Category Archives: Sugar Consumption

Sugary drink warning labels may make parents stop and think twice

Sugary Drink WarningWe know what’s not good for us. Yet we still continue to do it. If those things weren’t true, FoodFacts.com knows that there would be several world conditions that would completely self-correct. We would all consistently choose not to smoke, never to consume too many calories and to avoid all kinds of controversial ingredients. We would all choose to exercise. And we wouldn’t overindulge in anything, ever. The world, however, is not a perfect place. Sometimes we need reminders to help us remain committed to our health and well-being. Consider, for a moment, the idea of a warning label on sugary beverages. Sugary drink warning labels may make parents stop and think twice.

Eating healthfully in America is hard. We have to contend with constant sugary and oily temptations, while pervasive ads coax us to eat these items day in and out.

The public health community generally agrees that regulations and taxes could help remind us of the potential health toll of the unhealthiest items — like beverages high in sugar — and keep us from consuming too much of them.

Lately, the idea of affixing a health warning label to sugary beverages also has been getting traction. So far, no city or state has been able to pass such a measure. But several are trying. California, New York and Baltimore all have legislation in the works requiring these labels on sugary drinks.

Until now, the effectiveness of such a label has been presumptive, drawing from the large body of research showing that warning labels on tobacco and alcohol products work.

But research appearing in the journal Pediatrics Thursday suggests that a warning label on sugary beverages might indeed deter people from buying the products.

The study was an online survey of about 2,400 parents from diverse backgrounds who were asked to choose a beverage for their child from an imaginary vending machine. The participants were randomly assigned one of six possible beverages: one with no label, one with a calorie label and four with different variations on a text warning label. The criteria for the (imaginary) beverages were drawn from proposed California legislation: any sweetened nonalcoholic drink with added sweeteners with 75 or more calories per 12 fluid ounces.

According to the researchers, led by Christina Roberto, assistant professor of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, significantly fewer parents in the study chose sugar-sweetened beverages if there was a warning label on it: just 40 percent, versus 60 percent who chose one with no label, and 53 percent who chose one with a calorie label.

“We were surprised that the warning labels had as big an impact as they did,” Roberto tells us. “I think the study shows us that calorie labels aren’t terribly effective, and warning labels might have a bigger impact.” The impact was actually two-fold: The labels educated consumers about the health harms of drinking sugary beverages and influenced their purchasing behavior as a result.
But while promising, the study offers only a vague idea of how warning labels might work in the real world, if a city like Baltimore or a state like California were to implement them. Roberto says she suspects the effect wouldn’t be as strong. “We certainly need more data to know for sure,” she says.

On Monday, a Baltimore councilman introduced legislation that would require businesses “that sell or advertise sugar-sweetened sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, juices, coffees and teas to post signs warning consumers that they contribute to tooth decay, obesity and diabetes,” the Baltimore Sun reported.

Leana Wen is the city’s health commissioner, and she’s hearing a lot of support from physicians and parents in Baltimore for the proposed policy. “Parents are telling us they would like information to level the playing field. They want to have accurate information for themselves and their children,” says Wen. “The evidence tells us that [other kinds of] warning labels on tobacco and alcohol products do have an effect on parents and consumer choices.”

But, Wen says, the beverage industry has been pushing back hard in Baltimore, lobbying legislators to reject the warning label policy and “frightening our small businesses, telling them they’re going to be hurt by this and lose business.”

It’s not clear whether the bill will make it out of committee. But Roberto says that her study revealed that support for such policies might be broad. Some 73 percent of the participants said they were in favor of a policy requiring a warning label on sugar-sweetened beverages.

The idea that similar labels do have powerful effects certainly makes this a worthwhile effort. It’s a reminder that may have a great impact on the public health … a small reminder might just go a long way.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/01/14/463061869/warning-labels-might-help-parents-buy-fewer-sugary-drinks-study-finds

Does the food industry control our cravings?

FoodFacts.com has read a lot about the possibility of the food industry’s role in the obesity crisis. We’ve read a lot of information about the food industry and its involvement in that crisis. Does the food industry control our cravings to capitalize even further from the American consumer?

