Sunday, February 9, 2014

Nutrition In The News

Nutrition has certainly been in the news recently.  Some topics that have been making the headlines:

Added Sugar – the Dietary Guidelines for 2010 recommend all of us:  Reduce the intake of calories from added sugar.  Note it is ADDED sugar and not sugar.   Why?  Many foods such as fruits have the naturally occurring sugar, fructose.   No one is recommending we cut back on fruits because they contain fructose.  But we are to cut back on sugar that is added to foods like sucrose, high fructose corn syrup.

Added Sugar and Fatal Heart Attacks – The headline read:  Sugar is Sweet But Also Deadly, which would attract most peoples’ attention.  Much has been written about the negative health consequences of too much added sugar, but deadly?  Researchers   studied over 30,000 Americans over age 44 and analyzed responses to questions about added sugar in their diets and death.   They found too much added sugar increased the risk of fatal heart attacks even among those of normal weight.  Added sugar included that added to the many processed foods we eat, added to coffee, our cereal.  Those who had diets with 25% or more of calories from added sugar were almost 3 times more likely to die from heart problems than those who consumed less than 10 percent of their calories from added sugars.  The worst offender seemed to be sugary sodas, blamed as the main culprits for heart disease. 

So if your diet is reaching 25% of the calories from added sugars, especially from the sugary drinks, time to think about cutting back.  Those who had more than 15% of their calories from added sugar, which would be just 2 cans of sugared soda a day, also increased their risk of heart problems by 20%.

Subway and Yoga Mat Ingredients:  Subway was on the defensive this week when news broke out that one of the ingredients used in their bread was the same chemical found in Yoga Mats.  Reaction was swift in that Subway agreed to begin removing this “yoga-mat” ingredient from all its bread, Subway sandwich chain to remove chemical found in yoga mats from bread.  So what is this supposedly harmful chemical that FDA says is safe?  The chemical is “azodicarbonamide”, a chemical to aid in the elasticity of the bread.  Although it was Subway in the news, this same chemical is used in bread at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and other fast food restaurants.  Although FDA says it is safe, this ingredient has been banned in Australia ad Europe as the World Health Organization has linked it to respiratory and other health issues like asthma. The Center for Science in the Public Interest noted the chemical has also been linked to cancers in mice, lung and blood cancers. 

We can thank social media for making everyone aware of the yoga mat chemical as the blogger; Vani Hari of brought this to light.  She started a petition to get the Subway chain to remove the chemical from its bread.  She also noted that if you go to a Subway in Europe, the bread is sans the yoga mat chemical.   

I enjoy Subway sandwiches and find them a healthier alternative to many other fast food offerings.  So hearing that Subway will be removing a questionable ingredient from their bread is good news. 

Sources:  Sugar is Sweet But Also Deadly, Subway sandwich chain to remove chemical found in yoga mats from bread.  Image Source:   

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