It’s no secret that a diet high in sugar (and it’s other affiliated labels) can cause serious health concerns. Over the past 40+ years its consumption has steadily increased in our everyday food items. Let’s face it, it can be addictive. We’ve all felt those cravings, we need something sweet to take the edge off. It feels like we can’t just cut it out completely, we need to taper off. – The food industry delights in this cause and effect.
Increasing pressure from the public, health boards and the food standards agency brings forward new changes in the way this information is shared. Making it the law to declare contents accurately. This effectively gives the consumer more material to make an informed choice.
But is it that easy?
What makes this more difficult is the measures food companies take to disguise the sugar content in their products. Here are some label examples for sugar in a product:
barley malt, beet sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, caramel, corn syrup, dextran, dextrose, diatase, ethyl maltol, fructose, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, mannitol, molasses, sorbitol, sorghum syrup, sucrose…
To add to the headache of researching what we eat. A recent study made by scientists at the University of California has produced evidence to suggest a diet high in soybean oil. Made primarily of polyunsaturated fats, and is the main ingredient for vegetable oil. Produces a higher risk of obesity and diabetes than a diet high in fructose. A sugar commonly found in cans of coke and processed foods.
The research used four controlled diets at 40% fat, which is regarded as the typical consumption amount.
Diet one: Used only coconut oil, primarily made of saturated fat.
Diet two: Used 50% coconut oil and 50% vegetable oil.
Diet three: Used coconut oil with added fructose, comparable to the amount of average consumption.
Diet four: Used 50% coconut oil and 50% vegetable oil with added fructose.
All the diets contained the same amount of calories and there was no significant difference in the amount of food either. This enabled the researchers to study the effects of the different oils and fructose in the context of a constant caloric intake.
The results of the comparable vegetable oil diet showed increased weight gain, larger fat deposits, a fatty liver with signs of injury, diabetes and insulin resistance, all of which are part of the Metabolic Syndrome. The diets with the added fructose had less severe metabolic effects than the vegetable oil diet. Although it did cause more negative effects in the kidney and a marked increase in prolapsed rectums, a symptom of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
There was a 25% increase in weight of test subjects on the vegetable oil diet over the coconut oil only diet. And a 9% increase of weight than those on the fructose-enriched diet. The fructose diet had a 12% increase in weight over the coconut oil diet.
What this research shows is that there is a higher correlation between obesity and its related illnesses linked with vegetable oil, over that of sugar. It comes as a surprise to many because of the lack of information on the subject. Sugar is the new poster-child (if you will) of obesity. It’s link is undeniable. It’s made more difficult by the fact that it’s in most products, even those we don’t expect it to be, in essence our sugar intake will far exceed our intake of vegetable oil.
Our advice – everything in moderation.
Time is a precious commodity. Juggling our business, family and personal lives can be a struggle. Can you afford the time to read the nutritional information on the back of every product you purchase? Probably not. The key to this lifestyle change is preparation. Spare the time once to make informed choices on the food you and your family should be eating. Just do this for one day and you’ll break the back of it. You will build on this foundation over time, and evolve. That first action will be a pivotal moment.