The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: World Health Organisation: Should we Halve Sugar Consumption?  (Read 8768 times)

Offline evan_au

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4096
  • Thanked: 245 times
    • View Profile
A new report from WHO proposes halving recommended maximum sugar consumption from 10% to 5% of calories.
  • Is refined sugar as dangerous as they suggest?
  • How would you encourage such a radical dietary change?
  • Is reducing sugar consumption a more cost-effective public health measure than the government subsidising the latest end-stage cancer drug?


 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4698
  • Thanked: 153 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
Two things can kill you: not enough of what you need, or too much of what you like. The former is rightly considered a problem for society. The latter is nobody's damn business.

If you don't drink alcohol, smoke, eat fried Mars bars, or sleep around, you can live to be 120. But why would anyone want to? If you read the Daily Mail and suchlike garbage, an irrational fear of dying can be rationalised into a paralysing fear of living.   

Yes, an excess of some food and drink can shorten your life, and it behoves us to inform our children of the facts. But what adults eat is no more the business of others than whether they choose to go skiing or skydiving.

Unlike tobacco and alcohol, heart disease and diabetes don't inconvenience or kill third parties: so why should any third party worry if they are selfinflicted? The elimination of infectious disease just means that we die from cancer, heart disease or dementia, and if we cure any or all of these, something else will end our lives slowly and painfully.

The best song that the BBC ever banned was "Live fast, love hard, die young" - a better slogan than anything the Department of Health ever put out.
« Last Edit: 31/12/2013 00:44:12 by alancalverd »
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Diabetes, of course, does cost society as a component of our high health care costs, and driving up our costs of health insurance, or subsidized health care. 

However, looking at sugar and diabetes, the results are a bit more ambiguous.

Sok-Ja Janket prospective cohort study that failed to find a positive correlation between sugar intake and the development of diabetes.  In fact, those individuals with the highest sugar intake had a slightly lower risk of diabetes, as well as a slightly lower BMI.  Dietary information was self-reported.

Sanjay Basu study analyzing food supply data, and found a moderate correlation between countries with higher sugar intake per capita, and diabetes.  They do not look at individuals with diabetes.

Here is a review article about sugar intake and cardiovascular disease.  The results seem to be ambiguous, with any correlation being weak at best.  Fat intake may be a bigger indication of cardiovascular disease.

There is some debate on whether diet sodas in fact are beneficial for weight loss.  The sodas are in fact low in sugar and calories, but they don't curb hunger.

Anyway, the correlation between sugar and diabetes, obesity, or heart disease is complicated.  A healthy diet is prudent.  But sugar isn't necessarily "evil".  Personally I choose to limit my access to candy and soft drinks.  However, I do consume some other sugar sweetened beverages, and will use sugar as a sweetener as needed.
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Your "table sugar" is sucrose, or a glucose/fructose disaccharide. 

The body is very good at converting between different types of sugar, glucose, fructose, lactose, galactose, maltose, and sucrose.  There really is no benefit of one over the other.  Starches are also broken down to simple sugars, but it can take longer to do so.

However, one complaint about our refined sugars is that they are "empty calories", and have not additional vitamins or nutrition.
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8124
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
The body is very good at converting between different types of sugar, glucose, fructose, lactose, galactose, maltose, and sucrose.  There really is no benefit of one over the other.

Fructose isn't absorbed well ... http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16183355

Eating a big bag of "diabetic" sweets (candy), [which are made using fructose], in a few hours is not recommended.
« Last Edit: 31/12/2013 09:12:52 by RD »
 

Offline Ethos_

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1277
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile


The best song that the BBC ever banned was "Live fast, love hard, die young" - a better slogan than anything the Department of Health ever put out.
I agree whole heartedly alan,

GET OUT OF MY BUSINESS AND MY DIET BIG BROTHER!!!
 

