Fruit Sugars vs. Other Sugars

Zawn Villines wrote . . . . . . . . .

The sugars that manufacturers most commonly use in foods include:

  • corn syrup, which is usually 100% glucose
  • fructose, which is sugar from fruit
  • galactose, which forms the milk sugar lactose when combined with glucose
  • high fructose corn syrup, which combines refined fructose and glucose but with a higher percentage of fructose
  • maltose, which is from two glucose units
  • sucrose, or white or table sugar, which is equal parts fructose and glucose

These sugars differ from fruit sugar because they undergo processing and manufacturers tend to overuse them as additives in food and other products. Our bodies also metabolize these sugars more quickly.

For example, sucrose can make coffee sweeter, and high fructose corn syrup is a common additive in many processed products, such as soda, fruit snacks and bars, and more.

Potential risks

Research consistently links refined and added fructose, both of which are present in sugar and sweetened products, to a higher risk of health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

It is worth reiterating, however, that this research looked exclusively at fructose in its processed form as an additive in sweetened foods, not at fructose from whole fruits.

Although some fad and extreme diets aim to reduce or eliminate fruit from the diet, for most people, there is no evidence to suggest that fruit is harmful.

A 2014 study comparing fructose with glucose reviewed 20 controlled feeding trials. Although pooled analyses suggested that added fructose could raise cholesterol, uric acid, and triglycerides, it did not have a more negative effect on lipid profile, markers for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or insulin.

People with diabetes can also safely consume fruit. In many cases, sweet fruit can satisfy a craving for something else. Fruit has far less sugar than most sweet snacks, which can mean that a person consumes fewer calories and less sugar while also obtaining valuable nutrients.

Things to be aware of

Whole fruit is always a better choice than packaged or processed fruits.

For example, manufacturers tend to heavily sweeten and highly process fruit juices. Flavored juices that they market to children often contain large amounts of added sugars. These juices are not a substitute for whole fruit, and they may significantly increase a person’s sugar consumption.

People who consume canned fruits should check the label, as some canned fruits contain sweeteners or other flavoring agents that can greatly increase their sugar content.

A very high intake of fruit, as with any other food, may cause a person to consume too many calories, which may increase their risk of obesity. Overeating fruit, however, is difficult.

To exceed a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet by only eating fruit, a person would have to eat approximately 18 bananas, 15 apples, or 44 kiwifruits each day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, most people eat fewer than five servings of fruit per day.

Some of the only people who should avoid fruit are those with rare conditions that affect the way their bodies absorb or metabolize fructose. People with specific fruit allergies should also avoid some types of fruit.

A condition called fructose malabsorption, for instance, can cause fructose to ferment in the colon, causing stomach pain and diarrhea. Also, a rare genetic disorder called hereditary fructose intolerance interferes with the liver’s ability to metabolize fruit, which may require a person to adopt a diet without fructose.

Pregnant women in their second trimester should try to avoid eating more than four servings of fruit per day, especially of fruits that are high on the glycemic index. They may also wish to avoid tropical fruits, as these may increase the risk of gestational diabetes.

Benefits of eating fruit

The benefits of eating fruit far outweigh any purported or hypothetical risks. The benefits include:

  • Increased fiber intake: Consuming fiber can help a person feel fuller for longer, reduce food cravings, nourish healthful gut bacteria, and support healthful weight loss. Consuming fiber may also help a person maintain more consistent blood glucose, which is especially important for people with diabetes.
  • Lower sugar consumption: People who replace sweet snacks with fruit may eat less sugar and fewer calories.
  • Better overall health: Fruit consumption is linked to a wide range of health benefits. Fruit and vegetable consumption, according to one 2017 analysis, reduces the overall risk of death. Consuming fruits and vegetables also lowers the risk of a range of health conditions, including heart disease and cancer.
  • Lower risk of obesity: People who consume fruit are less likely to develop obesity and the health issues associated with it.

Fruit consumption is so beneficial to health that a 2019 systematic review concluded that the current recommendations might actually underestimate the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.

Summary

Nowadays, it can be difficult to separate nutritional facts from fiction, especially for people who are eager to lose weight, live longer, and feel better.

People should talk to a doctor or dietitian before making any dramatic changes to their diet. However, for most people, it is safe and recommended to eat several servings of whole fruit per day.

People with diabetes can also enjoy fruit regularly, though low glycemic and high fiber fruits are best.