America on the Scale, host Jeremy Hobson spoke with investigative reporter Michael Moss of The New York Times.

For Moss’s book, Salt Sugar Fat, he went inside the industry and spoke with food inventors and CEOs about how the industry has shaped what people eat and capitalized on how American eating habits have changed — for the worse and, maybe now, for the better. Highlights from their conversation follow, edited for brevity and clarity.

On the food industry’s level of responsibility for the obesity epidemic
I was really struck by how many people inside the industry itself hold their industry totally accountable, totally culpable for this surge in obesity that we’ve had for the last 30 years now. Clearly, there are other contributing factors. Clearly, there are things like exercise and personal responsibility. But they — being insiders — came to believe that all of the effort they put into making their product so irresistible, so tasty, so perfectly engineered to get us to not just like them but to want more and more of them, laid that responsibility directly at their feet.

On what it means to “perfectly engineer” food. They would hire people like Howard Moskowitz, trained in high math at Queens College and experimental psychology at Harvard. Howard was one of the people responsible for some of the biggest icons in the grocery store.

For example, he walked me through his recent creation of a new soda flavor for Dr. Pepper. … He started with no less than 59 variations of sweetness, each one slightly different than the next, subjected those to 3,000 taste tests around the country, did his high math regression analysis thing, put the data in the computer. And out comes this bell-shaped curve where the perfect amount of sweetness — not too little, not too much — is at the very top of the curve.

And it’s Howard who coined the expression “bliss point” to capture that perfect amount of sweetness that would send us over the moon, their products flying off the shelf.

On adding a sweetness “bliss point” to foods that didn’t used to be sweet
It’s not that they engineer bliss points for sweetness in things like soda, ice cream, cookies — things we know and expect to be sweet. The food companies have marched around the grocery store adding sweetness, engineering bliss points to products that didn’t used to be sweet. So now bread has added sugar and a bliss point for sweetness. Yogurt can be as sweet as ice cream for some brands. And pasta sauce — my gosh, there are some brands with the equivalent of sugar from a couple of Oreo cookies in one half-cup serving.

And what this does, nutritionists say, is create this expectation in us that everything should be sweet. And this is especially difficult for kids who are hard-wired to the sweet taste. So when you drag their little butts over to the produce aisle and try to get them to eat some of that stuff we all should be eating more of — Brussels sprouts and broccoli, which have some of the other basic tastes like sour and bitter — you get a rebellion on your hands.

On the backlash the food industry now faces
One of the fascinating things I came across in my research is that it was none other than Philip Morris — for years and years, it was the largest food manufacturer in North America through its acquisition of General Foods and then Kraft — it was none other than the tobacco managers at Philip Morris who turned to their food managers [in] 1999 and warned them that they were going to face as much trouble over salt, sugar, fat, obesity as they were then [facing] over tobacco smoking and health problems. Now we’re starting to see that come home for the food companies.

Earlier this year, almost all of them stood before investors and reported dismal earnings. And the most forthright among the heads of the food companies attributed that decline to consumers caring more and more about what they put in their bodies, wanting to eat healthier, and acting on those decisions by changing their purchasing habits, which is really hitting the food giants hard.

It wouldn’t be unfair to say that food companies are “pre-conditioning” consumers to want more. More of their products. More Salt. More Sugar. More Fat. More of the things that have been linked to obesity. In doing so, they’ve assured themselves an ongoing source of profits that continually crave their products. There is good news though. Even in the face of those salt, sugar, fat addictions, consumers everywhere are demanding better quality from food manufacturers worldwide. We’re more concerned, more educated and more vocal about our needs than ever before. And we’re only just beginning to use our voices. That’s how consumers everywhere are answering the food companies that are trying to control our eating habits.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/12/16/459981099/how-the-food-industry-helps-engineer-our-cravings

Not all calories are created equally … sugar calories are much worse than other calories

sugar caloriesJust in time for Halloween, FoodFacts.com wants parents and caregivers in our community to take note of some important research information regarding children and the consumption of added sugar. Fascinating information … just not very pro Halloween candy consumption. It might make you think twice about your stance that sugary sweet haul that’s about to enter your home. Sugar calories are much worse than other calories when it comes to our children.