Offline evan_au

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4096
  • Thanked: 245 times
    • View Profile
Quote
heart disease and diabetes don't inconvenience or kill third parties
A study found that obesity is contagious; since the food we eat and the exercise we take contribute to obesity, and obesity is a major contributor to diabetes and heart disease, shouldn't we treat it as seriously as any contagious disease?
 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4698
  • Thanked: 153 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
Am I alone in objecting to this perversion of medical language?

Quote
A contagious disease is a subset category of infectious diseases (or communicable diseases), which are easily transmitted by physical contact (hence the name-origin) with the person suffering the disease, or by their secretions or objects touched by them.

Obesity is not a disease. It may result (rarely) from a disease condition but is mostly a lifestyle choice. Contagious diseases of all kinds were rife in concentration camps throughout Europe and Africa in the 20th century, but there is no record of any prisoner dying of obesity, or even living with it. 
 

Offline evan_au

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4096
  • Thanked: 245 times
    • View Profile
Quote from: OED
Disease (Noun): a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury

I would argue that obesity fits the description of a disease, and results in impairment of structure and function in humans. It is one of the major causes of disability & death in Western countries (now that retrospectively-more-obvious risks like smoking have declined over the past 20 years).

For a medical assessment of the impact of sugar consumption on health, you must look at the correlation of sugar consumption with public health. This can apply to individual consumption in experiments with volunteers, consumption within a particular country, or by comparing consumption between different countries.

Concentration Camps were not reknowned for their luxurious menu or their care for the wellbeing of inmates; in fact, initial obesity could assist survival in such an extreme environment.
 

Offline Ethos_

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1277
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile

I would argue that obesity fits the description of a disease, and results in impairment of structure and function in humans.

Depends upon who's defining the word. If I choose to gain 50 lbs. you're telling me that the STATE has the right to declare me disease ridden? I think my liberty is at stake when I allow the state to tell me what I can and can not eat. I'll make those choices for myself and I believe everyone else should as well.
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Perhaps life is a disease, and humanity is a plague upon the Earth.  :o

It is pointless to argue whether obesity or addictions are diseases.  One of the hardest things to break about addictions such as smoking is the social aspects.  People often like to hang out and smoke with their friends.

One might say that obesity is self inflicted.  But diseases can also be self inflicted.  Were there ever really chicken pox parties?  Some aspects, however, of the obesity may be easier to consider as an illness.  Certainly one might treat disability caused by obesity as an illness.  Type 2 diabetes?

One may prescribe diet and exercise for treatment.

The point of Evan's article is that social groups are extremely important with many addictions including obesity. 

Perhaps there is a way to encourage less sugar in diets rather than government mandates.  I.E.  low sugar cereals.  EDUCATION (beyond TV ad spots).

After a hot day of hard work, a 32 oz soda can hit the spot, and the calories may not be a problem.
 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4698
  • Thanked: 153 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
Quote
    Disease (Noun): a disorder of structure or function

Nothing disordered about lifestyle obesity. Eat too much, get fat. Eat too little, get thin. Proper order and correct function of all animals. "Too fat" depends on your intentions: the optimum is quite different for a hibernating dormouse or a sumo wrestler compared with a greyhound or a marathon runner.

Quote
[obestity] results in impairment of structure and function in humans.


True (except for sumo rikishi) but that puts it into the same class as trauma, not disease. And as with many traumatic injuries, the cure is "do nothing and avoid further trauma".
 
Quote
It is one of the major causes of disability & death in Western countries (now that retrospectively-more-obvious risks like smoking have declined over the past 20 years).

So what? Death is essential. Having eliminated many of the traditional causes of death and disability thanks to improved hygeine and agriculture, we now have the choice of cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, or selfinflicted death. My choice is hypothermia or possibly nitrogen hypoxia, both of which are fairly quick and pleasant. Overeating is slow and pleasant. Who am I to criticise those who choose the latter?

