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.
Does high salt consumption cause obesity? A recently published study says so, but sometimes research isn't reliable, or reliably interpreted. After giving this a shake, we've found that the results are fairly hard to swallow.
Now that it's OK to eat fat again, we seem to need another dietary villain. Enter The Sugar Film, one Australian's attempt to blame sugar for his ills after he consumes way too much of the stuff. How convincing is it? Not very.
That is, the body metabolizes sugar from colas the same way it does sugar from orange juice (yes, even organic orange juice). So why add a line to the Nutrition Facts label that specifically cites the amount of added sugars?
To a scientist, sugar is sugar. To Whole Foods marketing experts, some sugars are superior to others (in the minds of their customers), so if they want to sell people "evaporated cane juice" in a cookie -- crystallized sugar from sugar cane, which is sugar -- well, they can.
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Parents try to provide their children with healthful diets, and thus many avoid full calorie soft drinks because they re concerned about the sugar such beverages contain. Instead, they often turn to fruit drinks because everyone knows that fruits are healthy.