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Dementia Linked To Beverage Consumed By 50% Of People Every Day

Half of North Americans use a drink linked to dementia on any given day.

Both sugary and artificially sweetened ‘diet’ drinks are linked to dementia by two new studies.

People who drink sugary beverages tend to have poorer memories, smaller brains and a smaller hippocampus (an area vital for learning and memory).

Diet sodas, though, don’t seem much safer.

A follow-up study found that people who drink diet sodas are three times more likely to develop dementia and stroke, compared to those who drink none.

Both studies show associations, so it doesn’t prove cause and effect.

Professor Sudha Seshadri, who led the research, said:

“These studies are not the be-all and end-all, but it’s strong data and a very strong suggestion.
It looks like there is not very much of an upside to having sugary drinks, and substituting the sugar with artificial sweeteners doesn’t seem to help.
Maybe good old-fashioned water is something we need to get used to.”



Excess sugar intake has long been linked to obesity, diabetes  and heart disease.

Its effect on the brain is more of an unknown (although what are the chances it’s going to be good for us?!)

More surprising is the link between diet sodas and dementia.

The researchers suggest it could be down to the artificial sweeteners used.

Sugar is toxic to the brain

This is certainly not the first study to link sugar intake with dementia.

A recent study linked excess sugar intake with Alzheimer’s disease.

It suggested that too much glucose (sugar) in the diet damages a vital enzyme which helps fight the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

High blood sugar levels have also been linked to memory problems.

The researchers in this study think that sugar could have a ‘toxic’ effect on the brain.

The studies were published in the journals Stroke and Alzheimer’s & Dementia (Pase et al., 2017; Pase et al., 2017).

source: PsyBlog


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Soda tax ‘more powerful than anything I’ve ever seen’

Study offers ‘substantial evidence that soda taxes work,’ nutrition professor says

As voters consider soda taxes in four U.S. cities, a new study finds that low-income Berkeley neighbourhoods slashed sugar-sweetened beverage consumption by more than one-fifth after the Northern California city enacted the first soda tax in the U.S.

Berkeley voters in 2014 levied a penny-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks to try to curb consumption and stem the rising tide of diabetes and obesity. After the tax took effect in March 2015, residents of two low-income neighbourhoods reported drinking 21 per cent less of all sugar-sweetened beverages and 26 per cent less soda than they had the year before, according to the report in the October American Journal of Public Health.

From a public health perspective, that is a huge impact.

That is an intervention that’s more powerful than anything I’ve ever seen aimed at changing someone’s dietary behaviour,” senior author Dr. Kristine Madsen said in a telephone interview.
Madsen, a professor of public health at the University of California at Berkeley, said the drop in sugary drink consumption surpassed her expectations, though it was consistent with consumption declines in low-income neighbourhoods in Mexico after it imposed a nationwide tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

Just like tobacco, these are commodities we can live without that are killing us– Malia Cohen

The Berkeley results also pleasantly surprised Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University.

“I hadn’t expected the effects to be so dramatic,” she said in an email. “This is substantial evidence that soda taxes work.”

coke-obesity
Public health experts believe soda
helped drive American obesity rates
to among the highest in the world.

The soda industry has spent millions of dollars defeating taxes on sugary drinks in dozens of U.S. cities. But the tax passed easily —  with 76 per cent of the vote — in Berkeley. In addition to soda, the measure covers sweetened fruit-flavoured drinks, energy drinks like Red Bull and caffeinated drinks like Frappuccino iced coffee. Diet beverages are exempt.

Weans residents off sweetened drinks

In June, the Philadelphia City Council enacted its own tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax is set to take effect in January, although soda trade groups have sued to try to block the measure.

Meanwhile, voters in Boulder, Colorado and the Bay Area cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Albany will vote on whether to tax their sugary beverages on November 8.

San Francisco voters also considered a soda tax in 2014, but it failed to garner a two-thirds majority needed for approval.

Public health officials and politicians point to the Berkeley study as proof of the power of an excise tax to wean residents of low-income neighbourhoods off sweetened drinks.

