high-fructose corn syrup

  1. Soda drinks in new depression link

    Soft drinks cause depression

    It's funny how soda commercials always show happy, active, and thin people drinking can after can after can of cola.

    You'd almost be tempted to think soda drinkers are healthy.

    But they're not -- the more you drink, the less healthy you are, and that's as true for diet soft drinks as it is for the stuff made with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.

    One new study even finds that drinkers of all sweetened drinks -- whether it's sugar or the "diet" stuff -- are nearly a third more likely to suffer depression than people who avoid all sodas and soft drinks.

    And the risk is actually higher for people who drink diet.

    Regular soda consumption causes the risk of depression to rise by 22 percent. But for people who drink diet soft drinks, it shoots up by 31 percent, according to the study.

    Some people are confused by this, wondering if it means that regular soda is actually better for you than diet. But that's missing the point -- because it's a classic case of "one's worse than the other."

    On their own soft drinks sweetened with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup are terrible choices. They can cause weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and more -- including the depression mentioned in the new study.

    And if there's anything worse for you than those sugars, it's the supposedly healthier alternatives found in diet drinks -- chemical-based no-calorie sweeteners such as aspartame.

    Studies have shown that people who make the switch to diet drinks don't get healthier. They don't lose weight, and in some cases may even gain it. And in some studies, diet soda drinkers were even shown to have a higher risk of diabetes.

    Don't choose between bad and worse. Skip all soft drinks -- regular and diet -- and switch to healthier options instead, including filtered water and tea.

  2. Diabetes statistics on the rise

    How to avoid diabetes

    It's the "it" disease of the 21st century -- and if you don't know someone who has it now, just wait.

    Odds are, you will soon.

    "It" is diabetes, and new diabetes statistics from the CDC show it's on the rise in nearly every state -- and most of the increases are as super-sized as the nation's growing collective waistline.

    In Oklahoma, for example, diabetes statistics shot up by 226 percent between 1995 and 2010. In Kentucky, the increase was 158 percent.

    I could give you the rest of the diabetes statistics, but we'd be here a while: The disease rate shot up by 100 percent or more in 18 states, and 50 percent or more in 42 of them, according to the CDC.

    In total, close to 19 million Americans have now been diagnosed with diabetes, while 7 million more are believed to have the disease and not know it.

    Don't expect these rates to slow anytime soon, since another 80 million people have pre-diabetes, or the elevated blood sugar levels and other risk factors that will lead to the disease in up to 30 percent of them within five years.

    That means the diabetes statistics could actually double by 2018. And if the current trends continue, a third of all Americans -- more than 100 million people -- could have the disease by the middle of the century.

    Not next century... this century.

    Diabetes means more than a lifetime of checking blood sugar levels and an endless supply of meds. It means a higher risk of serious and deadly health problems -- including an early death from heart disease.

    If you don't have the disease yet, the time to act is now. There are three simple steps you can take starting today to stop yourself from becoming one of these diabetes statistics.

    1. Lose weight. Obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for diabetes -- and the same diet of processed junk foods that will expand your waistline will also cause your insulin levels to spike and fall until you develop insulin resistance. You can make dramatic improvements to your diet, improve your blood sugar control, and kick-start your weight-loss program all at the same time with step number 2.

    2. Avoid high-fructose corn syrup. This sweetener has become one of the most common food additives in the United States, in everything from bread to salad dressing. But studies have shown it may cause more weight gain than regular sugar and increase your risk of diabetes at the same time. I'll have more on this link later in the week, so keep an eye on your inbox.

    3. Be sure to get enough vitamin D. It's one of the nation's top nutritional deficiencies, and people with low levels of the sunshine vitamin have a higher risk of diabetes. Your own needs will vary, but most people need a supplement with between 2,000 IU and 5,000 IU per day.

    There's more to it than that, of course, and there are some nutrients and even specific foods that can help cut your risk.

    For example, one new study finds that black tea drinkers have a lower risk of diabetes than people who drink little to no tea. Green tea has also shown to help lower the risk.

    If you're one of the nation's 80 million prediabetics, speak to a holistic physician who can help you come up with a comprehensive plan to avoid the disease. And if you're in the southern California area, make an appointment to see me at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

  3. Diet soda in new health scare

    Let's face it: There's nothing "diet" about diet soda. It won't make you healthier and it won't even help you to lose weight -- and that's been proven.
  4. Playing the name game over sugar

    It's like a battle between two horror movie monsters: In one corner, you've got the corn industry responsible for high-fructose corn syrup as well as all the other corn-based additives used in everything from food to fuel. In the other corner, you've got the "real" sugar industry.
  5. Government guidelines lead to heart disease

    The U.S. government's dietary guidelines released last year allow people to get as much as 25 percent of their calories from added sugars. If it's not immediately obvious why that's a bad idea, a new study spells it out.
  6. Garbage by any other name

    In a high-stakes game of switcheroo, the industry responsible for high-fructose corn syrup has asked the FDA for approval to use the name "corn sugar" instead.

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