Is Your Morning Glass of OJ as Unhealthy as a Soda?

People are talking a lot about sugar these days, especially one kind called high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – a sugar that seems to be added to just about all sweets in a box or package. HFCS usually contains more of one type of sugar – fructose – than table sugar or corn syrup.http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-oranges-table-man-drinking-orange-juice-image26777565

We know that too many sugary drinks – regardless of the type of sugar – can lead to obesity, which is a cause of eight different cancers. But some researchers believe that fructose is more harmful than other sugars, leading to a higher risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Others disagree, leaving the research to be inconclusive.

As the research continues on fructose, a new study published in the journal Nutrition, says that many sugary beverages Americans are drinking –  whether it’s HFCS soda or apple juice — actually contain similar amounts of fructose. Fructose is one of the two sugars that make up sucrose or table sugar; it is also a natural sugar found in fruit and fruit juice.

For their study, the researchers analyzed the sugar concentrations of the most popular sodas, 100% fruit juices, and juice drinks, including sports drinks. The researchers found that fructose levels among some HFCS drinks are often higher than a commonly used database researchers use. Continue reading


Water and Diet Soda: What Matters for Cancer Prevention

In the battle of beverages, diet drinks made the headlines this week, beating out water as a weight loss aid according to a new study. Understanding how our food and beverages may affect weight gain or loss is important to cancer prevention, because being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for eight cancers, including colorectal and post-menopausal breast.

The study adds to the limited, but growing body of human research on diet beverages. The role of diet beverages in weight control is controversial, but the role of sugary beverages is not. AICR recommends avoiding sugary sodas and drinks because they are strongly linked to weight gain, overweight and obesity.http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-glass-water-cola-image21449207

The study, published online in Obesity, found that of the approximately 300 overweight participants, those consuming the diet beverages lost more weight over 12 weeks than the group consuming water. The difference was small, but significant, with the diet drink group losing an average of 13 lbs and the water group, 9 lbs.

For the trial, one-half of the participants were instructed to drink at least 24 ounces of water daily and not to consume any diet beverages. The other half were told to drink at least 24 ounces of diet drinks, but they could also drink water. Continue reading


Calories or Carbs? Weight, Health and Cancer Prevention

A calorie is a calorie – eat too many and you’ll gain weight; eat less and you’ll lose weight. Sounds simple, but a New York Times article by two obesity researchers is making headlines, and they question whether focusing on calories alone is really the answer for weight loss. It’s an important issue because obesity links to eight different cancers.Healthy versus unhealthy.

Their hypothesis, published last Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, proposes that the driving force for obesity in America is because we eat too many refined carbohydrates – chips, cakes, soft drinks, sugary foods and refined grains – rather than just too many calories. They say eating these foods can lead to higher insulin levels and an environment in our body that promotes fat storage. Their proposal that type of food is more important than total calories for both becoming obese and for losing weight is interesting, but does need more research.

What research is clear on – we know that cutting back on sugary foods and drinks and other refined carbohydrate foods is one important strategy in a total program for health and weight loss. And substituting whole plant foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains can help lower cancer risk. Continue reading