“The study is another tool highlighting how effective a tax on sugary beverages will be on changing the consumption rate,” San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen told Reuters Health.

“Just like tobacco, these are commodities we can live without that are killing us,” she said. Cohen wrote the San Francisco ballot measure.

Researchers surveyed 873 adults in low-income commercial neighbourhoods in Berkeley and 1,806 adults in similar neighbourhoods in nearby San Francisco and Oakland before and a few months after imposition of the soda tax.

Sweetened beverage consumption increased slightly in San Francisco and Oakland at the same time it dropped in Berkeley, the study showed. In Berkeley, water consumption spiked 63 per cent, compared to 19 per cent in San Francisco and Oakland, after the tax took effect.

The researchers attributed the surge in water consumption to a heat wave. But the American Beverage Association saw it as example of the study’s flaws.

In a statement, Brad Williams, an economist working for the trade group, criticized the research for using “unreliable and imprecise methodology” and producing “implausible” results.

The association’s criticism may hold grains of truth, Nestle said. But she largely dismissed it. “Obviously, the ABA is going to attack the results. That’s rule number one in the playbook: cast doubt on the science,” she said.

Public health experts believe soda helped drive American obesity rates to among the highest in the world. The U.S. spent an estimated $190 billion US treating obesity-related conditions in 2012.
Diabetes rates have almost tripled over the past three decades, while sugary beverage consumption doubled.

source: www.cbc.ca      Thomson Reuters     Posted: Oct 28, 2016


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Reduce The Damaging Effects Of Sugar On Your Brain

9TH MAY 2016    MINA DEAN

In 2014 North Americans consumed an average of about 27 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup each.

Fructose consumption can damage hundreds of genes.

But the good news is that DHA — an omega 3 fatty acid — can reverse this damage, scientists have discovered.

Fructose is a sugar commonly found in the Western diet.

Most of the fructose in the American diet comes from high-fructose corn syrup or is consumed in sweetened drinks, syrups, honey and desserts.

According to the Department of Agriculture, in 2014 each American consumed about 27 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup.

In addition, most baby food and fruit contains fructose.

However, the absorption of the fruit sugar is mostly slowed down by the fibre in fruit.

On top of that there are other healthy components found in fruit which are important for the body and the brain.

Our brain cell membranes naturally contain DHA but this amount is not enough to fight diseases.

A diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids can help to reverse the damage to the genes caused by fructose.

Dr Xia Yang a senior author of the study at UCLA University explained:

“DHA changes not just one or two genes; it seems to push the entire gene pattern back to normal, which is remarkable.
And we can see why it has such a powerful effect.”

Professor Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, the co-senior author of the paper, pointed out that the only way to get DHA is from our diet:

“The brain and the body are deficient in the machinery to make DHA; it has to come through our diet.
DHA strengthens synapses in the brain and enhances learning and memory.
It is abundant in wild salmon and, to a lesser extent, in other fish and fish oil, as well as walnuts and flaxseed.”

drinking a glass of sugar

The study was carried out on rats.

They were divided into three groups for six weeks.

During this period one group only drank water with no fructose and no DHA.

The second group consumed fructose water and a DHA rich diet.

The other group received water with fructose equivalent to a litre of soda per day.

The tests run on the rats showed that a high-fructose diet impaired the rats’ memory.

However, the fructose and DHA group showed similar results to those that drank only water.

This strongly suggested that the harmful effects of fructose were eliminated  by DHA.

The study showed that fructose had altered more than 700 genes in the hypothalamus (the metabolic control centre in the brain) and more than 200 genes in the hippocampus (a brain region for regulating memory and learning).

The alteration in human genes could lead to conditions such as bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease, depression and other brain diseases.

More tests on the rats also showed that those on a high-fructose diet had higher triglycerides, glucose and insulin levels.

These are similar indicators associated with obesity and diabetes in humans.

The study was published in EBioMedicine (Meng et al., 2016).


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Caramel colouring in pop to be studied by FDA

Safety analysis will help U.S. agency determine if regulatory change needed

The Associated Press     Posted: Jan 23, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it is conducting new studies of the safety of caramel colouring in soft drinks and other foods, even though previous research has shown no identifiable health risk.