Children are manifesting increased rates of adult diseases like hypertension or high triglycerides. And they are getting diseases that used to be unheard of in children, like Type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. So why is this happening?

Everyone assumes this is the result of the obesity epidemic – too many calories in, too few out. Children and adults are getting fat, so they’re getting sick. And it is generally assumed that no one specific food causes it, because “a calorie is a calorie”.

The role that sugar plays in contributing to chronic disease has been studied for years and a research group at the University of California, San Francisco has just published research in the journal Obesity that challenges this assumption. If calories come from sugar, they just aren’t the same.

It’s clear that the cause of rising rates of health conditions like Type 2 diabetes isn’t as simple as people just eating too many calories.

Obesity is increasing globally at 1% per year, while diabetes is increasing globally at 4% per year. If diabetes were just a subset of obesity, how can you explain its more rapid increase?
And certain countries are obese without being diabetic (such as Iceland, Mongolia and Micronesia), while other countries are diabetic without being obese (India, Pakistan and China, for instance). Twelve percent of people in China have diabetes, but the obesity rate is much lower. The US is the fattest nation on Earth and our diabetes prevalence is 9.3%.
While 80% of the obese population in the US is metabolically ill (meaning they have conditions like diabetes, hypertension, lipid problems and heart disease), 20% is not. Conversely, 40% of the normal weight population has metabolic syndrome.

If normal weight people have these conditions, how then are they related to obesity? Indeed, we now know that obesity is a marker rather than a cause for these diseases.

Epidemiological studies have found a correlation between added sugar consumption and health conditions like cardiovascular disease. So could cutting excess sugar out of our diets reverse metabolic syndrome?

The group at UCSF studied 43 Latino and African-American children with obesity and metabolic syndrome over a 10-day period. They started by assessing their metabolic status – insulin and glucose levels, as well as blood fats and other markers for disease, like lactate and free fatty acids – on their home diet.

For the next nine days, each child ate an individual tailored diet. Their meals provided the same number of calories and protein and fat content as their usual home diet. They were given the same percentage of carbohydrate, but starch was substituted for sugar. The big difference: this special diet had no added sugar. This means their diet had no sugar from sugarcane or high fructose corn syrup. The kids consumed foods such as fruits and other whole foods that naturally contain some sugar. These foods also have fiber, which reduces the rate of sugar absorption, so they don’t affect the body the same way that added sugar does.

Chicken teriyaki was taken out of the meal plans. Turkey hot dogs were put in. Sweetened yogurt came out. Baked potato chips were put in. Donuts came out. Bagels were put in. They were given unhealthy processed food, just with no added sugar. Each child was given a scale to take home, and if their weight was declining, they were made to eat more. Then they were studied again.

The children had eaten the same number of calories and had not lost any weight, and yet every aspect of their metabolic health improved. With added sugar cut out of their diet for 10 days, blood pressure, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad cholesterol”), insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance all improved. And remember, they kids weren’t given just leafy greens and tofu – they were fed processed foods, just ones without sugar.
Further studies are needed to see if this will also work in adults, and if the benefits are short-term or long-term.

While people can identify sugar as unhealthy and understand that there’s much too much added sugar in our diets, they are often unclear as to why. The prevailing concept that “calories are calories” is being proven false over time. This information clearly points out that added sugar is having negative effects on the health of children by illustrating how removing that sugar from unhealthier diets has positive effects for the kids involved. That’s pretty powerful.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sugar-calories_56316be5e4b00aa54a4cb4b4?ir=Healthy%2BLiving&section=healthy-living

Taco Bell thinks we should be drinking Starburst candy.

TacoBellStarburstCherryFreeze-600x350For FoodFacts.com, a Starburst Cherry Freeze is a doubly appalling concept. Think about it for a minute – the nutrition website whose blog is full of damning information on sugary beverages cannot possibly like a sugary frozen beverage associated with candy (more sugar). We really can’t think of any reason why consumers would embrace this concept either.

