Overdo It on the Lips, Forever on the Hips
What makes us fat? Is it sugar, fructose, fat, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or maybe…overconsumption of calories? As my girlfriend Denise says, “bigger size = bigger thighs”. So true, isn’t it ladies? In the past year or so, fingers have pointed directly at fructose and HFCS as the bad boys who should take the blame for our obesity epidemic and a lot of other health problems.
Fast-forward to this year and the empty calories (lacking any nutritional benefit to you) coming from sugar in bake sale foods and sodas are now in the hot seat. Maybe if we ban baked goods or shrink soda sizes, the weight issue will go away. What do you think? There are many and varying opinions on this touchy topic.
But a new study from researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto suggests that the issue of weight gain and obesity is perhaps due to overconsumption…you know, in the real world that’s eating way too many cookies the size of small pizzas and eating out of the ice cream container in front of the TV.
This study conducted a systematic review (close look at 18 other trials/studies) and found that fructose may actually be beneficial to the body, particularly in the case of diabetes. The participants in the trials (all with either Type 1 or 2 diabetes) ate food where fructose was sprinkled on it or incorporated into it. The fructose-containing diets had the same number of calories as the diets without it.
Fructose appeared to improve blood sugar control without negative effects on blood pressure, cholesterol levels or body weight. This switch out of fructose to replace other carbohydrates appeared to specifically improve long-term glycemic control (blood sugar control) as measured by HbA1c.
Remember that fructose is the natural sugar found in fruit and veggies. It is also part of sugar and HFCS. Added sugars of all types can add up to a chunk of your daily calories. Whether the added sugar is from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), sugar, honey, or agave syrup… sugar is sugar. The body sees them as all the same and so are the calories.
Hopefully more studies will follow to look closely at the role of fructose in health and disease management but for now, we can be our own change agent. We can take an up close and personal look at what we eat, how much we eat and why we eat it. Yes, that means we evaluate not only the amount of added sugars we consume but what our overall diet looks like (are we eating obscene portions) and change what we no longer like.
Dr. Susan Mitchell is a registered dietitian and member of the CRA RD Panel; Family Circle calls her their “go-to nutrition girl” who understands the belief that healthy food should taste good. Thousands of faithful listeners tune in to hear Dr. Mitchell’s podcast on WDBO.com, her radio segments on Orlando’s AM580 WDBO News-Talk radio and read her blog. A 15-year radio veteran and known for her smart, sassy straight talk about food and fitness, Dr. Mitchell helps you navigate through the hype of conflicting nutrition information. She takes the science of nutrition and turns it into easy-to-follow health messages that people understand and want to live by. Susan is the co-author of three books— Fat is Not Your Fate, I’d Kill for a Cookie and Eat to Stay Young. An award-winning licensed nutritionist, registered dietitian and Fellow of the American Dietetic Association, Dr. Mitchell earned her Ph.D. from The University of Tennessee. She taught nutrition and health science at The University of Central Florida for over 8 years.
Members of the RD Panel are paid consultants to the Corn Refiners Association (CRA), but their statements and opinions are their own. RD Panel members provide general dietary information, but you should consult your own physician or dietitian for advice concerning your particular circumstance.