Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sugar and Heart Disease

It often seems to me that what gets permitted or prohibited by those responsible for regulating the safety of our food supply is governed more by the efficacy of one's lobbying firm and the size of one's political donations than what is actually good or bad for us. For example....

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Yang Q, Shang Z, Gregg EW. Added sugar intake and cardiovascular disease mortality among US adults. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2014: doi 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13563.) consuming large amounts of dietary sugars can triple your risk of dying from heart disease.

Analyzing data on 31,147 people included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey - which included data from the late 1980s to 2010 - the study calculated the "consumption of all sugars used in processed or prepared foods such as sugar-sweetened beverages, grain-based deserts, fruit drinks, dairy deserts, candy, ready-to-eat cereals and yeast breads". Naturally occurring sugars such as those found in fruit were not counted. Those who consumed 10% of their daily calories as sugars (sucrose, high fructose corn syrup and other caloric sweeteners) had a 30% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases. Those consuming 25% of their daily calories as sugars were almost three times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease compared with people who consumed less than 10% of their calories from sugars. For the average American's (excessive) 2,500 calorie daily intake, this is 250 and 625 calories, respectively.

To put that in perspective, a 12 oz can of soda contains about 150 calories from sugar, orange juice - yes, orange juice - delivers 130, while that Starbucks frappuccino will set you back nearly 400 calories.

And for all of this, we still have the FDA waffling about whether or not to even list the amount of sugars added to our foods because.... well, because the manufacturers don't want to.

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