Dhaka, Jul 23 (UNB)- While most of us happily consume anything that says “sugar-free”, assuming that it doesn’t have sugar at all, what we don’t realise is that “sugar-free” doesn’t mean ‘no sugar’. Like we add white table sugar or brown sugar to our cakes, coffee, cookies and even fruits, food manufacturers are also known to add artificial sweeteners, a form of sugar, or typically high-fructose corn syrup to foods and beverages including crackers, tomato sauce and salad dressing. Even low-fat foods like flavoured yogurt are considered to be high on sugar reports the Indian Express.
Pune-based diabetes researcher Dr Pramod Tripathi, founder, Freedom from Diabetes center, tells indianexpress.com, “Sugar-free and no added sugar labelled products do not mean the same thing”. “According to United States’ Food and Drug Administration guidelines ‘no added sugar’ means no sugar-containing ingredient is used during processing and ‘sugar free’ means a food must have 0.5 gram of sugar (naturally occurring or any sugar ingredient) per serving. Both these terms do not say anything about artificial sweeteners.”
Either added by consumers themselves or found in processed foods, such sugars are called free sugars, and include glucose, dextrose, fructose, household sugar (sucrose), malt sugar (maltose) and also sugars that are found in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
Why is added sugar a concern? Sugar in all forms is a simple carbohydrate that the body converts into glucose and uses for energy. But the effect on the body and your overall health depends on the type of sugar you are eating. Since added sugars are easily broken down by once’s body, sugar levels tend to rise very rapidly unlike natural sugars.
Aside from adding calories to your body, added sugar provides no nutrition which is why it is often referred to as ’empty calories’ that causes weight gain and obesity. Having too much sugar can lead to many problems, ranging from trouble in concentration, mood swings, sudden drop and rise in blood sugar level, inflammation in the body to chronic illnesses like heart problems and diabetes.
According to FDA, the added sugar-intake recommendation should not be more than 10 per cent of one’s daily calorie intake. But World Health Organisation (WHO) reduced this percentage from 10 to five per cent. For an adult who has a normal BMI, WHO recommends no more than five teaspoons of sugar.
But the guideline does not refer to naturally occurring sugar that is found in fresh fruits, vegetables, milk and whole grains as these food items are known to have less amount of sugar and also have other additional health benefits. Even doctors are concerned about added sugars and not the naturally occurring sugar.
In fact, accumulating evidence also suggests that frequent consumers of these sugar substitutes may also be at increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease as per a Purdue University study in the US.
Since the generally accepted definition of sugar includes just glucose and sucrose, these sugar-free products are laden with FDA-approved artificial sweeteners, suggests Dr Mayank Uppal, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science & Research, Delhi.
“Neotame, Saccharin, Aspartame, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose and Advantame are some of the artificial sweeteners. When people end up using these products, it not only adds to their calories but makes the product very sweet due to the use of high-intensity artificial sweeteners. As consumers gorge on these products, they tend to develop a distaste for healthier options like fruits that are mildly sweet. This makes them add a large amount of calories to their diet,” he tells indianexpress.com.
So what is the way out? Dr Uppal recommends that while looking for sugar-free products, consumers should also be aware that products that claim to be sugar-free may not necessarily be low in calories and carbohydrates as perceived. “Consumers should not be satisfied with the conventional definition of sugar but also stay away from products that may contain ingredients like corn syrup extract, maple syrup and honey,” he says.
Washington, Jul 23 (AP/UNB) — Millions of people who take aspirin to prevent a heart attack may need to rethink the pill-popping, Harvard researchers reported Monday.
A daily low-dose aspirin is recommended for people who have already had a heart attack or stroke and for those diagnosed with heart disease.
But for the otherwise healthy, that advice has been overturned. Guidelines released this year ruled out routine aspirin use for many older adults who don't already have heart disease — and said it's only for certain younger people under doctor's orders.
How many people need to get that message?
Some 29 million people 40 and older were taking an aspirin a day despite having no known heart disease in 2017, the latest data available, according to a new study from Harvard and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. About 6.6 million of them were doing so on their own — a doctor never recommended it.
And nearly half of people over 70 who don't have heart disease — estimated at about 10 million — were taking daily aspirin for prevention, the researchers reported in Annals of Internal Medicine.
"Many patients are confused about this," said Dr. Colin O'Brien, a senior internal medicine resident at Beth Israel who led the study.
After all, for years doctors urged people to leverage aspirin's blood-thinning properties to lower the chances of a first heart attack or stroke. Then last year, three surprising new studies challenged that dogma. Those studies were some of the largest and longest to test aspirin in people at low and moderate risk of a heart attack, and found only marginal benefit if any, especially for older adults. Yet the aspirin users experienced markedly more digestive-tract bleeding, along with some other side effects. .