Just in case the idea of that double shot of sugar isn’t enough to turn you off to it, we went to the Taco Bell website to find out the facts behind the Starburst Cherry Freeze.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                190
Fat:                         0 grams
Sugar:                    51 grams

These nutrition facts are applicable to the 16 ounce size. Almost 13 TEASPOONS of sugar in a cup. That certainly puts the Starburst Cherry Freeze squarely in the sugary beverage category.

Going further, though, the ingredient list could be very important here. Starburst candies are brightly colored and this is a Starburst Cherry Freeze, so we’re envisioning something with color going on behind the scenes.

Ingredients: High fructose corn syrup, water, natural and artificial flavor, citric acid, yucca extract, quillaia extract, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (P), red 40 (C), calcium disodium EDTA (PF).

That color we were suspicious of is definitely in there. But it’s really worse than that. There are only 11 ingredients in this beverage and 6 of them are controversial. The Taco Bell Starburst Cherry Freeze isn’t really a beverage. It’s a frozen chemical concoction.

Not touching this one.

https://www.tacobell.com/food/nutrition/info

Another great reason to keep sugary beverages away from kids

SoftDrinkTaxMost people will acknowledge that there’s no reason for anyone to consume inordinate amounts of sugar in beverages. This is especially true when it comes to the youngest among us. Children and sugary drinks should not develop a relationship. And yet, despite that knowledge, we know that kids are consuming the beverages that everyone should be avoiding in large quanitites.

In the first study to investigate blood lipid levels in association with consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in a racially and ethnically diverse sample of Boston area schoolchildren, researchers found there was an inverse association between SSB intake changes and HDL-cholesterol increases (HDL-C is the “good cholesterol”). The study’s results also showed that a higher intake of SSBs was associated with a higher triglyceride concentration.

Notably, the researchers found that reducing SSB intake by at least one serving a week was associated with a greater increase in HDL-C over a 12-month period. The findings reinforce the importance of minimizing consumption of SSBs among children and adolescents. The paper, published in The Journal of Nutrition on September 2, notes that additional longitudinal research is needed in large, multi-ethnic samples of children to better understand the health implications of reducing SSBs.

“A clustering of risk factors including high triglycerides, low HDL-C, insulin resistance, and obesity, especially if begun in childhood, puts one at higher risk for future cardiovascular disease. In this study, we sought to better understand the relationship between lipid levels and SSB consumption in a population of schoolchildren in which health disparities were likely, and where future interventions could help improve diet quality and disease risk,” said Maria Van Rompay, PhD, the first author on the study, and a research associate and instructor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

While previous research has linked the intake of SSBs to greater cardiometabolic risk in adults, there is sparse longitudinal evidence in children. To add to the understanding of the phenomenon in children, the researchers examined the characteristics associated with consumption of SSBs in the multi-ethnic sample of children and adolescents, as well as mean SSB intake and changes in SSB intake with regard to key risk factors — plasma HDL-C and triglycerides — over a 12-month-period.

The impact of SSBs on obesity and other risk factors in children, including dyslipidemia (for example, a high level of triglycerides and low HDL-C in the blood) has been the subject of previous observational and descriptive studies. In addition, SSBs have been the main source of added sugars in children’s diets in the U.S., accounting for as much as 10% of total energy intake (118 kcal for 6 to 11 year olds, 225 kcal for 12 to 19 year olds) in 2010.

In the new study, children ages 8 to 15 years were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind vitamin D supplementation trial, the Daily D Health Study, led by senior author Jennifer Sacheck, PhD, associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Baseline SSB intake was self-reported using the Block Food Frequency Questionnaire for Children, and fasting blood lipid concentrations were taken in 613 children and adolescents.

Longitudinal measures were collected over 12 months in 380 of these youth. Sixty-eight percent of the children were from low socioeconomic status (SES) households; almost half were overweight or obese; 59% were from non-white/Caucasian racial/ethnic groups. Findings included:

• At baseline, approximately 85% of children/adolescents reported consuming SSBs during the past week. 18% of the sample consumed 7 or more servings per week, or approximately one serving or more daily.
• Greater SSB consumption was associated with older age, late puberty/post-puberty status and lower SES. SSB intake did not differ across racial and ethnic groups.
• Several characteristics did differ by race and ethnicity: puberty status, SES, body mass index (BMI) and sedentary time, along with HDL-C and triglyceride concentrations.
• Among 613 children/adolescents at baseline, higher triglycerides were linked with higher SSB intake, after accounting for demographic and behavioral factors, BMI, total calories and measures of diet quality.
• Over the 12-month period, the mean SSB intake was not associated with lipid changes; however, the increase in HDL-C was greatest among children who decreased their intake by one or more 12-oz. servings of SSBs per week compared to those whose intake stayed the same or increased.

