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Prenatal And Early Childhood Fructose Tied to Asthma in Kids

Grade school kids may be more likely to develop asthma if they consumed lots of drinks sweetened with sugar and high fructose corn syrup or if their mothers drank these beverages often during pregnancy, a recent study suggests.

To assess the connection between childhood asthma, sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages, researchers examined data about eating habits from about 1,000 mother-child pairs as well as information on kids’ health, including whether they had an asthma diagnosis by ages 7 to 9.

After accounting for maternal obesity and other factors that can also influence kids’ odds of developing asthma, researchers found that women who consumed the most soda and sugary beverages during pregnancy were 70 percent more likely to have a child diagnosed with asthma by mid-childhood than mothers who never or rarely had sodas during pregnancy.

Women who had the most total fructose during pregnancy were 58 percent more likely to have kids with asthma than women who had little to no fructose.

“Previous studies have linked intake of sugary beverages with obesity, and obesity with asthma,” said study co-author Sheryl Rifas-Shiman, a researcher at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute in Boston.

“In addition to influencing asthma through increasing the risk of obesity, we found that sugary beverages and high fructose may influence the risk of asthma not entirely through obesity,” Rifas-Shiman said by email. “This finding suggests that there are additional mechanisms by which sugary beverages and fructose influence asthma risk beyond their effects on obesity.”

What kids ate and drank also mattered. Even after accounting for prenatal exposure to sodas, kids who had the most total fructose in their diets earlier in childhood were 79 percent more likely to develop asthma than children who rarely or never had fructose.

Once researchers also factored in whether children were overweight or obese, kids with the highest fructose consumption were still 77 percent more likely to have asthma.

Mothers who consumed more sugary beverages tended to be heavier and have less income and education than women who generally avoided sodas and sweet drinks. But the connection between sodas, sugary drinks and childhood asthma persisted even after accounting for these factors.

“We don’t know for certain the exact pathways by which sugary beverages and fructose lead to asthma,” Rifas-Shiman said. “We believe at least in part they act by increasing inflammation, which may influence the child’s lung development.”

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how sodas or sugary drinks might cause asthma.

Another limitation is that researchers relied on women to accurately recall and report on soda consumption for themselves and their young children, which may not always be accurate, researchers note in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Even so, the findings add to the evidence that women should avoid sodas and sugary foods and drinks during pregnancy and also limit these things for their young kids, said Dr. Leda Chatzi, a researcher at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles who wasn’t involved in the study.

“Pregnant women should stay away from sugar sweetened drinks and foods with added sugars,” Chatzi said by email.

“Healthy eating during pregnancy is critical to their baby’s growth and development of chronic diseases such as asthma later in life,” Chatzi added. “A healthy dietary pattern during pregnancy contains a variety of food groups, including fruits and vegetables, breads and grains, protein sources and dairy products.”

 Lisa Rapaport   DECEMBER 18, 2017
SOURCE: bit.ly/2BaEVOI Annals of the American Thoracic Society, online December 8, 2017.    www.reuters.com
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What is The Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index is an indication of how quickly a specified amount of food will cause a rise in blood sugar level. The amount of food is the portion that contains 50 grams of carbohydrate (200 calories from carbs). So it is really an indication of how one carb compares to another.

Certain foods cause a spike, or rapid rise, in blood sugar level. This spike causes an insulin response and may over time lead to health problems such as diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and other issues. Maintaining a more even blood sugar level appears to be beneficial in many ways.

Only foods that contain carbs cause this spike, proteins and fats do not. They provide calories but do not cause an immediate rise in blood sugar levels. Meat and eggs contain no carbs at all, they can be considered to have a zero glycemic index. However this is not strictly true as the test cannot be carried out on them: no amount of eggs will give the required 50 gm of carbs.

The test is carried out on volunteers who have been fasting for a period of time. They are fed a portion of food containing 50 gm of carbohydrate and their blood sugar level monitored over a 2 hour period. This data is drawn on a graph and the area under the curve measured, the larger the area, the higher the glycemic index (GI). Glucose is used as the standard with a value of 100 and all other foods are compared to this.

Many factors influence the GI for foods. The index of the carbs available, the amount of non carb food in the serving, and the amount of fiber and ash (yes ash!) present. Protein and fat in the food will tend to lower the GI because they reduce the body’s ability to digest the carb quickly. Soluble fibre (inulin) has the same effect, insoluble fibre (bran) does so to a lesser extent.

The irony here is that a serving with more calories can have a lower GI, but exactly the same type and amount of carbs. This also shows the danger of consuming significant amounts of refined carbs (even fruit juices) on their own as they can produce a rapid blood sugar spike. Again balance is best in all things.

One might assume because of this that the answer is to avoid all carbs, and certain diets (Atkins for example) do go in this direction. However the body needs a good balance of protein, fat and carbs for health. So the answer appears to be the correct choice and amount of carbs. The Glycemic index and the Glycemic Load are useful tools in the achievement of this end.

Glycemic Load

The glycemic load (GL) is the glycemic index multiplied by the amount of carbs in the serving. So in a way it represents the actual effect the serving of food will have on blood sugar level.

The Glycemic Index on it’s own can be a little misleading because portion sizes are not taken into account. Foods that contain low quantities of carbs can still score highly because large amounts are required for the test.

To produce the required 50 grams of carbs about 12 carrots are necessary but only 3 slices of bread. So the GI for carrots is almost 50, for bread it is 70, not a huge difference. In reality nobody eats 12 carrots at a sitting.

This is where the glycemic load comes in. The GI for carrots is 50, the amount of carbs per serving is 4. So the GL is 2 (50 by 4 divided by 100). The glycemic load for a serving of bread is 10. This is a much more realistic indication of the effect carrots and bread have on blood sugar levels.

