Monday, March 2, 2009

Want to fatten up? Eat sugar.

No one I know wants to fatten up and if someone needed too I would not recommend sugary foods as the solution. They provide "empty" calories. Neither ordinary sugar (sucrose) nor high-fructose corn syrup contains any nutrients other than calories. So we eat sweets and then look around for more of them or other foods to really satisfy our appetites.

Today's recommendation for sugar is about eight teaspoons of sugars a day. A 12-ounce can of regular soda or a 20-ounce bottle of VitaminWater will provide this. The food industry adds sugar to many foods preferring high-fructose corn syrup to sucrose because it is a more reliable and cheaper product than sugar. It is more stable in acids like sodas and fruit drinks and it prolongs the shelf life of processed foods. According to Michael Jacobson, director of the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public, "If the food industry got rid of all the high-fructose corn syrup and replaced it with sugar, we'd have the same problems we have now with obesity, diabetes and heart disease." He says, "It's an urban myth that high-fructose corn syrup has a special toxicity."
What we need to do is cut down on both, since the average intake is around 20 teaspoons, quite a bit over the recommendation. The extra calories lead to extra pounds and this is definitely part of our problem. And as we all know, Americans do not need to fattened up. We have done that already.

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