• Greater SSB intake was associated with lower SES, higher total calorie consumption, lower fruit/vegetable intake, and a more sedentary lifestyle.

The researchers note that absence of an association between mean SSB intake and lipid changes over 12 months may be due to measurement error, e.g., possible misclassification of SSB intake or an under-reporting of SSBs especially from children who were overweight or obese.

Senior author Jennifer Sacheck commented, “Importantly, not only are most SSBs high in sugar and devoid of nutritional value, but they are displacing other foods and beverages that offer high nutritional quality, which are critical for children’s growth and development, further exacerbating the potential harmful health effects of SSBs.”

FoodFacts.com wants to remind everyone caring for children that sugary beverages are not only unnecessary, they’re actually harmful. Giving our children the best nutritional start in life is one of our responsibilities to the generations to come. Our legacy should include a healthy lifestyle.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150902141101.htm

Wendy’s Blackberry Lemonade … not the best way to beat the heat

THE WENDY'S COMPANYFoodFacts.com has noticed a trend in fast food lately. Chains seem to be introducing beverages outside of the soda category in an effort to listen to their consumers who are moving away from sodas in their beverage choices. We do like the trend, but some of the beverages have proven fairly questionable.

Today we’re taking a look at Wendy’s Blackberry Lemonade. In the heat of the summer this certainly sounds like a great choice with summery blackberries and old fashioned lemonade combining to quench our thirst. We feel like we have to investigate before we indulge though. So here’s the inside information.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:              390
Fat:                       0 grams
Sugar:                  93 grams

Wow. If we order the medium sized Blackberry Lemonade (depicted in these nutrition facts), we’ll be consuming over 23 TEASPOONS OF SUGAR!!!! We really don’t like this at all and we can’t think of anyone that would.

Ingredients:
Lemonade (sugar, water, lemon juice, lemon pulp, lemon juice concentrate, natural flavor), Blackberry Syrup (sugar, water, strawberries, blackberry puree, corn syrup, ginger, modified cornstarch, blackberry juice concentrate, natural flavor, raspberries, citric acid, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate [preservatives]).

We’re not particularly fond of the ingredient list either. Come on Wendy’s, why do we need natural flavors when the lemonade contains actual lemon juice and lemon pulp and the blackberry syrup contains real fruit? Why can’t that be flavorful enough? And we don’t understand the need for the sodium benzoate either.

Sorry Wendy’s, the new Blackberry Lemonade did not make our list of summer thirst quenchers. We would appreciate the opportunity to report on just one of these non-soda fast food beverages in a positive way. It appears, though, that we’ll have to keep waiting for that opportunity. This one is certainly not it.

https://www.wendys.com/en-us/nutrition-info

This is your body on Coke … does the infographic take things too far?

stopcolaFoodFacts.com is sure you’ve heard about it by now. The internet has been going crazy over a simple infographic that spells out in plain language exactly what’s happening inside your body after you drink a can of Coke.

A simple infographic about Coca-Cola has gone viral on the Internet and surely who reads it will make up his or her mind not to go for the soft drink any more even though it is a known fact people have enjoyed it for more than 129 years.

The not-at-all-pretty infographic reveals effects of Coke in human body systems within an hour after consumption. It says when one consumes the recommended ten teaspoons of sugar a day, blood sugar rises after 10 minutes and it results in a burst of insulin. This causes the release of more sugar in the bloodstream and thereafter blockage of adenosine receptors in the brain to prevent drowsiness.

The infographic reveals further the body raises production of dopamine after 45 minutes of consumption to stimulate brain’s pleasure centers. It also notes here that this is similar to how our body reacts to heroin.

