Sport-Specific Drop Outs Are More Concerning Than Sport-General Drop Outs. Why Sugar Hacked Science (And Your Health!)

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Why Sugar Hacked Science (And Your Health!)

The current nutrition buzz is bad news for sugar. This is.

The fact that acknowledging this is considered a new direction by nutritionists, nutritionists, and the general public shows how off-base the field of nutrition has been for so long. It even makes the field of nutrition seem ridiculous.

At least, for me. I have sprayed sugar for over 20 years and sometimes get sprayed back for doing so.

But it’s worth tracking down the incident so we can blame the culprit…

Once upon a time, sugar was bad

In scientific journals in the 1970s, the negative health effects of sugar attracted widespread attention. Movies are available – some very good. A bestseller on the issue of sugar consumption is William Dufty’s Sugar Blues.

Interestingly, Sugar Blues was written before little, if any, was known about the brain chemicals that sugar triggers. Long before any connection was made between sugar and appetite, cravings, health, mood, and more.

Endorphins (beta-endorphins) were not “discovered” until 1975. So the 1974 book was a little ahead of its time. It’s timely, however, because scientists are working on sugar.

That’s not good news for the sugar industry.The sugar industry is a powerful lobby in Washington, D.C.

If you think food industry lobbyists don’t influence government, an eye-opening book is Marion Nestle’s Food Politics. She describes the painstaking, frustrating process of developing the raw food guide pyramid.

Nestlé works for the USDA, and representatives from the beef and dairy industries visit daily. Their complaints—and the pressure they exerted—were an important factor in the Food Guidelines Pyramid, published in 1991.

These complaints made the original Pyramid ambiguous to consumers in several ways. A few years later, it had to be revised for clarification. (This is a side question, but please stay with me.)

The point is that the food industry is a real part of the USDA. We, the consumers, are not. Government agencies care more about our health than appeasing their constituents.

Which brings us back to sugar in the late 70’s.

The sugar industry didn’t care about the scientific emphasis on sugar-related health problems and started doing evil.

Sugar Devil spins fat as an enemy

By 1984, fat had been designated the new dietary evil.

From then until the late 1990s – and beyond – we had a low-fat craze. It’s a craze, even though it’s masquerading as the right way to eat.

Some people still believe it! They even cite Ancel Keys, whose work has since been debunked by multiple sources.

During that time, several things happened – nothing good, except the sugar industry.

First, scientists stopped focusing on sugar and started focusing on fat.

They set out to investigate health problems associated with high-fat diets, saturated fat, red meat, cheese, and other “bad fats.” New scientific discoveries emerge and make their way into the mainstream media.

In 1995, a full supplement to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) published a paper from a conference on dietary sugars.

Moderators were chosen from researchers I recognized immediately. They consistently found no negative effects of sugar on health, weight or even tooth decay.

Do I have to tell you that these scientists are funded by manufacturers of sugary foods?

Here’s the gist:

After the meeting, all the companies that attended (General Mills, Kraft, and the other big sugar users you know) can “legitimately” claim their representatives attended the scientific meeting – conclusively showing that sugar is good for whatever reason .

Also during the low-fat craze, the food industry developed low-fat and non-fat products. Conveniently — and no coincidence — for the sugar industry, these products use sugar to replace the flavor lost when the fat is removed.

one example? cream cheese. Full-fat products don’t contain sugar, but fat-free products do. A line of low-fat frozen treats — ironically named “Healthy Choices” — has added sugar to every product, including soup. Other companies followed suit.

Product developers have even created artificial fats. Remember Olean and Olestra? (What about side effects, like anal leakage? Maybe that’s a story for another article.)

With all these low-fat and non-fat options, the dietary fat content is well below the original recommendation of 30%.

That 30 percent was endorsed by the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society—until the low-fat craze hit us.

Clinically, I’ve seen protein intake drop as well, especially in women. Protein contains fat—sometimes a lot of it—so women concerned about losing weight should let it go. They start eating carbohydrates, and they eat a lot.

The Low-Fat Movement Is Making Us Sugar Addicts

Recommendations to increase carbohydrates have been made everywhere — including the 1991 Food Guide Pyramid. The bottom layer needs 6 to 11 servings of grain.