The agency’s announcement comes in response to a study by Consumer Reports that shows varying levels of 4-methylimidazole — an impurity formed in some caramel colouring at low levels during the manufacturing process — in 12 brands of soda from five manufacturers.
hi-pop-shopping-852-cp-03951859

Coke, Pepsi and other soft drink makers say they have directed their caramel-colour suppliers to reduce levels of 4-methylimidazole.

The FDA says it has already studied the use of caramel as a flavor and colour additive for decades and it has no reason to believe the colouring used is unsafe. The agency said it is also reviewing new data on the safety of 4-methylimidazole but did not say what that data is.

“These efforts will inform the FDA’s safety analysis and will help the agency determine what, if any, regulatory action needs to be taken,” said FDA spokeswoman Juli Putnam.

There are no federal limits on the amount of 4-methylimidazole, which the FDA says can also form in trace amounts when coffee beans are roasted or some meats are grilled.

The Consumer Reports study urged the agency to set a maximum level of the substance when it is artificially added to foods or soda, to require labelling when it is added and to bar products from carrying the “natural” label if they contain caramel colours.

“There is no reason why consumers need to be exposed to this avoidable and unnecessary risk that can stem from colouring food and beverages brown,” said Consumer Reports’ Dr. Urvashi Rangan, a toxicologist and lead investigator on the study.

Though studies have not been conclusive about whether 4-methylimidazole is a carcinogen, California includes it on the state list of carcinogens and a state law mandates a cancer warning label on products that have a certain level of the substance. In reaction to that law, Coke, Pepsi and other soft drink makers have directed their caramel-colour suppliers to reduce the levels of 4-methylimidazole. It is not found in all caramel colourings.

Over an eight-month period, the study found that single servings of two products purchased in California, Pepsi One and the beverage Malta Goya, exceeded the 29 micrograms of 4-methylimidazole that are the threshold in California but carried no warning. Consumer Reports has asked the California attorney general’s office to investigate; a spokesman for the attorney general says the office is reviewing the request.

PepsiCo spokeswoman Aurora Gonzalez said the company is “extremely concerned” about the study and believes it is factually incorrect.

Gonzalez said the average amount of soda consumed daily by those who drink it is less than a 355-mL can, so the samples actually do not exceed the limit of 29 micrograms a day.

“All of Pepsi’s products are below the threshold set in California and all are in full compliance with the law,” she said.

The drinks tested were Sprite, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola, Coke Zero, Dr Pepper, Dr. Snap, Brisk Iced Tea, A&W Root Beer, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi One and Goya Malta. Consumer Reports said there was no significant level found in Sprite, and consistently low levels were found in Coke products.

source: www.cbc.ca

 


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Soda Contributes to Behavior Problems Among Young Children

By Alexandra Sifferlin    @acsifferlin    Aug. 16, 2013

Sugar-sweetened beverages are one of the major culprits in the obesity epidemic, but sodas have also been connected to behavioral problems among teens. That link apparently extends to young kids as well.

Among children 5 years old, according to the latest research, those drinking more sugar-sweetened sodas showed increased aggression, withdrawal and difficulty paying attention than those drinking fewer or none of the beverages.

It’s the first time that the effects of sugared beverages have been traced to behavior issues among children so young. But the findings mirror similar trends among adolescents; a 2011 study published in the journal Injury Prevention found that teens who drank more than five cans of soft drinks every week were significantly more likely to have carried a weapon and acted violently toward peers, family members and dates. Another study from the same authors reported that high consumption of soft drinks was associated with a range of aggressive or mood-related behaviors, from fighting, feeling sad or hopeless to even being suicidal.

In the latest study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, parents reported that 43% of the 5-year olds participating in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study drank at least one serving of soda every day, and 4% consumed four or more servings daily.