Source: Medical News Today

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Food Neophobia May Lead to Poorer Dietary Quality and Increase the Risk of Lifestyle Diseases

Food neophobia, or fear of new foods, may lead to poorer dietary quality, increase the risk factors associated with chronic diseases, and thus increase the risk of developing lifestyle diseases, including cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. These are some of the findings of a study conducted by the National Institute for Health and Welfare, the University of Helsinki, and the University of Tartu in Estonia.

Food neophobia is an eating behaviour trait in which a person refuses to taste and eat food items or foods they are not familiar with.

The study examined the independent impact of eating behaviour, and especially food neophobia, on dietary quality as well as lifestyle diseases and their risk factors. So far, little research has been carried out on this area.

The study monitored individuals aged between 25 and 74 years in the Finnish FINRISK and DILGOM cohorts and an Estonian biobank cohort during a seven-year follow-up.

Food neophobia is hereditary

Food neophobia has been observed to be a strongly hereditary trait: twin studies have found that up to 78% of it may be hereditary. The trait can be easily measured using the FNS questionnaire (Food Neophobia Scale), which contains ten questions charting the respondent’s eating behaviour. The FNS questionnaire was also used to measure and quantify the fear of new foods in this study.

Food neophobia is common in children and older persons, in particular. Few studies have so far been carried out on food neophobia in the adult population. Traits similar to food neophobia, including picky and fussy eating, also occur in different age groups in the population. These eating behaviours may also have a significant impact on dietary quality and subsequently health. As different traits associated with eating behaviours have overlapping characteristics – making a clear-cut distinction between them is challenging.

Food neophobia has independent health impacts

The study found that food neophobia is linked to poorer dietary quality: for example, the intake of fibre, protein and monounsaturated fatty acids may be lower and the intake of saturated fat and salt greater in food neophobic individuals.

Additionally, a significant association was found between food neophobia and adverse fatty acid profile and increased level of inflammatory markers in blood. Subsequently, food neophobia also increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases or type 2 diabetes.

It is often thought that the impacts of eating behaviour and diet on health are mainly mediated through weight changes alone. In this study, however, the impacts of food neophobia emerged independently regardless of weight, age, socioeconomic status, gender or living area.

Your parents were right: you should always try all foods!

“The findings reinforce the idea that a versatile and healthy diet plays a key role, and even has an independent role in health. If we can intervene in deviant eating behaviours, such as food neophobia, already in childhood or youth, this will help to prevent potential future health problems early on”, says Research Professor Markus Perola from the National Institute for Health and Welfare.

”Hereditary factors and our genotype only determine our predisposition to food neophobia. Early childhood education and care and lifestyle guidance in adulthood can provide support in the development of a diverse diet”, Perola continues.

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Source: National Institute for Health and Welfare


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Study: Cholesterol in Eggs Tied to Cardiac Disease, Death

The risk of heart disease and death increases with the number of eggs an individual consumes, according to a UMass Lowell nutrition expert who has studied the issue.

Research that tracked the diets, health and lifestyle habits of nearly 30,000 adults across the country for as long as 31 years has found that cholesterol in eggs, when consumed in large quantities, is associated with ill health effects, according to Katherine Tucker, a biomedical and nutritional sciences professor in UMass Lowell’s Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences, who co-authored the analysis. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study results come as egg consumption in the country continues to rise. In 2017, people ate an average of 279 eggs per year, compared with 254 eggs in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Current U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans do not offer advice on the number of eggs individuals should eat each day. The guidelines, which are updated every five years, do not include this because nutrition experts had begun to believe saturated fats were the driving factor behind high cholesterol levels, rather than eggs, according to Tucker. However, prior to 2015, the guidelines did recommend individuals consume no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day, she said.

One large egg contains nearly 200 milligrams of cholesterol, roughly the same amount as an 8-ounce steak, according to the USDA. Other foods that contain high levels of cholesterol include processed meats, cheese and high-fat dairy products.

While the new research does not offer specific recommendations on egg or cholesterol consumption, it found that each additional 300 milligrams of cholesterol consumed beyond a baseline of 300 milligrams per day was associated with a 17 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and an 18 percent higher risk of death.

Eating several eggs a week “is reasonable,” said Tucker, who noted they include nutrients beneficial to eye and bone health. “But I recommend people avoid eating three-egg omelets every day. Nutrition is all about moderation and balance.”

