I have blogged about sugar numerous times - with a focus on corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup.  Most of us don't add a lot of sugar to our foods, the problem is with the amount of sugar found in most processed foods.  According to Robert Lustig, MD who wrote "Sugar, The Bitter Truth", "Roughly 80 percent of all packaged foods in the United States contain added sweeteners."  The problem with all of the sugar we are ingesting is two-fold.  Not only does sugar give us empty calories lacking in nutrients, it can deplete our systems leading to a fatty liver and other health concerns, including obesity.  When looking at labels, Dr. Lustig states that if you find any kind of sugar listed in the first three ingredients on the label, consider that food a dessert.  The sugar is going to cancel out any of the health benefits that would have been in the other ingredients.  If you are considering cutting down on your sugar consumption, my first recommendation would be to eliminate high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and corn sugar from the foods that you consume.  This one change will greatly improve the quality of food that you are ingesting.  Be sure to look at labels of foods that you wouldn't think would contain these sugars - even savory foods now add these sugars to the ingredient list.  Small steps to health are more attainable, so this is a great item to choose for a New Year's Resolution.  Have a great day ~  Shanna

The Blood Sugar Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman

I like Dr. Hyman as an author, and I recommend all of books.  His latest book focuses on something that he calls "diabesity".  This is a growing issue of diabetes and obesity in our society, which can lead to numerous health concerns.  The first area that he focuses on is nutrition.  Almost any plan for health that I look at starts with nutrition.  Three particular nutrients that many of us are deficient in (and that he has quizzes to determine if you are in his book) are magnesium, fatty acids (fish oil - omega 3's) and vitamin D.  These are actually relatively easy to determine, and can make a huge difference if you supplement appropriately.  When he discusses nutrition, he points out how much our diets have changed in the past 30-50 years.  People today consume an average of a "half a pound of sugar per person per year".  This amount of sugar is detrimental to our health.  One 20 ounce beverage can have as much as 17 teaspoons of sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), according to the author.  What I find even more alarming, is that "in the last 3- years, the sugar calories we consume from HFCS have increased from 0 percent to 66 percent."  These are empty calories found in most processed foods and beverages.  Dr. Hyman gives the following reasons why we need to eliminate HFCS from our diets:
  • HFCS and cane sugar are not biochemically identical or processed the same way by the body.
  • HFCS contains contaminants such as mercury that are not regulated or measured by the FDA.
  • Independent medical and nutrition experts do not support the use of HCFS in our diet, despite assertions of the corn industry.
  • HFCS is almost always a marker of poor-quality, nutrient-poor, disease-creating industrial food products or "food-like substances."  This is such an important point.  If you look at the ingredient list of many of our processed foods - even ones that claim to be natural, it is easy to see that there are very few ingredients that resemble food.  Now the term "corn sugar" is being used interchangeably with HFCS.
I have always been a proponent of eliminating HFCS from the diet.  It is a great goal to shoot for - once it is no longer in the diet, the remaining foods tend to be whole, more nutrient dense choices.  Have a great day - Shanna