FN1021 - Sugar & Alternative Sweeteners.docx

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Foods and Nutrition
Foods and Nutrition 1021
Noelle Martin

Controversy: “Sugar & Alternative Sweeteners – Are They Bad For You?”  Preference for sweets is inborn, thus consumption of sugars / sweeteners are relatively high  Steady upward trend in sugar consumption parallels a dramatic increase in purchases of commercially prepared foods and beverages with added sugars  80% of this increase is from soft drinks and sugar-sweetened fruit drinks  Artificial sweeteners were created to reduce sugar intakes, however instead of substituting people will choose both  DRI recommends a carbohydrate intake of 45 – 65% of calories and only a max of 25% from added sugars  WHO’s advice: consume 10% or less of total calories of added sugar  Sugar accusations: promotes / maintain obesity, cause / aggravate diabetes, increase risk of heart disease, disrupt behavior, and cause dental decay / gum disease Does Sugar Cause Obesity?  Diets high in added sugars consume more calories each day  Increase in intake of added sugars is accounted for largely by a dramatic rise in high-fructose corn syrup intake – soft drinks  Greater use of this sweetener parallels unprecedented gains in body fatness in the population  Overweight kids / teens increase their obesity risk by 60% with each additional “sweetened” drink they add to their daily diet  Rise in a nation’s sugar intakes gives rise in income and greater consumption of calories, processed foods, meats and fats  Weight gain is impossible to tell whether it is from sugar, excess calories from other sources, or too little physical activity  An experiment on lab rats showed that sugar stimulates overeating when food is unlimited and the excess calories cause weight gain  Sugar stimulates the pleasure and reward area of the brain in animals  This mechanism could explain why some people crave sweets  More research is still needed before it can be said that sugar causes obesity Does Sugar Cause Type 2 Diabetes?  Sucrose elicits only a moderate glycemic effect, sugar alone is not culpable in type 2 diabetes causation  If a high energy intake from added sugars causes gains of excess body fat, then sugar does elevate risk of type 2 Does Eating Sugar Increase the Risk of Heart Disease?  Some people respond to high sugar diets by releasing saturated fats into their blood, common in obese people who secrete abnormal amounts of insulin  Insulin increase liver’s synthesis of saturated fat and travels into bloodstream  Some people respond by having their protective blood lipid levels drop (good cholesterol), however the amount of sugar to do this is double the nation’s average intake  There has been no conclusive research to prove that an average intake of sugar adversely affects heart health in healthy humans  Saturated fat remains the major dietary culprit, along with genetics What About Sugar and Behavior?  Sugar alters the levels of chemicals in the brain that affect mood, induces nutrient deficiencies, stimulates release of series of hormones the body secretes after sugar consumption, and provides pure energy  Sugar itself does not negatively affect behavior, in a study sugar administered to normal children calmed them down  In adults, carbohydrate-rich foods improve both mood and memory  While occasional behavioral reactions to sugar may be possible, studies failed to show any consistent effects Does Sugar Cause Dental Caries?  Caries develop as acids from bacterial growth in the mouth eat into tooth enamel  Bacteria forms colonies (plaque) established on tooth surfaces and multiply / affix  Eventually, acid of plaque creates pits that deepen into cavities  Below the gum line, plaque works its way down until the acid erodes the roots of teeth and the jawbone loosening the teeth and leading to gum infection  Bacteria thrive on carbohydrates, not only sugar but starch as well  Important factors: length of time food is in the mouth, food’s composition, stickiness, how often it is eaten, whether or not teeth are brushed after  Bacteria produce acid for 20 to 30 minutes after exposure to sugar  Best advice: Brush teeth after eating, regular brushing (2x a day) and flossing is more effective than restricting sugary foods  New nutrition-labeling regulations permit a health claim for the role of sugar alcohols related to dental caries  Total sugar intake does play a major role in the prevalence of dental caries  Sugar = energy source for tooth-decaying bacteria Personal Strategy for Using Sugar  Of the five accusations, only one is proven (tooth decay)  DRI suggests you limit calories from added sugars, not avoid them altogether Evidence Concerning Sugar Alcohols  New low-sugar products depend on sugar alcohols for bulking and sweetening  Contrary to their name, these sweeteners do not contain ethanol  Only members o
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