In order to evaluate the relationship between the sugared drinks and behavior problems, the researchers adjusted for several factors that can influence behavior, including their mothers’ depression and the children’s diets. Even after this adjustment, the scientists found a significant relationship between more soda consumption and aggressive behaviors that included destroying other people’s belongings, getting into fights and physically attacking others.


What makes soda-drinking kids so unruly? “Soft drinks are highly processed products containing carbonated water, high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sodium benzoate, phosphoric or citric acid, and often caffeine, any of which might affect behavior,” the authors write.

Caffeine is a likely culprit, since other studies connected the compound with changes in hormone levels that could alter the way still developing brains perceive and evaluate risk. Because caffeine can act on so many brain systems, but there is still little information on its influence on young children, the FDA is currently investigating the safety of caffeine that is added to food products consumed by kids and adolescents, like drinks, chips and even gum.

The sugar in sodas may also affect behavior, though that connection is murkier. A recent study reported that even at doses considered average for human consumption — about four cans of soda in a day — sugar has toxic effects in mice, impairing their ability to establish territories and reproduce. “There are too many unknown variables to say whether or not sugar causes aggression,” says Judy Caplan, a registered dietitian nutritionist for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “I think more studies like this are needed to really understand what role food (sugar) plays in aggression in children. We will have to see what the future confirms.”

While the beverage industry has taken steps to limit children’s access to sugared soft drinks — providing healthier options such as water, fruit juices and skim milk in schools instead–the study highlights how prevalent soda consumption is in the U.S. — even among the very young. According to an American Beverage Association spokesperson, member companies do not promote or market the consumption of soft drinks to children in the age group examined in the study,  but so far the high consumption among  kids doesn’t seem to help them establish and maintain healthy relationships with friends and family.

Alexandra Sifferlin is a writer and producer for TIME Healthland. She is a graduate from the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.

source: Time


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5 ways to drop your soda habit

By Keri Gans, Special to CNN    June 27, 2013

Editor’s note: Keri Gans is a registered dietitian/nutritionist, media personality, author of “The Small Change Diet” and spokeswoman for the Aetna “What’s Your Healthy” campaign.

(CNN) – Despite recent heightened awareness about its many negative effects on our health, whether it’s to get through the mid-afternoon slump or paired with lunch or dinner as our beverage of choice, many of us still reach for soda daily for a jolt of caffeine and sugary satisfaction.

Perhaps because of a person’s overall unhealthy food and beverage choices, studies have shown that even minimal soda consumption may lead to weight gain. Unfortunately, that weight gain can lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes and a heightened chance of stroke.

Increased soda consumption also has been linked to kidney stones and tooth decay. Unfortunately, caffeine can be highly addictive and habit-forming, and many Americans are wary of cutting it out cold turkey.

So how does one ditch a dependence on soda? Here are five tips for kicking your soda habit for good:

Hydrate with H2O. The body needs water to function optimally, but its benefits extend beyond being a necessity for everyday, basic health.

Reach for a glass of water when the urge for soda strikes. While both beverages help us to feel temporarily full, water won’t leave you feeling deflated like the letdown after a caffeine high. If it’s carbonation you crave, try seltzer or sparkling water when you’re thirsty.

Water doesn’t have to be plain, either – try adding produce like lemon, lime, or watermelon for a refreshing and satisfying twist. 

pop

Seek support. Soda is often consumed in large amounts in social situations, whether at the movies or dining in groups. Enlisting friends, significant others, and relatives to help you rid yourself of your habit will help keep you accountable and on track.

As reducing your caffeine intake can often lead to withdrawal symptoms, including mood swings, it’s important to communicate effectively with loved ones. Keeping lines of communication open can help boost your mood and release negative thoughts and feelings.

Choose a healthier “caffeinated” beverage. Antioxidant-rich green tea is an excellent alternative to soda and has been shown to offer a number of overall health benefits. Studies have shown green tea may protect skin from sun damage, stabilize blood sugar levels and decrease the risk for certain types of cancer.

The taste of green tea can be easily enhanced by drinking it over ice, or adding fresh-squeezed lemon. Consuming green tea can also aid in weaning you from your perceived need for caffeine – the beverage contains a small amount (significantly less than soda) of naturally occurring caffeine.

