Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Study: Added Sugar, Not Just Fat, Bad For Cholesterol

I was away on vacation, relaxing in sunny Florida, when I opened the USA Today and saw the headline, "Study: Added Sugar, Not Just Fat, Bad For Cholesterol". I thought I'd better take a look at the article as many of my nutrition clients suffer from high cholesterol. I was also sitting next to my father, who at 68 years young is extremely fit, yet has elevated cholesterol levels, so I was definitely interested in the results of the study. Sugar is responsible for a myriad of health problems, such as obesity, depression, ADD/ADHD, headaches, fatigue and hormonal issues and now it has been linked to cholesterol levels. Researchers at Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta took a look at the sugar intake and blood fat levels in more than 6,100 adults and their discoveries appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a highly cited weekly medical journal that publishes peer-reviewed medical research findings. The participants consumed on average, 21.4 teaspoons of added sugars a day from prepared and processed food such as candy, pastries, cookies, canned fruit and soft drinks. Not included in the study were the sugars in fresh fruit, 100% juice and other whole foods. The study showed that the people with the greatest intake of added sugars were more likely to have higher levels of triglycerides (blood fats) and lower levels of good cholesterol (HDL). Senior author Miriam Vos, an assistant professor at Emory University said, "People have been so focused on fat that we haven't been focused on sugar, and it's gotten away from us. This data shows we can't let either one or the other get too high. We need to get used to consuming foods and drinks that are less sweet".
So, what can we do to reduce added sugars in our diet without total depriving ourselves from the joy of eating? We can replace the added sugar in soda, lemonade and coffee drinks with an all natural, plant based sweetener from Paraguay called stevia. Many companies are using this sugar alternative in products such as Zevia beverages and SoBe Zero Lifewater. We can also be more aware of food labels and added sugar in certain items such as salad dressings, sauces, and even yogurt. Making the switch from regular yogurt to Greek yogurt can cut sugars by more than 50% - now that is significant!
Are you trying to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet for health reasons? Would love to hear some of the ways that you have been successful - please post a comment and share your discoveries!

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