Friday, July 15, 2011

Some level headed advice about sugar

Thanks to Adam at Lifehacker who wrote up this extensive post about sugar in its varied forms (table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, natural fruit sugars, etc.). I think he presents a balanced view and concludes the way that I would:
"Like with anything, sugar isn't all that bad for you in moderation. The problem with sugar these days is that there's a lot more of it in everything and it's in practically everything. So long as you pay attention to what you're eating and you don't overdo it, sugar can be a pleasant part of your life few to no issues. The important thing is that you know what you're consuming and make good choices as a result. The answer to this problem isn't groundbreaking, but just a matter of paying attention."
That, and encouraging healthy regular physical activity to stay lean and fit. The content for his Lifehacker post is drawn from this video by Robert H. Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at UCSF. It was given at a "Mini-Med School' series of lectures and is geared towards a general audience and is well worth a watch if you are interested in the subject. He does rely on a lot of basic science to help explain the background of what is going on with sugar and fructose, but he does back it up with some real clinical studies as well. For example, around 1:10 in the video, he describes how UCSF does its lifestyle intervention clinic to facilitate weight loss. It requires four things:
  1. Remove all sugared beverages, only water and milk
  2. Eat carbohydrates with fiber
  3. Wait 20 minutes before getting second portions
  4. Buy screen time with active time (one minute of exercise gets you one minute of TV time)
Doing these four things was highly effective at weight loss. But interestingly, one of the key reasons for failure was not removing the beverages. 

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