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Author Topic: World Health Organisation: Should we Halve Sugar Consumption?  (Read 8865 times)

Offline alancalverd

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The numbers still don't add up. You need to do a hell of a lot of exercise to burn a few calories. As I said in reply #14 above, climbing a flight of stairs burns 0.3 kcal. If you ran upstairs every 10 minutes for a working day, you would burn 14.5 Calories (one tenth of a slice of bread) more than if you spent the entire day sitting in an office.

Maximum useful output of a manual worker is about 75 watts for an 8 hour day - about 500 Calories. The guys who fly manpowered aircraft are racing cyclists who can manage 200W for a couple of hours.

Body heat loss increases rapidly if the ambient temperature drops below 20 deg C, from about 100 Cal/hr to as much as 2000 Cal/hr with an effective wind chill of -30 deg C. 50 years ago the average ambient temperature experienced by UK citizens was about 12 deg C: 2-4 degrees above the  mean outdoor temperature for the whole year. Calorific intake was particularly high in Scotland (the home of the fried Mars bar) but obesity was little different from England because the mean experienced ambient temperature (MEAT) was lower. MEAT is now above 15 deg C and many people never experience an ambient below 17 deg C during the working week, nor expose themselves to outside air temperatures during the winter. So we get fat.

Obesity in schoolchildren is not directly due to lack of exercise, but to lack of exposure to cold air. My cohort all remember outdoor PT lessons and lunch breaks continuing in falling snow, and everyone walked or cycled up to 3 miles to school every day (bus passes were strictly limited to 1.5 miles for primary and 3 miles for secondary schools, and nobody's mum had a car). Walking 3 miles on a warm day won't burn up a slice of bread, but spending two hours in the rain will account for a lunch of cottage pie and spotted dick.     
 

Offline CliffordK

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Is it possible that there are errors in the calorie calculations. 
Perhaps modern man is eating "better calories".

It is hard to quantify, but say if people were eating 100% whole wheat bread 100 years ago.
And today they are eating white bread.

If the products have the same calories, perhaps there is better bio-availability of the white bread.  In fact, the choice of foods with higher bio-availability may be the source of the obesity problem.  Say your body is conditioned to getting large volumes of bran, fiber, etc.  Suddenly you take that out of the diet.  The food is absorbed quicker, and one gets more calories out of the food that is eaten.  So, one gets less full, and feels hungry quicker.

The problem may not be sugar, but rather starch (simple carbs).
 

Offline Ethos_

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Is it possible that there are errors in the calorie calculations. 
Perhaps modern man is eating "better calories".

It is hard to quantify, but say if people were eating 100% whole wheat bread 100 years ago.
And today they are eating white bread.

If the products have the same calories, perhaps there is better bio-availability of the white bread.  In fact, the choice of foods with higher bio-availability may be the source of the obesity problem.  Say your body is conditioned to getting large volumes of bran, fiber, etc.  Suddenly you take that out of the diet.  The food is absorbed quicker, and one gets more calories out of the food that is eaten.  So, one gets less full, and feels hungry quicker.

The problem may not be sugar, but rather starch (simple carbs).
Important observations Cliff and surely, the starch content of just about everything we eat has increased over the years. But the problem is not only public consumption of needless calories, what ever their source. The push being generated by progressive politicians is assuming the authority to prescribe their own brand of diet for each and every citizen. The agenda has nothing to do with any concern they may have about our welfare, it's all about control.

I'm fairly conscious about my calorie intake, but there are others who choose to be less diligent. A persons health is a very personal matter and should remain under the control of those persons without BIG BROTHER's attempt at total control.

Liberty is much too precious to abandon it to the Nanny State regulating our calorie count.
 

Offline alancalverd

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I cannot understand why people look for complicated solutions to simple problems. Nearly all the food you eat is used to maintain your body temperature, so if your ambient temperature increases, you burn less food to keep warm.

