No amount of added sugar is right

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According to a recently released study that traced the eating habits of Minnesota residents for 27 years, the body weight of Americans is rising along with their increased intake of sugars added to processed and home-cooked foods.

This comes as no surprise to brother and sister Tom and Dian Griesel, the co-founders of The Business School of Happiness ( and co-authors of the new book TurboCharged (, which presents a weight-loss program consisting of 8 easy steps that train you to use your excess body fat as fuel, eat intelligently, and incorporate activity into your hectic schedule.

"Added sugars come in many forms and have various names, such as 'high-fructose corn syrup,' 'agave nectar,' 'brown rice syrup,' and 'brown sugar,'" says Tom. "None are healthy, and all have the same detrimental effect on our bodies. Equally harmful are hidden sugars, like those in items such as french fries and catsup that many don't consider 'sweet' and that therefore often go unclassified as sugar-adding foods. Virtually every refined, processed, 'heat and eat,' and restaurant food contains hidden sugar of one sort or another—including so-called 'health foods!'"

"Not only do added sugars add empty calories, but they also result in elevated insulin levels that make fat storage almost a certainty," notes Dian. "All grain-based products, refined or whole grain, are also easily converted to glucose (blood sugar) and have the exact same effect as sugars or other sweeteners. Fresh fruit, on the other hand, comes in a natural high-water-content package that effectively blocks such insulin spikes."

Nor are alternative sweeteners a good option. "There are no sugars or sugar substitutes that provide any nutritional value, and all are detrimental to our health," Tom says. "Once again, a sweet tooth is best satisfied with fruit, which is a nutritional powerhouse in a highly usable and available form, and something that is congruent to our evolutionary diet."

The study, which was conducted by Huifen Wang of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis, focused on added sugars rather than sugar-sweetened beverages. Yet the Griesels point out that the actual addition of sugar in home cooking is very low compared to what is consumed in soft drinks and sports drinks as well as refined foods and snacks. Noting that Wang used data from the Minnesota Heart Survey, which asked adults to recall their dietary intake, Tom says, "Most people consume many more calories than they think, because they often 'forget' to count certain things they eat. And they think things that are pure sugar—like TacTacs or M&Ms—somehow don't count."

"Excess weight gain and obesity have both skyrocketed since the low fat/high carb craze started in the 1960s," explains Dian. "There is an obvious and direct relationship that cannot be ignored. Taste in food comes either from fat or sugar, or maybe salt. Remove the fat, as most manufacturers have done over the past three decades, and they must add sugar—and often salt—to make up for the lack of flavor. At the same time, portion sizes have almost doubled in the last 50 years. Almost all meals contain added sugar or fat, or worse yet, a combination of both sugar and fat."

Wang found that men consumed about 15.3% of daily calories from added sugars in 2007-2009, a nearly 38% increase from 1980-82. Women ate 13.4 percent of total calories from added sugars in 2007-2009, up from under 10% in 1980-82. "Carbohydrate consumption in general—both refined and whole grain—has had a similar increase and cannot be overlooked," says Tom.

"People need to take control of their own health," note Tom and Dian. "Without moving to a natural diet of predominately fresh fruits, vegetables and freshly prepared natural proteins such as meat, fish, eggs and cheese, you leave yourself at the mercy of manufacturers of fast and refined foods who are more concerned with shelf life and profits than your health. It is also important to note that the lobbyists for high-fructose corn syrup would like you to believe that this is the same as the naturally occurring 'fructose' in fresh whole fruits. It is NOT! One is heavily processed and unnatural, the other totally natural and replete in fruit along with vitamins, minerals, fiber and water." Noting that the American Heart Association recommends that adults should limit themselves to no more than 100-150 calories of added sugars per day, the Griesels have their own recommendation: "NO added sugar is the right amount!"

Source The Business School of Happiness


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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