Posts Tagged ‘ sugar ’

Study Finds Links Between Sweet Drinks and Premature Birth

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

A new study suggests that pregnant women who drink sweet sodas regularly may be more likely to deliver their babies too early, Reuters reports.

Researchers studied more than 60,000 pregnant women in Norway and found that those who drank one sugar-sweetened soda a day were up to 25 percent more likely to give birth prematurely than those who avoided sugary drinks. And pregnant women who drank artificially sweetened sodas daily were 11 percent more likely to give birth prematurely than those who skipped sweet drinks. But it’s not clear if sodas themselves deserve the blame.

From Reuters:

[T]he new findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cannot prove that sugary drinks cause preterm births. Lifestyle and other factors that go along with high sugar consumption may also play a role. Nutrition, maternal age, smoking, alcohol, obesity, chronic health problems like diabetes, and genetic conditions, have all been implicated in preterm birth.

The authors note in their report that women who drank the most sweetened drinks were also more likely to smoke, eat more calories, and have a higher body mass index (BMI) – a measure of weight relative to height – than those who drank fewer sugary drinks.

The researchers said they aren’t ready to recommend that pregnant women give up all sweetened soft drinks, but they do recommend that moms-to-be watch their sugar intake and eat more fruits and vegetables.

Image: Soft drink via Shutterstock.

 

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New York City Considers Soft Drink Size Ban to Help Curb Obesity

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Large sodas and other sugary beverages will no longer be allowed in New York City if a new proposal gains approval by the Board of Health.  The Associated Press reports:

The proposed first-in-the-nation ban would impose a 16-ounce limit on the size of sweetened drinks sold at restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts. It would apply to bottled drinks as well as fountain sodas.

The ban, which could take effect as soon as March, would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks or alcoholic beverages. Nor would it include drinks sold in grocery or convenience stores. Food establishments that don’t downsize would face fines of $200.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday that he ‘‘thinks it’s what the public wants the mayor to do.’’

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sodas and sugary juices are two of the six biggest culprits when it comes to the empty calories that are causing the American obesity epidemic.

Image: Large soft drink, via Shutterstock.

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Study: Too Much Sugar in Kids’ Diets

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

American kids are still eating too much high-sugar foods, a new National Center for Health Statistics study has found–and most of those foods are coming from home, not school or child care settings.  MSNBC.com reports:

For parents, that means that it’s even more important to monitor added sugars in kids’ diets, even those that aren’t so obvious.

“Added sugars are in sugar sweetened cereals, muffins – even pasta sauce,” said Cynthia Ogden, the study’s co-author and an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “You can see it if you read the food labels.”

The report, which tracked consumption of added sugars by children and teens from 2005 to 2008, offered other unexpected findings, said Ogden.

Researchers also found that family income made no difference in children’s sugary diets.

“We found that all kids are eating a lot of added sugars,” she said.

For more on this issue, read High Chair Times’ take on whether sugar should be regulated as a toxin.

Image: Sugary cereal, via Shutterstock.

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Researchers Call for Sugar to Be Regulated as ‘Toxin’

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Citing reasons ranging from the childhood obesity epidemic to heightened diabetes, liver problem, and high cholesterol risks, a group of researchers has published a commentary in the journal Nature urging the government to regulate sugar in the same way it regulates alcohol and tobacco.  Journalist Christopher Wanjek reports on LifeScience.com:

The researchers propose regulations such as taxing all foods and drinks that include added sugar, banning sales in or near schools and placing age limits on purchases.

Although the commentary might seem straight out of the Journal of Ideas That Will Never Fly, the researchers cite numerous studies and statistics to make their case that added sugar — or, more specifically, sucrose, an even mix of glucose and fructose found in high-fructose corn syrup and in table sugar made from sugar cane and sugar beets — has been as detrimental to society as alcohol and tobacco.

[Robert] Lustig, a medical doctor in UCSF’s Department of Pediatrics, compares added sugar to tobacco and alcohol (coincidentally made from sugar) in that it is addictive, toxic and has a negative impact on society, thus meeting established public health criteria for regulation. Lustig advocates a consumer tax on any product with added sugar.

Among Lustig’s more radical proposals are to ban the sale of sugary drinks to children under age 17 and to tighten zoning laws for the sale of sugary beverages and snacks around schools and in low-income areas plagued by obesity, analogous to alcoholism and alcohol regulation.

Read on for Parents’com’s High Chair Times blog’s take on the proposal, and Heather’s question:  What about artificial sweeteners?

Image: Sugary sprinkles, via Shutterstock.

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TV Doctor Promotes ‘Whole Grain;’ Is He Supporting Sugary Cereals?

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Dr. Travis Stork, one of the hosts of the daytime television show “The Doctors,” was quoted this week in a press release saying he is “passionate about choosing products with whole grain as the first ingredient.”  As The Boston Globe’s health blogger Deborah Kotz writes, the release came from the packaged foods company General Mills, which makes such sugary cereals as Trix and Lucky Charms.  Kotz writes:

In a phone interview, Stork acknowledged that he was being paid by General Mills to promote whole grains but emphasized that this didn’t mean he was “endorsing General Mills” or telling parents to buy the company’s Lucky Charms, Trix, or Cookie Crisp — even if they do have whole grain as the first ingredient.

“I’m a spokesperson for whole grains,” said the emergency room physician who became famous after appearing on the reality show The Bachelor. “But I also think we should reward companies that increase the nutritional profiles of their products.”

One glance at the nutrition facts label of Trix, however, tells me that General Mills hasn’t done much to improve the cereal. While whole grain corn is the first ingredient, sugar is the second, processed corn meal is the third, and corn syrup (another sweetener) comes fourth. The product contains 10 grams of sugar — down from 13 grams last year — and just one gram of fiber.

“What whole grains do is that they give you more fiber, which makes you feel full longer and also slows the absorption of sugar,” said Stork.

When I pointed out that the General Mills’ sugary kid cereals labeled whole grain had just one or two grams of fiber, he responded, “You’re raising a valid point, which is why I tell people to read the nutrition label.”

Image: Sugary cereal, via Shutterstock

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