Starch and sugar consumption in Northern Europe have actually decreased over the last 50 years, and people have been eating white bread for at last 200 years.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Nearly all the food you eat is used to maintain your body temperature

Is that true?

When you look at a body at rest (me sitting in front of the computer), then one can look at an energy conversion.  Ultimately being released as heat.

But, the brain is churning away.  The heart is pumping.  Kidneys are functioning, etc.  Ultimately I have to wear a sweater to keep warm.  But there are complex functions of the superficial veins to maintain warm core body temperatures while not overheating.

I find it is easier to gain weight in the winter and loose weight in the summer.  But, I don't keep my house at 70F in the winter (usually closer to 50F).  And, the house rarely reaches 98.6 in the summer.
 

Offline alancalverd

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OK, let's be pedantic. Nearly all the food you eat is used to keep you alive - basal metabolism.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=thinking-hard-calories discusses the metabolism of the brain, which surprisingly accounts for around 10 - 12% of your total power consumption, but there is no proven difference in brain wattage between sleeping and hard thinking: it's nearly all "dynamic RAM" so cannot be equated to useful work.

Thus whilst you are contributing to society by searching for rude pictures, curmudgeonly old scientists, or invading alien hordes, the rest of your body is feeding and cooling the brain (and doing quite a lot of work in keeping it above your hips) so the entire 120 watts of resting power simply ends up as heat with no mechanical output - or what we curmudgeons call useful work.
 

Offline evan_au

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Quote
A persons health is a very personal matter and should remain under the control of those persons

People are responsible for Personal health.
Governments are responsible for Public health.
What is Public health but the aggregate of many Personal health decisions?

So people can still make Personal decisions, but government is responsible to guide the aggregate of those decisions (as has been done for tobacco consumption).
Sounds like a grey area to me...

One thing is clear - it is not in the interests of the sugar industry (or tobacco industry) to provide the public with fair and unbiased information about consumption of their products; however, it is in their interests to ensure that you are addicted to their products!
« Last Edit: 12/01/2014 07:30:19 by evan_au »
 

Offline alancalverd

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If governments took responsibility for public health they would ban the sale of tobacco and alcohol, but they would lose  a lot of votes and a lot of money. So they make it an offence to injure other people by smoking in public places or driving whilst inebriated.  Seems like a fair balance between public safety and private pleasure.

Eating sugar won't kill third parties so it is no business of government beyond whatever statutory education syllabus it may lay down.

I never worried much about my kids' consumption of sugar but I made sure they got plenty of artificial coloring agents, so I could blame their bad behavior on the food industry rather than crap parenting. Oddly, the two who smoked as teenagers grew up to be a chef and a wine merchant, whilst the two who didn't, seem quite unconcerned about the finer aspects of food and drink.
 

Offline dlorde

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It's a tricky question how far the government should get involved - how much should it curtail individual freedoms to reduce costs for everyone?

However, it's quite an easy and simple choice to avoid alcohol or smoking; the problem with added sugar is that it's in so many food products, such as ready meals, that many people don't realise how much they're consuming, and it's not nearly as easy to avoid.
 

Offline alancalverd

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It's a tricky question how far the government should get involved - how much should it curtail individual freedoms to reduce costs for everyone?

You'd save a lot more by banning skiing. IMHO not every smoker gets a smoking-related disease, but the sole point of downhill skiing seems to be to go faster and faster until you break something.

Golf is equally pointless but the endpoint seems to be to have a heart attack or to be struck by lightning on the golf course, neither of which imposes much cost on the taxpayer.

I used to coach junior rugby. One Sunday when I was assigned to the "hospital run" I took a sprained ankle to the local casualty department where there were two other rugby lads, six soccer boys, and ten girls who had fallen off horses. "Ladies first" was a clinical necessity as they were all potential spine and brain injuries compared with the stitch and bandage treatment for clumsy footballers. About half of my female friends over the years have had spinal surgery or treatment for brain trauma from equitation. Should the government ban horseriding?
 

