CosBeauty is the #BeautyAddict's guide to lifestyle, health and beauty in Australia.
In this issue:
- The Breast Report - your guide to augmentation
- Put an end to bad hair days
- 24 hour makeup, products that last
- Sex appeal - do you have it?
feature that set people on the path of quitting sugar. From being 40kg overweight, he immediately started losing weight, and kept it off, by cutting sugar (specifically fructose) from his diet. He claims sugar is addictive – a fact exploited by food manufacturers – and a rare resource to which we don’t have an in-built ‘off switch’, meaning we can keep eating it without feeling full, leading to weight gain and a myriad of health effects. One study by Nicole Avena, Pedro Rada and Bartley Hoebel (2008) looked into the addictive properties of sugar. It examined the physiological response to sugar intake in rats, and how the rats behaved when ‘on’ and ‘off’ sugar. ‘Food addiction seems plausible because brain pathways that evolved to respond to natural rewards are also activated by addictive drugs,’ the report states. ‘Sugar is noteworthy as a substance that releases opioids and dopamine and thus might be expected to have addictive potential.’ After a month ‘on’ sugar, the animals showed a series of behaviours similar to the signs of drug abuse. ‘These are categorised as ‘bingeing’, meaning unusually large bouts of intake, opiate-like ‘withdrawal’ indicated by signs of anxiety and behavioural depression and ‘craving’ measured during sugar abstinence as enhanced responding for sugar.’ Is it really that bad? Sugar has been linked to high blood sugar, cardiovascular disease mortality, diabetes and cellular ageing. An article published in the online journal Open Heart found sugars are probably more instrumental in increasing the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), as compared to dietary sodium (salt). ‘Compelling evidence from basic science, population studies, and clinical trials implicate sugars, and particularly the monosaccharide fructose, as playing a major role in the development of hypertension,’ the researchers state. ‘Moreover, evidence suggests that sugars in general and fructose in particular may contribute to overall cardiovascular risk through a variety of mechanisms.’ Furthermore, a study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, conducted by researchers at the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, associated a high added sugar intake with a heightened risk of CVD. The study found that people who consumed between 17 and 21 per cent of their daily calories from added sugar exhibited a 38 percent higher risk of CVD mortality, compared to those whose added sugar intake was maintained at around eight percent. For those whose daily intake of added sugar was more than 21 percent of their daily calories, they had double the risk of CVD mortality. And, in participants who consumed 25 percent of their daily calories from added sugar, their risk of CVD mortality was tripled. Cellular ageing The anti-ageing world is full of talk about telomeres – or the protective DNA that caps the end of cell chromosomes. The common consensus is the longer the telomeres, the longer the quality of life. The trick? Telomeres continuously shorten as our cells replicate, getting shorter and shorter as we age. Ongoing research is furiously exploring the possibilities in lengthening telomeres to reduce the rate of ageing or ways to prevent their ever-persistent shortening. But sugar, according to scientists from the University of California-San Francisco, is one sure-fire way to shorten your telomeres before their time. The research, led by Prof. Elissa Epel, assessed 5,309 participants and found those who drank larger amounts of sugary soda tended to have shorter telomeres in their white blood cells, making them susceptible to inflammation and chronic disease. ‘Regular consumption of sugarsweetened sodas might influence disease development,’ says Epel. ‘Not only by straining the body’s metabolic control of sugars but also through accelerated cellular ageing of tissues.’
What is sugar? At a molecular level, sugar is a crystalline carbohydrate. There are many different types of sugar – glucose, fructose, lactose, maltose and sucrose (sucrose is your typical table sugar, and is composed of glucose and fructose). Some of these sugars occur naturally in fruits, vegetables and other food groups. However, it’s the added sugars, used to enhance flavour and add sweetness, that have been blamed as a culprit in a myriad of health issues. These sugars are usually delivered in the form of sucrose or fructose corn syrup, and it is fructose, more than glucose, that is receiving the most negative attention. The highest quantities of added sugars are found in soft drinks, fruit juices, cakes, chocolate and desserts. According to Medical News Today, just a single can of cola can contain up to seven teaspoons of added sugar, while an average-sized chocolate bar can contain up to six teaspoons. At present, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended daily dose of sugar is less than 10 percent of your daily total energy intake. WHO suggests a further reduction to less than five percent for beneficial health outcomes. Many nutritionists recommend against consuming more than 13 teaspoons a day. www.cosbeauty.com.au 113