Research results also determined that study participants’ exercise regimen and overall diet quality, including the amount and type of fat they consumed, did not change the link between cholesterol in one’s diet and risk of cardiovascular disease and death.

“This is a strong study because the modeling adjusted for factors such as the quality of the diet,” Tucker said. “Even for people on healthy diets, the harmful effect of higher intake of eggs and cholesterol was consistent.”

Source: EurekAlert!


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Chart of the Day: Plant-based Burgers Aren’t Healthier than the Fast-food Originals


Enlarge image . . . . .

Source: Business Insider

This Is What Drinking Celery Juice Really Does to Your Body

Emily DiNuzzo wrote . . . . . . . . .

Some people see juicing as an easy way to add more fruits and veggies to their diet. Although it isn’t a new trend or dieting hack, celery juice, in particular, is having a moment. The never-ending health claims of celery juice benefits are alluring—but knowing what it actually does to your body is more helpful.

Celery juice is extremely hydrating

The one main benefit of drinking celery juice is hydration, according to Ali Webster, PhD, RD, the Associate Director of Nutrition Communications at the International Food Information Council Foundation. “Considering that a 16-ounce serving of celery juice contains a full head of celery, it does provide more water than a typical serving the intact vegetable would provide,” she says. Very few people would eat an entire head of celery as their source of hydration, so it’s safe to say drinking it is more hydrating since you can easily consume more in liquid form, adds Malina Malkani, RDN, CDN, media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and creator of the Wholitarian™ Lifestyle.

Aside from hydration and a few vitamins and minerals, there are very few other benefits of drinking celery juice, Webster says. “Most of the claims of celery juice’s effects on health are anecdotal—they rely on one person’s experience after drinking it,” she says. But personal anecdotes aren’t the same as evidence. Plus, if someone starts drinking celery juice, they are likely making other lifestyle changes that could also account for things like weight loss or clearer skin. These are the 17 best healthy-eating secrets from nutritionists.

There’s not nearly enough research backing other claims

Celery juice health claims circling the Internet, however, include everything from helping weight loss and digestion to reducing inflammation and preventing cancer. Malkani and Webster warn these are serious and potentially dangerous claims. First, there’s no evidence to support celery juice’s ability to help with weight loss, Webster says. The juicing process strips away the fiber which makes people feel full and aids weight loss. The same goes for digestion benefits. “Some people think drinking it first thing in the morning ‘improves digestion’ of other foods they eat throughout the day,” Malkani says. “However, there is not enough evidence to support this notion.”

Similarly, there is no current evidence that celery juice prevents cancer, either. Some studies show that certain types of fruits and vegetables either protect against certain cancers or have components that protect against cancer. That said, there is no research specifically on celery juice and this benefit. There is a partial exception—whole celery has a flavonoid, apigenin, which shows some chemo-preventative effects in cell-based research. Webster notes, however, that these results haven’t been demonstrated on humans in controlled trials—and, again, this is talking about whole celery, not the juice. Still, it’s possible there are more health perks of celery juice that researchers have yet to study. Until then, know that the juice is doing next to nothing for your body. Here are 13 health “myths” that turned out to be true.

Celery and celery juice can still be part of a healthy diet

That said, whole celery is a different nutritional ballgame. “I want to be clear that celery itself is an excellent addition to a healthy way of eating,” Webster says. Celery is nutrient-rich and a great source of fiber, vitamins K and C, manganese, magnesium, calcium, potassium, folate, and vitamin B6, as well as riboflavin, Malkani says. Plus, whole celery has anti-inflammatory properties that promote the health of gut lining and may help regulate digestion, she adds. “There is plenty of evidence suggesting that whole celery has a wide range of health benefits that include reducing the risk of heart disease, liver disease, and gout,” Malkani says. “However, research on whether celery juice offers similar benefits is very limited.” These are the 33 other foods that are way healthier than you realized.

After juicing the celery, however, the liquid is bitter, and some people might need to add sweeteners to stomach the flavor—increasing calories and sugar. Malkani recommends putting whole celery into a smoothie instead so that you can “drink” it without destroying the fiber.

The bottom line is that, like anything else, celery juice isn’t a cure-all and drinking it won’t eliminate other unhealthy eating or lifestyle habits. If you enjoy the taste, then keep on juicing, stay clear of sugary sweeteners, and eat other fruits and vegetables, too. Remember, however, that drinking plain water is an equally valid way to hydrate—and you don’t have to add any extra ingredients to stomach it.

Source: Reader’s Digest