Truth or Myth? Food labels are easy to read.

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Food Labels, Sugar and Artificial Sweetners, Uncategorized | 1 comment

In my post about sports drinks I said be sure to read the labels! But is reading product labels an easy task to do? I can tell you this, it is if you know what you are looking for, and tricky if you don’t. So what I would like to do today is clear up a few things. On a label for Sobe® Cranberry Grapefruit flavored beverage, it says it has 26g of sugar. However, if you look at the serving size at the top it says per 8 oz. and it also says this is product has 2.5 servings per bottle. Most people just see the 26 grams and chug the bottle down. This means that the whole 20 oz bottle has 65g of sugar in this product.  Let me put this into perspective 4g of sugar equals one teaspoon. Would you dump 16 teaspoons of sugar into a glass of water and drink it? Probably not, but that is what many people are doing with out realizing it. With this in mind we cannot just assume that all Sobe products are laden with high amounts of sugar. Sobe® lifewater®, contains zero calories and zero sugars. It is sweetened with a natural sweetener called erythritol which does not appear to have any of the harmful effects that artificial sweeteners have… We will discuss those in future episodes. But also We have to be careful even with products that are natural and healthy such as Welch’s® 100% Grape Juice. The label says “no added sugar”, but when you look on the label—just 8 oz., which is about half of what somebody will typically drink in a glass of juice—has a whopping 39g of sugar. What is even worse, it is fructose, which is a kind of sugar that is easily converted to belly fat when consumed in high amounts. If you have children teach them to read labels and make healthy choices because their future depends on it. I have trained my 8 year old to read labels because one day after football practice I got him a treat. He choose Vitaminwater® because it seemed to be a little healthier than the other products available. Vitaminwater® says it only has 13 grams (g) of sugar.  However, there are 2.5 servings per container.  So there are 32g of sugar in one 20 oz. bottle of Vitaminwater®.  Looks can be deceiving. Pam non-stick cooking spray® says it contains zero grams of fat! Really how can it have zero grams of fat when it is all oil? Look at the serving size per spray, it says 1/3 of a second. You and I both know it takes a lot longer than 1/3...

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High Fructose Corn Syrup (Part 2)

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Sugar and Artificial Sweetners, Uncategorized |

Today we are going to discuss the second part of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). In the Last episode we discussed that the majority of HFCS is made with mercury and that mercury is bad for Brain development as mercury is toxic to the body. I had a lot of correspondences from doctors and the general public who said, “I had know idea that there is mercury in HFCS, I just thought it made you fat because of the sugar. They are correct, that excess sugar, specifically in the form of HFCS, can add on extra pounds. However, there is more to the story than just excess sugar, which results in excess calories that is causing the extra weight gain. Can you guess what the other detrimental chemical is that makes HFCS so unhealthy? It is Atrazine.  Atrazine is the main fertilizer used in the production of corn. Since production of HFCS uses cornstarch, can you guess where the Atrazine is going to show up? In the HFCS. The epidemic of Obesity in American has been well documented, and it correlates very well with the increase consumption of sugar as you see in the graph. I would like to remind you the majority sugar in takes in the US are in the form of HFCS. However, what are not well documented are the health effects of Atrazine exposure from HFCS, and I would like to shed some light on this subject for you. Atrazine has been shown to decreased basal metabolic rate, increased body weight,  increase intra-abdominal fat and increase insulin resistance (which leads to type II diabetes) without changing food intake or physical activity level (PLoS One. 2009;4(4):e5186 ). Just look at the trends of Atrazine exposure and the trends of obesity.  Can you see the correlation? Atrazine has also caused frogs to become hermaphrodites; with both male (testes) and female (ovaries) sex organs. Additionally, it causes frogs to have other birth defect such as extra or missing limbs. The Environmental protection agency says that 3 ppb of Atrazine is safe in our drinking water. But I would like you to note that it only takes 0.1 ppb to cause a frog to become a hermaphrodite. Atrazine has also been show to affect our immune system. The research shows a decrease in the immune system at 6.5 ppb of Atrazine, which is not much higher than what is deemed safe in our drinking water, and when you add the HFCS consumption to that 3 ppb… all of a sudden we decrease our ability to fight viral infections. Chew on that as you eat your holiday sweets during flu season. Lastly, Atrazine affects our hormones. This journal article says, “We...

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High Fructose Corn Syrup (Part 1)

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Sugar and Artificial Sweetners, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Today we are going to discuss high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is presently ubiquitous in processed foods and therefore significantly consumed by people all over the world. HFCS is found in most sweet beverages such as juices, sodas and also in packaged food products such as bread, cereals, breakfast bars, yogurts, soups, condiments and dressings. The average American eats 150 lbs of sugar per year and a large percentage comes from HFCS. Many of you have heard the recent TV ads say, “Your body can’t tell the difference between corn sugar and cane sugar.” What is corn sugar you might ask? It is HFCS. The manufacturers of high-fructose corn syrup asked the federal government for permission to sweeten its image with a new name: “corn sugar.” Why do you think that they are saying that? Because they need to trick you and change the name on labels because many health advocates like me inform people to stay away from products with HFCS if they want to be healthy. In this two part series we will discuss it why the statement, “HFCS is no more or less unhealthy than any other kind of sugar,” is certainly a myth. Why is it so bad? Mercury is used to produce high fructose corn syrup. An article in Environmental Health published research on High fructose corn syrup samples that were collected from three different manufacturers and analyzed for total mercury. The samples were found to contain levels of mercury ranging from below a detection limit of 0.005 to 0.570 micrograms mercury per gram of high fructose corn syrup. This may not sound like much but considering the Average daily consumption of high fructose corn syrup is about 50 grams per person in the United States, these authors estimate that the potential average daily total mercury exposure from HFCS could be as high as 28.4 micrograms mercury. To put that into perspective  “Canada and other countries do not recommend the use of mercury amalgam in pregnant women or children.” Because Mercury is a danger to unborn children who’s developing brains can be damaged if they are exposed to low dose microgram exposures in the womb.” And those levels in the amalgams are between 0.79 to 1.91 micrograms. “Mercury is toxic in all its forms it is essential to minimize exposure as it can affect many aspects of development, in particular brain maturation. Don’t take my word for it, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that minimizing mercury exposure is essential for optimal child health. Given how much high fructose corn syrup children consume, it could be a significant additional source of mercury. Keep in mind; mercury is only one reason why HFCS is unhealthier...