In March, those findings prompted a change in guidelines from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology:
—People over 70 who don't have heart disease — or are younger but at increased risk of bleeding — should avoid daily aspirin for prevention.
—Only certain 40- to 70-year-olds who don't already have heart disease are at high enough risk to warrant 75 to 100 milligrams of aspirin daily, and that's for a doctor to decide.
Nothing has changed for heart attack survivors: Aspirin still is recommended for them.
But there's no way to know how many otherwise healthy people got the word about the changed recommendations.
"We hope that more primary care doctors will talk to their patients about aspirin use, and more patients will raise this with their doctors," O'Brien said.
Sydney, July 19 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Tooth decay and other oral diseases present a major global public health crisis with sugar as the main culprit, according to a Series on oral health published in The Lancet medical journal on Friday.
The Series brought together 13 experts from 10 different countries to explore why oral diseases have persisted globally over the last three decades, despite scientific advancements in the field.
Currently, oral diseases are among the most common in the world, affecting an estimated 3.5 billion people, yet oral health has been largely ignored by the global health community, the experts said.
Co-author, Professor Marco A Peres from Australia's Griffith university joined his colleagues in calling for radically improved global dental care, increased regulation of the sugar industry and more transparency of scientific studies which may be falling victim to conflicts of interest.
"I think that there is a global health challenge regarding oral disease," Peres told Xinhua.
"It's a big challenge and we recognize in the papers that the traditional approach to managing dental disease probably fails."
Peres and his colleagues identify three main determinants, being sugar, tobacco and alcohol, among which sugar is the single greatest contributor to deteriorating oral health worldwide.
While there have been some countries which have adopted a tax on sugar products with promising results, according to Peres in other countries such as Australia, powerful interest groups are exerting their influence to avoid the measure.
"Many public health, academic and consumer groups support a tax on sugar, but political support is limited and there is a strong lobby against the implementation of a sugar tax led by sugary drinks companies," he said.
The Series authors also suggest that oral health be less removed from general health, with dentistry rarely being thought of as a mainstream part of healthcare policy, despite its intrinsic link to health and wellbeing.
"A clear need exists for broader accessibility and integration of dental services into healthcare systems, especially primary care, and for oral health to have more prominence within universal health coverage commitments," said Dr. Jocalyn Clark, an executive editor at The Lancet.
"Everyone who cares about global health should advocate to end the neglect of oral health."
Beijing, July 19 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Chinese scientists will begin the second-phase clinical trial of an HIV vaccine on 160 volunteers, Friday's China Daily reported.
The candidate vaccine, DNA-rTV, relies on replication of the DNA of HIV to stimulate effective immunization, according to Shao Yiming, a chief HIV researcher at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, adding that it's the first such HIV vaccine to begin a second-phase clinical trial.
This vaccine under development, which contains DNA segments from HIV instead of the full human immunodeficiency virus, will have a stronger and longer-lasting effect. It is also designed to target the HIV strains that are most common in China, Shao was cited by the newspaper as saying.
More than 130 volunteers have been recruited so far, and the initial work is underway at a hospital in Beijing and another in the city of Hangzhou, he added.
"Hopefully the second-phase trial will be completed in the latter half of 2021, and the third-phase clinical trial may start at the end of that year, which will involve thousands of volunteers in a trial to test the effectiveness of the vaccine to protect people against HIV," Shao said.
Washington, Jul 19 (AP/UNB) — The Environmental Protection Agency rejected a key legal challenge Thursday to a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, saying environmental groups had failed to prove that a ban was warranted.
The agency's defense of continued use of the widely used bug-killer chlorpyrifos could set the stage for a pivotal federal court decision on whether to overrule the EPA and force the agency to ban it.
"To me, this starts the clock on the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops in the US," said former senior EPA attorney Kevin Minoli.
Scientists say studies have shown that chlorpyrifos damages the brains of fetuses and children. The pesticide has been used nationally on dozens of food crops, but California — the nation's largest agricultural state — and a handful of other states have recently moved to ban it.
The agency said the environmental groups had failed to prove that the pesticide wasn't safe.
Last summer, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to ban all sales of the pesticide. The court decided to reconsider that ruling with a slate of 11 judges, who gave the EPA until this month to respond to the environmental groups' arguments for banning chlorpyrifos.
The EPA under the Obama administration had initiated a ban, but the agency reversed that decision shortly after President Donald Trump took office.
The EPA defense Thursday showed that "as long as the Trump administration is in charge, this EPA will favor the interests of the chemical lobby over children's safety," said Ken Cook, head of the Environmental Working Group environmental advocacy organization.
In a statement, the EPA said it was separately speeding up a regular agency review of the pesticide's continued use, and expected a decision on that well ahead of a 2022 deadline.
The EPA said it also was talking with chlorpyrifos makers about further restrictions on how farmers use the pesticide.