Offline Ethos_

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 About half of my female friends over the years have had spinal surgery or treatment for brain trauma from equitation. Should the government ban horseriding?
Truly, and what about water sports? Maybe we should ban swimming, just total the drowning deaths that occur every year. And while we're at it, maybe we should close all the beaches where Man of War jelly fish attacks are on the rise. And we haven't even considered the shark attacks that happen in these very dangerous locals either. And for Heavens sake, let's put an end to vehicle transport, especially private automobiles. I think we should all stay at home, locked up in our houses and allow absolutely no visitors because they may be carrying some dreadful virus.

Get a grip people, life is dangerous..................Live it to the fullest!
 

Offline dlorde

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.. About half of my female friends over the years have had spinal surgery or treatment for brain trauma from equitation. Should the government ban horseriding?
That's an interesting question - for example, there's clearly a difference in the perception of the dangers of recreational sport and those of recreational drugs. Professor David Nutt upset the government by comparing the danger of horse riding with that of taking ecstasy, and was eventually sacked as chairman of the  Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for publicly rating drugs realistically by the harm they caused; ironic, eh? The powers-that-be didn't like having their biases exposed, nor did they think the public would either...
 

Offline evan_au

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Diabetes is a major cause of vision loss in Western countries (behind Age-related Macular Degeneration).

In Australia, it is estimated that over 10% of the population have diabetes or pre-diabetes; perhaps half of these do not know that they have a problem.
Around 90% of diabetes cases are the potentially preventable Type 2 diabetes, caused by excess glucose levels (rather than the somewhat mysterious Type 1 diabetes).
 

Offline dlorde

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Diabetes is a major cause of vision loss in Western countries (behind Age-related Macular Degeneration).
There's also a possible link between type II diabetes and Alzheimer's.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Hey! Whatever happened to herpes, AIDS, asthma, SARS, and avian flu, each of which was destined to wipe us out within 5 years? Who decides what ailment is to be fashionable this year?   
 

Offline CliffordK

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Hey! Whatever happened to herpes, AIDS, asthma, SARS, and avian flu, each of which was destined to wipe us out within 5 years? Who decides what ailment is to be fashionable this year?   

Rather than just chugging along with the status quo, it isn't bad to bring forward potential health issues.
Obesity.  Perhaps sugar & starches, etc.  Don't mandate the size of a "Super Big Gulp", or what can be put in it.  Hmmm...  perhaps a Surgeon General Warning. 

Quote
The Surgeon General Considers a Super Big Gulp to be hazardous to your health

AIDS.  In many senses with multi-drug therapy, it is being treated as a chronic disease in the USA.  It does affect about 1% of the population in the USA.  However, the disease is still in epidemic proportions in Sub-Saharan Africa with as high as 25% prevalence rate, and no money to pay for treatment.  They talked about it on the radio the other day with some African countries where well-off men would have multiple very young sex partners, vertically spreading the disease throughout the population.

Asthma.  Generally not a lethal condition, but may require chronic treatment.  The prevalence in the USA does seem to be slowly increasing.  Some risk factors include smoking, and C-Section Birth.  It will still be discussed off and on for some time.

SARS???  It seems to have had a boom and bust, perhaps like the Swine Flu.  Variants could return.

Avian flu, is still a risk, and a few cases pop up from time to time, however, so far it hasn't made the leap to rapid human to human transmission.  If one considers how rapidly the swine flu spread around the world, we could still be slammed by the avian flu, or another livestock derived flu.  We are now coming up on the century anniversary of the 1918 flu.  Are we better prepared now?  There still is a significant delay between the identification of an epidemic, and the availability of the vaccine.

West Nile Virus is likely here to stay.

Of course, perhaps the disease that has been in epidemic proportions since the beginning of time is Malaria.  Largely ignored because it is uncommon in the USA and Europe.

Anyway, there are many diseases out there.  Some such as STDs are potentially preventable.  Others such as mosquito borne vectors may be difficult to prevent.  I find it perfectly reasonable to consider public health recommendations to extend to diet, smoking, and drinking.
 

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