy lifestyle habits, like regular physical activity.  Link

This is your brain on sugar: study in rats shows high-fructose diet sabotages learning, memory   ScienceDaily (May 15, 2012) — Attention, college students cramming between midterms and finals: Binging on soda and sweets for as little as six weeks may make you stupid.  Link

Is this FDA-approved sweetener causing brain damage? (Mar. 24, 2012) by Dr. Mercola – Aspartame is the most popular artificial sweetener in the United States, but I think a more apt description would be the most dangerous food additive on the U.S. market.  Used in more than 6,000 products (often sugar-free or “diet” versions), millions of people consume this toxin, believing it to be a healthy alternative to sugar.  But people would likely stop using it in droves if they only knew the truth, which is that since its discovery aspartame has been linked to brain tumors.  And just this month, research was published in Drug and Chemical Toxicology showing yet another route by which aspartame damages your brain …  Link

Regulating our sugar habit   New York Times (Feb. 26, 2012) by Mark Bittman – When Ronda Storms, a Republican state senator in Florida, is accused of nanny-state-ism for her efforts on behalf of a sane diet, it’s worth noting. When she introduced a bill to prevent people in Florida from spending food stamps on unhealthy items like candy, chips and soda, she broke ranks: few of her party have taken on Big Food…Yet she makes sense. “It’s just bad public policy to allow unfettered access to all kinds of food,” she told me over the phone. “Why should we cut all of these programs and continue to pay for people to use food stamps to buy potato chips, Oreos and Mountain Dew? The goal is to feed good food to hungry people.”   Link

Is fructose being blamed unfairly for obesity epidemic?     ScienceDaily (Feb. 21, 2012) — Is fructose being unfairly blamed for the obesity epidemic? Or do we just eat and drink too many calories?  Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital reviewed more than 40 published studies on whether the fructose molecule itself causes weight gain…”Fructose may not be to blame for obesity…It may just be calories from any food source. Overconsumption is the issue.”   Link

Societal control of sugar essential to ease public health burden, experts urge    ScienceDaily (Feb. 1, 2012) — Sugar should be controlled like alcohol and tobacco to protect public health, according to a team of UCSF researchers, who maintain in a new report that sugar is fueling a global obesity pandemic, contributing to 35 million deaths annually worldwide from non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  Link

High levels of fructose consumption by adolescents may put them at cardiovascular risk, evidence suggests     ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2012) – Evidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk is present in the blood of adolescents who consume a lot of fructose, a scenario that worsens in the face of excess belly fat, researchers report…Fructose, or fruit sugar, is found in fruits and veggies but also in high fructose corn syrup, the sweetener used liberally in processed foods and beverages. Researchers suspect growing bodies crave the cheap, strong sweetener and companies often target young consumers in ads.   Link

Food addiction: Could it explain why 70 percent of Americans are fat? (Oct. 16, 2010) by Mark Hyman, MD – Our government and food industry both encourage more “personal responsibility” when it comes to battling the obesity epidemic and its associated diseases. They say people should exercise more self-control, make better choices, avoid overeating, and reduce their intake of sugar-sweetened drinks and processed food. We are led to believe that there is no good food or bad food, that it’s all a matter of balance. This sounds good in theory, except for one thing…New discoveries in science prove that industrially processed, sugar- fat- and salt-laden food — food that is made in a plant rather than grown on a plant, as Michael Pollan would say — is biologically addictive.  Link

Too much sugar increases heart disease risk:  Eating a lot of sugar not only makes you fat, it may also increase a person’s risk for heart disease, U.S. researchers said (April 20, 2010) – They said people who ate more added sugar were more likely to have higher risk factors for heart disease, such as higher triglycerides and lower levels of protective high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol.    Link

High-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain, researchers find   ScienceDaily (Mar. 22, 2010) — A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.  Link

Sugar may be bad but this sweetener is far more deadly (Feb. 17, 2010) by Dr. Joseph Mercola — Study after study are taking their place in a growing lineup of scientific research demonstrating that consuming high-fructose corn syrup is the fastest way to trash your health. It is now known without a doubt that sugar in your food, in all it’s myriad of forms, is taking a devastating toll.   And fructose in any form — including high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and crystalline fructose — is the worst of the worst!   Link

Chocoholic mice fear no pain   ScienceDaily (Feb. 11, 2010) — Ever get a buzz from eating chocolate? A study published in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience has shown that chocolate-craving mice are ready to tolerate electric shocks to get their fix.   Link

Intense sweets taste especially good to some kids   ScienceDaily (Feb. 11, 2010) — New research from the Monell Center reports that children’s response to intense sweet taste is related to both a family history of alcoholism and the child’s own self-reports of depression.   The findings illustrate how liking for sweets differs among children based on underlying familial and biological factors.   Link

‘Spoonful of sugar’ makes the worms’ life span go down   ScienceDaily (Nov. 5, 2009) — If worms are any indication, all the sugar in your diet could spell much more than obesity and type 2 Diabetes. Researchers reporting in the November issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication, say it might also be taking years off your life.    Link

High-fat, high-sugar foods alter brain receptors    ScienceDaily (Aug. 6, 2009) — Over consumption of fatty, sugary foods leads to changes in brain receptors, according to new animal research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  The new research results are being presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB). The results have implications for understanding bulimia and other binge eating disorders.   Link

Heat forms potentially harmful substance in high-fructose corn syrup, bee study finds   ScienceDaily (Aug. 27, 2009) — Researchers have established the conditions that foster formation of potentially dangerous levels of a toxic substance in the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that is often fed to honey bees. Their study, which appears in the current issue of ACS’ bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, may also have implications for soft drinks and dozens of other human foods that contain HFCS. The substance, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), forms mainly from heating fructose.   Link

Eating high levels of fructose impairs memory in rats   ScienceDaily (July 16, 2009) — Researchers at Georgia State University have found that diets high in fructose — a type of sugar found in most processed foods and beverages — impaired the spatial memory of adult rats.  Link

Dieters’ best intentions hijacked by their brains (Apr. 20, 2009) — New research suggests millions have their best intentions foiled by “conditioned hypereating” – the drive to eat high-fat, high-sugar foods even when they’re not hungry.  Link

New sweetener not so sweet for your diet (Apr. 17, 2009) — Stevia, an extract nearly 300 times more potent than sugar, the no-fat, no-calorie sweetener that soda and juice lovers have been thirsting for? No, say nutritionists.  Link

Not so sweet: over-consumption of sugar linked to aging    ScienceDaily (Mar. 9, 2009) — We know that lifespan can be extended in animals by restricting calories such as sugar intake. Now, according to a study published in the journal PLoS Genetics, Université de Montréal scientists have discovered that it’s not sugar itself that is important in this process but the ability of cells to sense its presence.  Link

Sugar can be addictive: animal studies show sugar dependence   ScienceDaily (Dec. 11, 2008) — A Princeton University scientist will present new evidence today demonstrating that sugar can be an addictive substance, wielding its power over the brains of lab animals in a manner similar to many drugs of abuse.  Link


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