What else? The extra sugar and artificial chemicals in the Coca-Cola as well as other such drinks further stimulate calcium to leave the system.

After one hour the diuretic properties of the caffeine is said to kick in and forces an individual to pee to deplete the water contained in the Coke. This also releases from the body the electrolytes that could otherwise be used by the body for nutrition.

The infographic suggests drinking Coke to get relief from thirst never replenishes the body, but in fact it further dehydrates the nutrients that helps in building strong bones and teeth.

So is this infographic worth the viral rounds it’s been sent on all over the internet? Is it telling people the truth?

Well … yes and no. There IS plenty of misinformation being disseminated here. We do feel that we should shed some light on various aspects of the infographic that are taking things just a tad too far.

For instance, no one ever vomited from drinking a beverage with ten teaspoons of sugar (or more for that matter) that did not contain phosphoric acid. Just ask anyone who really loves McDonald’s Chocolate Shakes and only orders the largest size available. That person is ingesting over 19 TEASPOONS OF SUGAR in that 22 ounce beverage that contains no phosphoric acid at all … and he’s not throwing up from the sugar.

At 20 minutes in, the infographic states that your insulin levels go up and cause your liver to create fat.

While your liver may well be creating fat, it’s not the insulin spike that’s the problem. It’s about how your liver metabolizes fructose.

There are plenty of other examples of overstatements in this infographic. FoodFacts.com does feel compelled to point these things out as we do believe in transparency in all things … even though we don’t think anyone should be drinking soda.

And while the overstatements, or embellishments, don’t help anyone make that case, everyone does need to know that soda and too much sugar ARE detrimental to your health.

The infographic went for drama. And that got a lot of attention. And that’s good. We need to pay attention to the idea that we shouldn’t be drinking soda and we need to get rid of the idea that it isn’t a big deal. It is.

http://www.piercepioneer.com/anti-coke-infographic-goes-viral-revealing-reactions-in-our-body/44329
http://www.buzzfeed.com/carolynkylstra/heres-whats-wrong-with-that-viral-coca-cola-graphic#.tek3wrd6p

Violating first amendment rights with health warning labels on sugary drinks?

soad warningThe American Beverage Association thinks so and they’re suing the city of San Francisco to make their point.

The American Beverage Association has sued the city of San Francisco, claiming new legislation requiring health warning labels on sugary beverages and prohibiting advertisements of them on city property violates the First Amendment.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the association filed the lawsuit on Friday.

The lawsuit says the city “is trying to ensure that there is no free marketplace of ideas, but instead only a government-imposed, one-sided public ‘dialogue’ on the topic — in violation of the First Amendment.”

The Board of Supervisors in June unanimously approved an ordinance that requires health warnings on ads for sugary drinks. The measure requires those warnings be placed along ads on billboards, buses, transit shelters, posters and stadiums.
The label would read: “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.”

It’s an interesting argument. But FoodFacts.com is skeptical, at best. That warning label isn’t impeding the rights of citizens. Instead, it’s actually giving consumers the other side of the story not represented in the beverage company’s advertising. Really the ABA is arguing for the rights of beverage companies to promote their products in a very one-sided manner. The real free marketplace of ideas they speak of is one where all sides of the story are acknowledged, instead of the one where the beverage company touts the merits of its sugar-sweetened beverage without any acknowledgement of the possible health effects of said beverage.

While it sounds quite American to argue in a lawsuit that the First Amendment rights of consumers are being violated through this new legislation, it does strike us as an attempt at a smoke-and-mirrors end run around the law. The ABA isn’t arguing for our First Amendment rights as consumers. Instead, they’re arguing for the First Amendment rights of the beverage companies. Last time we checked, First Amendment rights applied to people, not corporations.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/san-francisco-soda-warnings-advertising-ban-lawsuit/

New sugar consumption recommendations out of England may be worth taking a look at for other nations

Added-fructose-is-key-driver-of-type-2-diabetes-warn-experts_strict_xxlIt appears that the U.S. isn’t the only country with an excessive sweet tooth. New recommendations have been introduced recommending another significant reduction in sugar consumption for the British population.