The Pritikin Wellness Center recommends a diet of 7 percent protein, less than 10 percent fat, and 83 percent or more carbohydrates.

My clients’ food records show that the carbohydrates they eat instead of fat and protein are not vegetables, legumes or root vegetables, but sugar and refined flour products.

During the low-fat craze, sugar consumption skyrocketed. From 1984 to 1997, the increase in sugar consumption—not total consumption, just the 13-year increase—was 25 pounds per person per year.

This increase may be due in part to a phenomenon known as the sugar/fat seesaw: As one drop in the diet, the other rises. When everyone started a low-fat diet, the reduction in fat intake was accompanied by a massive increase in sugar.

The sugar/fat seesaw is acknowledged in scientific journals, but not explained. In my 1999 paper, I outlined hormonal and neurochemical explanations for this.

Consumption of artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup rose during the low-fat craze, according to the USDA. In 1996, Nutrition Action Health Letters reported that sugar consumption in the United States was on the rise again for the 10th year in a row.

Also—and this doesn’t surprise me—obesity is endemic in the United States. The CDC reports that 20 years after 25 percent of the population was overweight, the number of Americans who were overweight increased to 33 percent in the 1980s. Investigators at the Minnesota Heart Health Program were unable to explain the increase with dietary fat data.

But what they don’t realize is that they should be looking at sugar. Just like in the 1970s.

Obviously, the increase in sugar consumption is beneficial to the sugar industry. The obesity epidemic is an unfortunate result of their profit-grabbing strategy.

Low-fat fitness experts see the light

At first, the fitness industry jumped on the low-fat train, and I was stuck on it. Across the industry, weight loss guidelines for clients reflect low-fat dogma. At fitness conferences, attendees’ gift bags are filled with low-fat, high-sugar “energy bars” and more.

In the early 1990’s, I educated fitness professionals about the health problems associated with sugar intake. An angry woman stood up and shouted, “I have the same degree as you” – we both have a master’s degree in exercise physiology – “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

In 1995, I was invited to a fitness conference for a panel called “To Carbs or Not to Carbs”. The “team” consisted of two people: a Pritikin Center researcher and myself. It’s structured as a debate – someone sure wants me to lose.

I don’t know anything about it, but the Pritikin guys are involved in the plot. He was also in the second position to speak so that he could challenge my words with his low-fat Pritikin rhetoric.

By the late 1990s, a debate intensified. The fitness industry is starting to reflect some controversy. We see fitness industry publications warning against carb intake, followed by articles promoting “carb loads” before athletic events.

Just a few years after its 1995 pro-sugar supplement, AJCN devoted an entire supplement in 1998 to the role of fats and oils in combating obesity and metabolic complications. Several of these articles address the failure of low-fat diets to achieve long-term weight loss.

Now we’ve come full circle. People are finally realizing that sugar and high-sugar foods can affect our health in so many ways—diabetes, high blood pressure, mood swings, uncontrolled eating, and more.

Bonus Tips: Be Vigilant, Cautious, and Suspicious

Because more is known about nutrition now than at any time in my memory, I don’t think the sugar industry can confuse us by talking about the dangers of fat. Too much recent research has shown the benefits of certain fats — while we’re always told that relatively harmless fats are bad.

Will the sugar industry give up? Don’t count on it. I fully want to see a push for the benefits of “sneaky sugars” that people want to believe are good for them because they provide an excuse to eat sugar.

These sneaky sugars will include products sweetened with “natural” fruit juices. Or the agave syrup we have everywhere these days. And possibly new products we haven’t seen yet. Are they—will they—be good for you? Trust me when I say “no”!

What we are told about nutrition in the US is often not what we should know or do, but what will benefit the various food industries.

Sugar sneaks into our food and meals in many ways. It affects health, inflammation, metabolism, appetite and mood. It can cause appetite and overeating. It affects children with autism as well as pregnant women and their babies.

Fructose is arguably the worst form of sugar – it’s seriously problematic! However, people are more reluctant than ever to give up fruit – the preferred form of sugar for those who want to believe their diet is healthy.

I have written book chapters on fruit as the “final frontier” of nutritional health. It probably is.

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