Stay occupied. As with many of the things we do with repetition, they often become habits due to boredom.

If you find yourself mindlessly heading for the fridge, grab a quick, low-calorie snack instead. Sweet-tasting flavored low-fat Greek yogurt, for instance, may satisfy your need for a quick pick-me-up. Making a brief phone call to a friend or browsing your favorite website may also fill the need to busy yourself.

Isolate yourself from the source of your addiction. You’re much more likely to cave to the temptation of popping the tab on a cold can of soda if one is within easy reach.

It’s a simple solution, but ridding your environment of soda altogether can prove vital in your battle for a soda-free diet. If you do the grocery shopping in your home, don’t buy it to begin with. If your workplace is your pitfall, advocate for healthier options in your office’s vending machine or take a new walking route to avoid the lure of soda calling your name. 

source: CNN


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Artificial sweeteners tied to obesity, Type 2 diabetes

High-intensity sweetener changes metabolic responses
CBC News      Feb 17, 2013

Diet pop and other artificially sweetened products may cause us to eat and drink even more calories and increase our risk for obesity and Type 2 diabetes, researchers are learning.

Former McGill University researcher Dana Small specializes in the neuropsychology of flavour and feeding at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Small said there’s mounting evidence that artificial sweeteners have a couple of problematic effects. Sugar substitutes such as sucralose and aspartame are more intensely sweet than sugar and may rewire taste receptors so less sweet, healthier foods aren’t as enjoyable, shifting preferences to higher calorie, sweeter foods, she said.

Small and some other researchers believe artificial sweeteners interfere with brain chemistry and hormones that regulate appetite and satiety. For millennia, sweet taste signalled the arrival of calories. But that’s no longer the case with artificial sweeteners.

“The sweet taste is no longer signalling energy and so the body adapts,” Small said in an interview with CBC News. “It’s no longer going to release insulin when it senses sweet because sweet now is not such a good predictor of the arrival of energy.”

Susan Swithers, a psychology professor at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., studies behavioural neuroscience. “Exposure to high-intensity sweeteners could change the way that sweet tastes are processed,” she says.

“A number of epidemiological studies show that people who do consume high intensity sweeteners show differences in metabolic responses, have an increased risk for things like Type 2 diabetes and also have an increased risk for overweight and obesity.”

Exposure to high-intensity sweeteners
could change the way that sweet tastes are processed.

This week, researchers in France who followed the drinking habits of 66,000 women for 14 years reported that both regular and diet pop increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but the risk was higher among diet drinkers — 15 per cent higher for consumption of as little as 500 ml per week and 59 per cent higher for those having 1.5 litres per week.

Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers said the women’s age and body size were taken into account but eating habits may have changed over time and factors besides consumption of artificially sweetened drinks couldn’t be ruled out.

Scientists in the U.S. have also found this association.

More difficult to manage weight
No longer being able to rely on the body’s built-in and subconscious process for regulating eating makes it more difficult for people to manage their own weights, Small and Swithers agreed.

“They might actually have to read labels, pay attention to how many calories are in things because they’ve lost this easy process,” Swithers said.

Last month, Nicola Kettlitz, president of Coca-Cola Canada, told CBC News that artificial sweeteners are safe and approved by Health Canada, adding aspartame has been used for 30 years.

“If you have to pick an evil, I’d pick the diet pop over the regular pop,” said Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, director of the Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa. “But ideally it shouldn’t be either.”

Small said she tells everyone she knows not to use artificial sweeteners. “It’s better to use a small amount of regular sugar than it is to use artificial sweeteners in your foods.”

At a food court in Toronto, patrons recognized that diet drinks aren’t ideal.

“It’s good for people who are watching their weight,” said Withya Ganeshalingam, who was sipping a diet Sprite, which she considers a “free drink” because of the zero calories.

“I feel like it kind of goes back and forth, this one’s bad, this one is better for you,” said Jason Costa. “Regular is what I do if I am going to drink it.”

With files from CBC’s Kelly Crowe and Pauline Dakin         source: CBC