Rating System for Glycemic Index:
Below 55 – low GI.
56 to 69 – medium GI.
Above 70 -high GI.

Rating System for Glycemic Load:
Below 11 – low GL.
11 to 19 – medium GL.
Above 19 -high GL.

For sweeteners the glycemic index is useful as in most cases they consist of pure carbohydrate. Thus the GI offers a fair comparison between them. Natural sweeteners can contain soluble fiber and other substances that tend to slow metabolism and reduce the effect of blood sugar.

Glycemic Index for Sweeteners

The glycemic index for sweeteners is a function of three things:

1. The amount of carbohydrate present.
2. The type of carbohydrate present.
3. The presence of other substances (soluble fiber for example) that slow metabolism of carbohydrates.

Glucose has a glycemic index (GI) of 100 and fructose is 25. Sucrose (Ordinary sugar) which is made up of a combination of these two has a GI of 65.

The search for a low GI natural sugar based sweetener is somewhat futile as they all contain combinations of the above, or similar sugars.

 sugar
Sweetener
Type
Glycemic Index
Maltodextrin Sugar 110
Maltose Sugar 105
Dextrose Sugar 100
Glucose Sugar 100
Splenda Artificial Sweetener 80
Trehalose Sugar 70
HFCS-42 Modified Sugar 68
Sucrose Sugar 65
Caramel Modified Sugar 60
Golden Syrup Modified Sugar 60
Inverted Sugar Modified Sugar 60
Refiners Syrup Modified Sugar 60
HFCS-55 Modified Sugar 58
Blackstrap Molasses Sugar Extract 55
Maple Syrup Natural Sugar 54
Honey Natural Sugar 50
Sorghum Syrup Natural Sugar 50
Lactose Sugar 45
Cane Juice Sugar Extract 43
Barley Malt Syrup Modified Sugar 42
HSH Sugar Alcohol 35
Coconut Palm Sugar Natural Sugar 35
Maltitol Sugar Alcohol 35
HFCS-90 Modified Sugar 31
Brown Rice Syrup Modified Sugar 25
Fructose Sugar 25
Galactose Sugar 25
Agave Syrup Modified Sugar 15
Xylitol Sugar Alcohol 12
Glycerol Sugar Alcohol 5
Sorbitol Sugar Alcohol 4
Lactitol Sugar Alcohol 3
Isomalt Sugar Alcohol 2
Mannitol Sugar Alcohol 2
Erythritol Sugar Alcohol 1
Yacon Syrup Natural Sweetener 1
Oligofructose Sugar Fiber 1
Inulin Sugar Fiber 1
Brazzein Natural Sweetener 0
Curculin Natural Sweetener 0
Glycyrrhizin Natural Sweetener 0
Luo Han Guo Natural Sweetener 0
Miraculin Natural Sweetener 0
Monellin Natural Sweetener 0
Pentadin Natural Sweetener 0
Stevia Natural Sweetener 0
Thaumatin Natural Sweetener 0
Acesulfame K Artificial Sweetener 0
Alitame Artificial Sweetener 0
Aspartame Artificial Sweetener 0
Cyclamate Artificial Sweetener 0
Neotame Artificial Sweetener 0
Saccharin Artificial Sweetener 0
Sucralose Artificial Sweetener 0

Although fructose has a fairly low GI, it has other harmful effects and must be considered unsafe to take in large quantities. Agave Syrup has a low GI because it is mainly fructose. Agave has been delisted and banned by the Glycemic Research Institute of Washington DC because serious side effects were observed in clinical trials.

Coconut Palm Sugar contains mainly sucrose and one would expect a GI of about 65. However it scores well in the glycemic index for sweeteners list. Tests have indicated a GI of only about 35. This may be partly because of other substances in it such as soluble fiber. However, the testing was very limited. More testing may well produce a higher GI.

Yacon Syrup, scores best in the Glycemic Index for Sweeteners that are sugar based. It derives it’s sweetness from Fructo-oligosaccharides, a type of sugar with a very low GI. It is probably the only truly raw, organic, natural, low calorie, and low glycemic sweetener available.

Sugar alcohols tend to have very low GIs. In particular Erythritol has a GI of only 1, and it is a safe low calorie sweetener that occurs naturally in some fruits and mushrooms. While many of the other sugar alcohols also have low GIs they can have side effects such as abdominal cramping if taken in even moderate quantities.

Both the natural zero calorie sweeteners such as Stevia, and the artificial ones such as Saccharin have no glycemic index. They do not raise blood sugar at all. This brings up another issue: The human body is programmed to react to the taste of sweet things.

Studies have shown that insulin is secreted by the pancreas soon after the sweet taste is experienced on the tongue, whether the substance contains calories or not. The body is fooled by the zero calorie sweetener. It expects glucose to hit the bloodstream and it gets none. This may result in increased appetite soon after.

Some studies have indicated that zero calorie sweeteners do not help reduce weight, and this may explain the reason. However this does not take into account several useful aspects of zero calorie sweeteners:

1. They do not cause a blood sugar spike and this alone is beneficial to health.
2. They are suitable for diabetics who would otherwise have a limited choice of sweet things.
3. They are harmless to teeth.
4. All things being equal they contain no calories and should be of assistance in a diet plan.

Perhaps the best use of zero calorie sweeteners would be to reduce the sugars in food and beverages, not eliminate them. Say a person drinks a bottle of cola each day. This contains about 12.5 spoons of sugar and 200 calories. If they drank a reduced sugar cola made with half stevia or saccharin they would halve the amount of sugar, yet still receive a glucose boost. Indeed the lowering of the sugar intensity could provide a more steady supply of glucose to the bloodstream and dramatically reduce or eliminate the insulin load.