Interestingly, the UK population now consumes fewer calories per capita than we did 60 years ago. What has changed, AFAIK, is that we are never cold, consequently we don't burn off the calories we do consume. 
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Interestingly, the UK population now consumes fewer calories per capita than we did 60 years ago. What has changed, AFAIK, is that we are never cold, consequently we don't burn off the calories we do consume. 

Or that as a population one has more of a sedentary lifestyle than eons of the past.

Escalators, Elevators, Cars, etc.  Too much time sitting in front of a computer.  Even a factory worker may be more inclined to sit at a computer pushing buttons than moving heavy stuff by hand.

Around the house, washing machines, dish washers, dryers, etc, all to lend a helping hand.
 

Offline evan_au

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4096
  • Thanked: 245 times
    • View Profile
The relationship between the quantity of "calories consumed in food" vs "calories burnt by exercise" is an important one in public & personal health.

However, this tentative WHO recommendation is about the sources of our calories. They are recommending a reduction in the proportion coming from simple sugars, and a greater proportion coming from other sources like complex carbohydrates, fats and meat.
 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4698
  • Thanked: 153 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
1 Calorie (nutritional) = 1000 calories (physics) = 1 kcal = 4200 joules.

If you weigh 60 kg you expend 1500 joules (0.3 Calories) climbing a flight of stairs.

Adult male normal daily intake at constant weight is about 2500 Calories, say 10,000,000 joule.

You'd have to do a hell of a lot of exercise to burn off 1,000 extra Calories (4.2 MJ) per day! Professional athletes and some labourers do so, but nearly all the energy you consume is used to maintain your body temperature.

UK consumption has decreased by about 500 Calories per day in the last 60 years. Are we really all doing 2.1 megajoules less useful work each day than previously? 60 years ago elevators, escalators, tractors and power tools were commonplace, and home washing machines were the norm in North America  if not the UK (most middle class families used highly automated laundry services and did even less manual handling of wet clothes than we do today!). True, we still had farms, mines and factories in the UK, but truck drivers, retail and office workers weren't overweight, even in London where the public transport system was affordable. And the decrease in manual labour doesn't explain the increase in child obesity - 5-year-olds left the mining industry well over 100 years ago.     
« Last Edit: 03/01/2014 14:00:57 by alancalverd »
 

Offline dlorde

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1441
  • Thanked: 9 times
  • ex human-biologist & software developer
    • View Profile
I saw an article based on a recent study that suggested diet drinks (artificially sweetened) tended to cause an increase in overall calorie consumption. The hypothesis was that this occurs because of an unexpected 'priming' response to the sweetness which is unfulfilled by the calorific content of the drink...
 

Offline evan_au

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4096
  • Thanked: 245 times
    • View Profile
The Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013 (page 15/16)
Quote
In adults, energy intake increased by 34% in the decade to 1995, equivalent to an additional 350 kilojoules per day. Greater increases were seen in children and adolescents, with energy intake increasing by 11% for 1015 year-old girls (equivalent to an additional 900 kilojoules per day) and by 15% for 1015 year-old boys (equivalent to an additional 1,400 kilojoules per day) (see Figure 1.2). Without compensatory increases in physical activity, these changes are enough to have resulted in the significant observed increase in mean body weight

The Australian government is now promoting 8700kJ per day as a dietary target for the average adult: http://www.8700.com.au/

Dr Karl says:
Quote
A calorie is not a calorie...It costs your body different amounts of energy to digest different foods. So fats need only two or three per cent of their inherent energy to digest them; while carbohydrates need five to 10 per cent; and proteins need a massive 25 per cent to unravel the tightly wound amino acids that make them up.
Presumably, amongst carbohydrates, simple disaccharides need even less energy to digest than complex polysaccharides.
We are eating more processed food these days - reportedly eating minced meat in a hamburger pattie makes more energy bio-available than chewing a slab of steak with equal mass.
We are discovering much more today about the impact of our microflora on health, nutrition & energy extraction - but you would still have to say that this is still a very murky area...
 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4698
  • Thanked: 153 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
I saw an article based on a recent study that suggested diet drinks (artificially sweetened) tended to cause an increase in overall calorie consumption.

