Carbohydrates have become the ugly stepsister in the family photo album of healthy eating. Standing in the grocery aisle, consumers study ingredients and food labels, counting and analyzing the carb content of their foods. In the last decade, the popularity of low carb diets rose to dramatic heights as Americans gravitated toward the South Beach, Atkins, and Zone diets. Fruits were forsaken for plates piled high with steak and eggs.
You know that awful feeling when a sugar low is coming. I break out into a cold sweat, feel panicky, get nauseated, and have trouble answering extremely simple questions like "Do you need to eat?" Well, I was feeling it again, and again, and I didn't know why. That's what I hate the most: When things go wrong, but I think I've been doing everything right.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is, as the name implies, corn syrup whose glucose has been partially changed into a different sugar, fructose. To make HFCS, you start with corn, then mill it to produce starch -corn starch. Starch, the most important carbohydrate in the human diet, consists of long chains of glucose. To make corn syrup, you mix the corn starch with water and then add an enzyme, produced by a bacterium, that breaks the starch down into shorter chains of glucose. Then you add another enzyme, produced by a fungus, that breaks the short chains down into glucose molecules. At that point, you have regular corn syrup.
According to a new study published in Diabetes Care, your finger-prick blood glucose test may be "abnormally and significantly high" if you test after handling fruit without first scrubbing your hands thoroughly and vigorously.
After the American Heart Association introduced its heart healthy logo in 1995, manufacturers apparently decided that such "healthy" logos were a pretty good marketing idea. Similar logos, called front-of-the-package labels, or FoP labels, have become popular with several food manufacturers, each of which has developed its own labels using its own criteria. Now, not surprisingly, a study by the Prevention Institute has found that these labels are misleading to customers. According to the Prevention Institute's executive director, Larry Cohen, they "emphasize one healthy aspect to trick [customers] into buying something fundamentally unhealthy." Dora the Explorer Fruit Shapes, for example, prominently labels itself as "gluten free," but does not mention the fact that 58 percent of its calories come from sugar.
It's a pretty common complaint heard in households around the country: "My tummy hurts." Parents and teachers have been battling this complaint for decades, with children insisting that they are in pain and having no explanation why.
Foods that are sugar free, no sugar added, or low carb, typically have the sugar replaced with sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols have a significantly diminished impact on blood sugar levels as compared to regular sugar because they are incompletely absorbed into the blood stream from the small intestine. They also have fewer calories than sugar, and are not as sweet as sugar. Some common sugar alcohols are: glycol, sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, and lactitol. The simplest sugar alcohol, ethylene glycol, is the sweet but notoriously toxic chemical used in antifreeze. Sugar alcohol is typically derived from fruits and vegetables.
I have a long-standing obsession with baking. The art of creating cookies, bars, pies, and cakes got me through some of the most stressful times in my life, including holidays, college final exams, and a new job. After I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of twenty-four, however, I learned that my traditional ingredients, including white flour, sugar, and excessive amounts of chocolate, lead to high blood sugars and of course, fatigue, fogginess, and other undesirable side effects.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Combining artificial sweeteners with the real thing boosts the stomach's secretion of a hormone that makes people feel full and helps control blood sugar, new research shows.
The dictionary defines a sugar plum as a small round or oval piece of sugary candy. But for most of us, visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads conjures up a far vaster array of sweet holiday treats. From cakes, cookies, and pies, to sugar-laced seasonal beverages, and yes, plenty of sweet confections, the holiday season is arguably the sweetest time of the year - and the most difficult when one is trying to keep carbohydrates and calories in check.
Bridgewater, NJ, November 19, 2009 - Sanofi-aventis U.S. announced today that GoMealsTM, a new iPhone application (app) designed to help people living with diabetes make healthy food choices, is now available for download at the iTunes App store. GoMealsTM is a food tracking tool which allows users to search thousands of foods and dishes from popular restaurants and grocery stores to easily see the nutritional content of meals and snacks.
DAVIS, CA, SEPTEMBER 17, 2009 - While health officials have long suspected the link between obesity and soda consumption, research released today provides the first scientific evidence of the potent role soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages play in fueling California's expanding girth.
We're drinking so much sugar-sweetened soda that it's become a taxing problem, according to a Health Policy Report published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine. Between 1977 and 2002, Americans doubled their intake of sugary beverages. Unfortunately, that's not good news for anyone but the beverage companies. Although high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and fruit juice concentrates are naturally derived sweeteners (as opposed to artificial low- or no-calorie sweeteners), this added sugar has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
The American Heart Association, noting a direct link between sugar consumption and the development of such conditions as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, has called upon Americans to drastically reduce their consumption of "added sugar." Added sugar is defined, reasonably enough, as sugar added to foods during processing, cooking, or at meals.
A study of the sugar consumption habits of 30,000 Americans by the American Dietetic Association concludes that race/ethnicity, family income and education levels are important factors in how much sugar a person eats.
Whenever Diabetes Health publishes an article about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), we receive mountains of printed material from corn industry advocates. They argue that the effects of HFCS cannot be extrapolated from research because the "studies look at the effects of fructose independently." They claim, in the words of Christopher Mohr, MS, RD, LDN, of the Corn Refiners Association, that "the absence of glucose makes pure fructose fundamentally different from HFCS."
It's National Diabetes Month! Why not reward yourself for all that work you've done educating yourself about diabetes, all that time you've watched your diet, and all that time you've spent exercising? Have yourself a little sugar-free ice cream!
Sweet Simplicity is a new sweetener on the market made from erythritol (an all-natural sugar alcohol found in grapes, pears and even some soy products), fructose (found in a variety of fruits and in honey) and natural flavors.
The article "High Fructose Corn Syrup: Is This Disguised Sugar Affecting Your Diabetes?"(May 2005) unfortunately suggests that food manufacturers are misusing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a natural, home-grown sweetener from Midwest corn fields.
To enhance flavor: Add an additional teaspoon of vanilla extract per each cup of granular sugar substitute, such as Equal, NutraSweet, DiabetiSweet or Splenda.
To achieve a better rise in baked goods using a low-calorie sweetener, switch from 9-inch to 8-inch round pans with 2-inch high sides. You can also try adding a half cup of dry milk powder and a half teaspoon of baking soda for every one cup of granular sugar substitute or low-calorie sweetener.
When baking with yeast, maintain at least two teaspoons of sugar in a recipe for yeast activation.
Baking time may be shorter with low-calorie sweetener. Check cookies three to five minutes sooner and cakes seven to 10 minutes sooner than called for by the original recipe.
If you have been disappointed by the taste of sugar-free candies and cookies in past years, try them again. Some newer products taste so good that they are marketed to anyone who is willing to eat a little healthier, as long as this doesn’t mean having to give up foods they enjoy. Many packages don’t even mention diabetes benefits.
For every study saying aspartame is harmful, another says it is not. Hundreds of studies throughout the world have been performed with aspartame. Here's just a tiny sample of contradictory studies, with a summary of their conclusions.
In the last 20 years there has been a change in the kind of sugar food manufacturers use to sweeten their products. In the past, sucrose was king. Today, fructose, in the form of high fructose syrup (HFS), is much more common. This is touted as good news for people with diabetes, but is it?
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