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Truth or Myth? Sports Drinks are bad for you!

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Sugar and Artificial Sweetners, Uncategorized |

There is much confusion among the public as to whether or not sports drinks such, as Gatorade and Powerade are healthy for you.  I often get the question are sports drinks good or bad?  The marketing campaigns for Sport drinks; often feature celebrity athletes thus many people are under the impression that these drinks are healthy and essential for sport activities and during or after a workout. Lets clear up the myth that Sports drinks are bad for you. The purpose of a sports dink is to replenish your electrolytes. It is important to replenish your electrolyte reserve after and intense workout that last 45-60 minutes.  This is a good thing and very beneficial for your body.  However, they are not needed for moderate works lasting only 30 minutes, as water is sufficient.   According to research, sports drinks are necessary for your health after an intense workout, but the question still remains are the Leading brands of sports drinks healthy or bad for you?   Lets look at some facts; typically the leading brands contain about two-thirds the sugar and more sodium than sodas!  Many also often contain high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that we have talk about in previous episodes, also many have artificial flavors and food coloring, none of which belong in your body. Most sports drink only use sodium chloride, which is table salt to replenish the electrolytes; this is a problem because the body needs other electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium and potassium.  Unfortunately these electrolytes are commonly deficient among Americans, and most Americans who have too much salt in their diet already. Additionally, the sports drinks and sodas that are citrus in flavor and yellow or orange in color typically have brominated vegetable oil in them. Brominated vegetable oil has been banned in over 100 countries because it is toxic. It gets stored in your fat cells and over time it can build up in your body to cause thyroid problems and symptoms such as depression, memory problems, hallucinations, seizures, tremors, confusion, slurred speech, photophobia, and fatigue. As you can see the myth that sports drinks are bad for you is actually true, sports drinks are bad for you.  So what can you do to replace electrolytes after and intense workout lasting at least 45 minutes?  Read your labels, if you purchase sports drinks make sure that it does not have HFCS, artificial dyes and flavors, brominated vegetable oil, and specifically watch out for artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. I personally drink water but I also add lemon or lime juice to it while I workout and for extra sweetness you can add honey.  Additionally after my workout I usually take a multi-mineral supplement.  Many...

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Truth or Myth? The Artificial Sweetener Aspartame Actually Helps You Get Healthy

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Sugar and Artificial Sweetners, Uncategorized |

In order to verify if this is a truth or a myth we must first look at the composition of this artificial sweetener.  The Ingredients Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than natural sugar and is made up of 40% aspartic acid, 50% phenylalanine and 10% methanol. (Tex Heart Inst J 2003; 30:314–5)  Aspartic Acid Aspartate, the salt form of aspartic acid, is a neurotransmitter in the brain that facilitates information from one neuron (brain cell) to another. Too much aspartate allows an influx of calcium into the brain cells, therefore triggering an excessive amount of free radicals, which kill the nerve cells. Aspartate is referred to as an “excitotoxin” because of the nerve cell damage that it causes. Many chronic illnesses have been attributed to long-term excitotoxin exposure, including multiple sclerosis, ALS, memory loss, hormonal problems, hearing loss, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, hypoglycemia, dementia, brain lesions and neuroendocrine disorders. Phenylalanine Phenylalanine is an amino acid normally found in the brain. Excessive levels of phenylalanine in the brain can cause the levels of serotonin (happy/feel good chemical) to decrease, which can lead to depression, sleep disturbances, schizophrenia and make one more susceptible to seizures. Research on human subjects has shown phenylalanine levels in the blood are increased significantly in those who chronically use aspartame. Methanol By far, the most controversial ingredient in aspartame is methanol also known as wood alcohol. An assessment of methanol from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states that it is “considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidized to formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic.” This oxidation occurs when methanol reaches 86 degrees F (30 degrees C). Do you think it is a problem for us? Absolutely it is… our body on average is 98.6 degrees. When I did my fellowship in Human Anatomy I had to wear a respirator and wear protective coverings head to toe, because formaldehyde is a known carcinogen (cancer causing agent).  Formic Acid is bee and ant venom. Imagine a lifetime of small toxics doses of these substances; overtime do you think this would lead to health? According to the EPA, the consumption limit of methanol is 7.8 mg/day. Did you know consuming 1 Liter of aspartame-sweetened beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol? That is seven times the EPA limit. The most common maladies related to methanol poisoning are vision problems including misty vision, progressive contraction of visual fields, blurring of vision, obscuration of vision, retinal damage, optic nerve damage and blindness. I see nothing in this product that actually makes you healthy, thus I would say to the statement,  “the artificial...

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