A few years ago my weight-conscious daughter ordered "Double bacon cheeseburger with extra fries and a diet Coke".  Cold and hungry, but still a teenager!
 

Offline evan_au

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4096
  • Thanked: 245 times
    • View Profile
Quote from: alancalverd
UK consumption has decreased by about 500 Calories per day in the last 60 years.

Could you show where these figures came from, Alan?

By 1953, the last of wartime rationing in the UK would have been relaxed, and perhaps people were trying to make up for 10+ years of rationing? (Plus the impact of rationing during WW1, and the Great Depression which filled much of the time up to WW2.)

I have heard that the current UK regulations on food advertising require that food meet certain nutritional requirements before it can be advertised. Perhaps this has had an impact in the past couple of years? It has reportedly impacted the food being sold, as manufacturers have adjusted their UK recipes to come in just under the minimum nutritional content threshold.

So the question for those administering the UK advertising guidelines will be: "Will we add a new rule about maximum 5% of calories coming from simple sugars?"
 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4698
  • Thanked: 153 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
I'm still searching for my original source of 1950's statistics but http://www.ifbb.org.uk/changing-diet gives some fascinating details of the Victorian diet of 3500 - 7000 Cal/day.
 

Offline Alan McDougall

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1285
  • Thanked: 14 times
    • View Profile
A new report from WHO proposes halving recommended maximum sugar consumption from 10% to 5% of calories.
  • Is refined sugar as dangerous as they suggest?
  • How would you encourage such a radical dietary change?
  • Is reducing sugar consumption a more cost-effective public health measure than the government subsidising the latest end-stage cancer drug?

I am a diabetic type 2 and many of my teeth are gone, all this due to excess sugar consumption. Everything in moderation should be our motto. George Washington is an example of sugar damage to the teeth, look at a painting of him, with his very bad fitting ivory false teeth, heck he looks uncomfortable.
 

Offline Atomic-S

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 928
  • Thanked: 18 times
    • View Profile
Ithink that the form in which the sugar appears may be significant. If it is in the form of candy, the eater gets a strong dose all at once, which may not be good; and also it may linger in the mouth and throat so as to promote bacterial growth, causing dental decay, upper respiratory infections, etc.  If the same sugar is included in something like a muffin, these problems would likely be reduced.
 

Offline evan_au

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4096
  • Thanked: 245 times
    • View Profile
Australia is currently reporting an increase in limb amputations. A major cause of this is uncontrolled diabetes. A major cause of this is excess sugar consumption.

Better sugar controls could impact a number of unexpected areas.
 

Offline dlorde

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1441
  • Thanked: 9 times
  • ex human-biologist & software developer
    • View Profile
There was an interesting programme on TV here last night asking whether sugar was 'the new tobacco', in as much as excess can lead to obesity, diabetes, and even death, and it's promoted and controlled by a powerful industry lobby. A group called 'Action on Sugar' suggested that the added sugar in food products could be incrementally reduced without the customer noticing in much the same way as it has been done for added salt in the UK.

Much of the unnecessary extra sugar was attributed to fizzy drinks, 'enhanced' water, and as a flavour enhancer for 'reduced fat' food products.
 

Offline dlorde

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1441
  • Thanked: 9 times
  • ex human-biologist & software developer
    • View Profile
I'm still searching for my original source of 1950's statistics but http://www.ifbb.org.uk/changing-diet gives some fascinating details of the Victorian diet of 3500 - 7000 Cal/day.
The TV programme I saw the other night mentioned that overall calorie intake has reduced over the last 50 years, but that we've become a more sedentary population, and the reduction in exercise more than compensates for the reduction in calories.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum


 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums