For years, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines urged Americans to drink less sugary beverages. And for years, many Americans listened.
But after a decade of falling consumption, rates have stalled at well above the recommended limit, according to statistics released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency found that adults and children are both consuming roughly the same number of calories from soda, sports drinks and other sugary beverages now as they did in 2009-2010, the last time the CDC published comparable data.
“The amount of sugar that children in particular consume is still astounding,” said Rachel Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. “We recommend that children drink soda once a week or less. We’re seeing that two-thirds drink it on a daily basis.”
The CDC numbers counter the perception that Americans are continuing to shirk sugary drinks and embracing a healthier lifestyle out of a desire to avoid the risks of obesity and diabetes. Researchers don’t exactly know why the leveling off has occurred, but there are several potential explanations. One is that while soda sales are down, Americans may be turning in growing numbers to teas, flavored waters and other energy drinks with plenty of sugar added.
I used to think excess weight was caused by eating too much and/or not exercising enough. “There was no one overweight on the Burma Railway,” I’d quip. Not any more.
When overweight people said “it’s my metabolism” or “I am big-boned”, I’d dismiss it as an excuse for gluttony and laziness. Not any more.
The myth that obesity is caused by overeating, especially a diet high in fats, is one perpetuated by the sugar industry and the “research” this industry has funded over the decades.
The sugar industry also perpetuated the myths that obesity causes diabetes; that diets high in saturated fats, high cholesterol and overeating generally cause heart disease; and that excess salt causes hypertension (high blood pressure). Anything, in short, to steer attention away from the real cause of these four maladies: sugar.
We welcome investigative journalist and author Gary Taubes to discuss the low fat dogma that has caused supermarkets to become mainly filled with low fat, sugary, highly refined grain and starch-based products. We’ll also be talking about Taubes’ restatement of the nature of caloric balance – most of us know it as the “calories in vs calories out” conventional dietary advice, and and how we can understand it differently without having to break the second law of thermodynamics.
In addition, we’ll be talking about the obesity epidemic and why it’s not about to end anytime soon. This is a discussion you’re going to wish you had heard when you were in your teens or twenties! We’ll also be discussing why it’s so hard to get good science these days, and why the obesity epidemic just isn’t going to end anytime soon.
One of the major culprits driving this change is the amount of added sugar that we are consuming. The average Australian eats 14 teaspoons of added sugar per day, with teenagers eating more than 20 teaspoons of sugar per day. We are in the midst of a sugardemic.
A 600ml bottle of Coca Cola contains 16 teaspoons of sugar. Could you imagine sitting down and eating 16 teaspoons of sugar, and then washing it down with a couple of glasses of water? I can’t. But for many people, that is effectively what they are doing.
Is this a problem? Well, the World Health Organisation thinks we should limit added sugar consumption to fewer than six teaspoons per day to improve our health.
Newsreader Jamie Owen is going on a diet that goes directly against government healthy eating advice – and common sense. For the past 30 years we’ve been told the key to a healthy lifestyle is cutting out fat. However, as a nation we’ve got bigger – Jamie included. A controversial new report says the current government advice is making us bigger, and that the food industry is telling us what to eat. The report says that it isn’t butter, milk and other fat that is to blame – the problem lies elsewhere. Join Jamie as he investigates these weighty issues and makes himself a guinea pig for a diet that aims to make us rethink the way we try to control out waistline.
Caught up with Dr. Ted Naiman (yes, THE Ted Naiman) in Seattle today, and had a chat on some of the key elements that enable long-term health and longevity. Wondering about the most important blood tests? Ok we talked about those. The ideal diet for the human species? Yep – had a few words. The best diagnostic tests for cardiovascular disease? Yup. What about the most optimum (and yet easiest to do) exercise for your health? Hey, we covered that too – and then some !