• Adults and children should get no more than 5%, down from the previous 10%, of their energy intake from ‘free’ sugars – this is equivalent to 5-7 teaspoons of sugar

• Sugar-sweetened beverages should be drunk as infrequently as possible by both adults and children

• The recommended fibre intake should increase to 30g per day (equivalent to about a quarter more than the old guidelines)

That’s a big change – so what happens next? And how is this linked to cancer anyway?

Importantly, there isn’t conclusive evidence that sugar itself causes cancer cells to grow or spread (despite persistent myths that claim there is). But what is crystal clear is that eating more sugary food and drink increases total energy intake, which can lead to being overweight or obese – the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Being overweight and not having a healthy, balanced diet causes 49,100 extra cases of cancer every year.

The UK consumes too much sugar. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that every age group exceeded even the previous guidelines – that people should get no more than 10% of their energy intake from free sugars. This is a particular problem for teenagers, who appear to get more than 15% of their energy intake from free sugars – three times the new guideline.

The new guidelines also reaffirm a definition for ‘free sugars’, which until now has not been a well-understood term. The Committee recommends that free sugars are defined as both sugars which are added to food by the cook, customer, or manufacturer (sugars like glucose and fructose), and sugars naturally present in products like honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices.

Halving the recommended maximum level of sugar intake is a clear statement that the Committee agrees with the evidence that reducing the amount of sugar in our diets can have clear benefits for a person’s health.

FoodFacts.com knows that the whole world has a sweet tooth. We also know that it’s growing increasingly difficult for anyone to do anything about reducing their sugar intake while still relying on processed, prepared products. It’s the same story everywhere. The only remedy is cooking real food with fresh, whole ingredients in our own kitchens. When we take control of our diets, we take control of our health.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-07-health-england-halving-sugar-consumption.html

Dunkin’s new Tropical Mango Smoothie … a great way to beat the heat?

1435117835051Summer is in full swing here in the U.S. Depending on where you live, mid-July can bring 100 degree temperatures and the kind of humidity that can make walking to your car feel like walking around inside a steam room. FoodFacts.com knows that at this time of year so many of us are looking for ways to cool down and beat the heat.

To try and help us do that, Dunkin Donuts has just introduced their new Tropical Mango Smoothie. Just the use of the word smoothie conveys the idea of a healthier beverage. That may have been true a while back, but these days you really never know what’s going on with any new food or beverage introduction until you take a closer look. So let’s explore the Tropical Mango Smoothie.

Nutrition Facts
Calories:                 260
Fat:                          2 grams
Saturated Fat:       1 gram
Sugar:                     50 grams

There are 12.5 teaspoons of sugar in the small size (that’s the only one available on the website for nutrition facts). Cooling down doesn’t mean we need to load up on sugar and this smoothie really goes overboard with sweetness. Now let’s see what Dunkin has chosen to include in the smoothie recipe.

INGREDIENTS: Water; Yogurt: Pasteurized and Cultured Skim Milk, Sugar, Cream, Nonfat Dry Milk, Stabilizer (Tapioca Starch, Carrageenan, Locust Bean Gum), Yogurt Cultures: Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus; Tropical Mango Flavored Concentrate: Water, Mango Puree Concentrate, Sugar, Passion Fruit Puree, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Yellow 5, Yellow 6; Diced Pineapple; Diced Peaches (Peaches, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid and Malic Acid to promote color retention); Liquid Cane Sugar: Pure Cane Sugar, Water, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative).

While the list isn’t overweighed with controversial ingredients, we really don’t like the idea that there are artificial colors included in the list. We’re don’t understand why it was necessary. There’s actual fruit in here – mango puree, passion fruit puree, pineapple and peaches. All of which are beautifully colored by nature. We’re assuming Dunkin didn’t think it would be yellow enough to be attractive to consumers, so including artificial color made sense. We just don’t think like that.

We’ll be turning to other cooling beverages this summer to keep ourselves from overheating. We still believe that iced water and freshly brewed iced tea are better options in the midst of rising temperatures. And if we want a smoothie, we can mix one up ourselves without Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. We’re sure we’ll like the resulting color just fine.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/dunkindonuts/en/menu/beverages/frozenbeverages/coolatta/tropical_mango_smoothie.html