Many groups blame sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages for the epidemic of obesity. Some have argued that a tax on them would lower consumption, and thus decrease the prevalence of obesity. But a recent Australian study showed that decreasing intake of these drinks was actually accompanied by an increase in obesity prevalence.
Soda taxes aren't racist, yet precisely that case was made by a reporter for the newspaper. His position: Blacks and Hispanics consume more sugary beverages than whites and Asians, while whites and Asians drink more diet beverages than blacks and Hispanics. Because the tax does not apply to diet beverages, it is racist. Let's break this down.
Food and nutrition companies always capitalize on whatever fad diets are currently in fashion to shamelessly promote their products. Science is usually of secondary concern. Now, Nestlé wants in on the action, promoting an alleged nutritional drink, claiming that it's low in FODMAPs. Huh? What are those?
New research shows that when it comes to packaged foods and beverages sold in Canada, two of every three items contain added sugar of some kind. That jarring news comes from a report by Public Health Ontario and the University of Waterloo, a joint venture that included studying labels of more than 40,000 supermarket products.
So the latest is that fat is not the dietary villain it's been cracked up to be, but now sugar is. So people are avoiding foods like non-fat yogurt to decrease their intake of sugar and other constituents. But demonizing one ingredient or another, though it may move the food industry, is not such a great prescription for weight control.
In some circles high sugar consumption, especially from sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), has been considered to be virtually the root of all evil when it comes to health issues. But a recent study tried -- and failed -- to find a link between high SSB consumption and cancer survivors. Thus any supposed link with cancer recurrence or cancer mortality wasn't supported by this report.
A closer look at food science reveals that a tax on sugary drinks (such as soda, sports drinks, and tea), a policy being pondered by voters in the San Francisco Bay area, is deeply misguided. We get sugar in our diets from many different sources, some of which we would consider "healthy" foods.
Sugar consumption — especially in beverages — is blamed for many ailments such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Now we can add gallbladder cancer to the supposed list of links. But the study finding such a link was observational — no causal connection can be assumed.
The FDA is finally advising the food industry to stop using the euphemism "evaporated cane juice" for sugar on food labels. Ingredients on food labels should be couched in terms that the average person is familiar with. It's just too bad the advisory isn't binding.
Restricting salt intake often results in a preference for less salty foods. If the same were true for sugar, restriction might be a means of lowering sugar, and thus calorie intake. Unfortunately, a recent study suggests this won't work for sugar the "sweet spot" doesn't seem to be altered by restricting consumption.
Some researchers believe sugar, not fat, is the most dangerous dietary ingredient, causing obesity and ills ranging from diabetes to hypertension. They also suggest that the focus on decreasing dietary fat has resulted in a concomitant switch to additional added sugars. But a new study of obese children isn't convincing.