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Preventing diabetic heart condition in mice by amplifying effect of exercise: Potential for benefits of exercise in a pill?



Source:
University of Virginia Health System
Summary:
Magnifying a benefit of exercise in mice provided a "profound" protection from diabetic cardiomyopathy, a potentially deadly heart condition that affects many people with diabetes. The discovery demonstrates the power of exercise to prevent chronic health conditions and suggests that one day some benefits of exercise may come in a pill or bottle.
A researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine has magnified a benefit of exercise in mice to provide a “profound” protection from diabetic cardiomyopathy, a potentially deadly heart condition that affects many people with diabetes. The discovery demonstrates the power of exercise to prevent chronic health conditions and suggests that one day some benefits of exercise may come in a pill or bottle.
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 “This is a proof of concept. It shows that an antioxidant coming from skeletal muscle that can be induced by exercise training can provide profound protection against an important detrimental disease condition,” said UVA researcher Zhen Yan, PhD. “The implication is if we can come up with a strategy to promote [this effect] in people who are vulnerable to, or already developing, diabetes, that could prevent the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy.”
Yan and his team used genetically modified mice to show that enhancing the production of a molecule called EcSOD – which is produced in skeletal muscle and promoted by regular exercise – would prevent the damaging effects of diabetic cardiomyopathy. These effects include stiffening and enlargement of the heart, which can lead to heart failure.
While the work amplified the expression of the molecule to levels beyond what normal exercise would produce, Yan said it’s an important demonstration of the concrete benefits of regular exercise in people. “Our studies show that even as little as two weeks of exercise could significantly elevate the level in the blood and the heart,” he said.
A shortage of the molecule in people who can’t exercise could worsen their health problems, said Yan, of UVA’s Department of Medicine and its Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center. “It’s quite possible that there could be a vicious cycle of inactivity. Conditions like heart failure or other chronic diseases would lead to loss of physical capacity and fitness and reduced activity, and due to the difficulties of exercising, this would lead to reduced expression of EcSOD, make them more vulnerable and accelerate their disease process,” he said. “So that is one of the reasons I personally believe that exercise is such a powerful intervention. It’s not only that exercise itself is really powerful, there’s a secondary consequence of inactivity.”
To help those who can’t exercise, and potentially to boost the manufacture of the molecule in those who can, Yan hopes to find ways to stimulate the production of EcSOD using a drug – in effect, an exercise pill. While that’s still in the future, his latest discovery represents a step toward that goal. “For this particular study, we wanted to know precisely what is the contribution of muscle-derived EcSOD,” he said. “With that understanding, we can design experimental and clinical interventions to help patients. So that’s our next step.”
The findings have been published by the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, a journal of the American Heart Association. The paper was authored by Jarrod A. Call, Kristopher H. Chain, Kyle S. Martin, Vitor A. Lira, Mitsuharu Okutsu, Mei Zhang and Yan.
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Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by University of Virginia Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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Journal Reference:
1.         J. A. Call, K. H. Chain, K. S. Martin, V. A. Lira, M. Okutsu, M. Zhang, Z. Yan. Enhanced Skeletal Muscle Expression of Extracellular Superoxide Dismutase Mitigates Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Cardiomyopathy by Reducing Oxidative Stress and Aberrant Cell Signaling. Circulation: Heart Failure, 2014; 8 (1): 188 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.114.001540


How breakfasts and dinners can help control diabetes


Washington: A new study has claimed that a high energy breakfast combined with a low energy dinner helps control blood sugar better than in type 2 diabetics, than a low energy breakfast and a high energy dinner.
The small study included 18 individuals (8 men, 10 women), with type 2 diabetes of less than 10 years duration, an age range 30-70 years, body mass index (BMI) 22-35 kg/m2, and treated with metformin and/or dietary advice (eight patients with diet alone and 10 with diet and metformin).
The results showed that post-meal glucose levels were 20 percent lower and levels of insulin, C-peptide and GLP-1 were 20 percent higher in participants on the B diet compared with the D diet. Despite the diets containing the same total energy and same calories during lunch, lunch in the B diet resulted in lower blood glucose (by 21-25 percent) and higher insulin (by 23 percent) compared with the lunch in the D diet.
Prof. Oren Froy, one of the authors of the study from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said that the observations suggest that a change in meal timing influences the overall daily rhythm of post-meal insulin and incretin and results in a substantial reduction in the daily post-meal glucose levels. It may be a crucial factor in the improvement of glucose balance and prevention of complications in type 2 diabetes and lend further support to the role of the circadian system in metabolic regulation.
Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz Jakubowicz concluded that high energy intake at breakfast is associated with significant reduction in overall post-meal glucose levels in diabetic patients over the entire day. The dietary adjustment may have a therapeutic advantage for the achievement of optimal metabolic control and may have the potential for being preventive for cardiovascular and other complications of type 2 diabetes.

The study is published in Diabetologia.

Favoured diabetes drug can lead to side effects, says study



New Delhi: A latest funded study on Indian population shows the drug used to overcome diabetic issues can cause serious side effects.
Further it says that the drug triggers deficiency of vitamin B12 leading to neuropathy and microvascular complication. In the absence of regular nutritional diet and supplement, patients with type 2 diabetes can suffer serious side effects.
The long use of frontline blockbuster diabetic drug metformin can lead to side effects including depression and breathlessness.
According to doctors and researchers, Vitamin B12 deficiency is common among Indians, who are mostly vegetarian or do not have animal products as part of their regular diet.
As quoted by Times of India, Dr Atul Gogia, research author and consultant, Internal Medicine at Gana Ram Hospital said, "Intake of metformin further reduces the absorption of Vitamin B12. A prolonged B12 deficiency can cause mental disabilities, slowness, forgetfulness etc".
Besides supplementation by tablets, animal products like fish and meat, and greens and beans are rich in Vitamin B12.
There were 66.8 million cases of diabetes in India in 2014. While metformin is the first drug prescribed to more than 90% of type 2 diabetics, doctors say there are over 500 brands of the drug available in the market in various combinations.
As part of the latest cross-sectional research conducted by New Delhi's Ganga Ram Hospital and Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, 144 adults with type 2 diabetics were assessed for nutritional status and biophysical measurements. The study was funded by Indian Council of Medical Research, a government institution.
The research recommended efficacy trials for B12 supplementation among type 2 diabetic adults.


Foods to eat if you are diabetic



 THE HANS INDIA

If you’re a diabetic, chances are, you already know a lot about the lifestyle you’re supposed to follow- exercise, addiction control and food. To help you out, we’ve put down a list of some good foods you could choose for yourself if you have diabetes

Broccoli
Broccoli is another great super-food to add to your diet if you’re a diabetic. It is rich in an antioxidant beta carotene, and is known to promote healthy vision, keep the teeth and bones strong, and also promote skin health. It is also believed that broccoli can reduce cell damage occurring due to high blood sugar.

Asparagus
With just 20 calories and a good amount of dietary fiber per serving, asparagus makes for a wonderful food choice for those with diabetes. Asparagus also contains many antioxidants, and its consumption is thought to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and also slow down the effects of ageing.

Apples
Recent studies have revealed that just a single apple a day could cut down the levels of harmful cholesterol in blood by a whopping 40 percent, and give the body a good dose of antioxidants, which could help protect and deal with diabetes. Consumption of 5 or more apples a week is linked to 23 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes

Avocadoes
Avocadoes have earned their reputation of being heart healthy, but not many people know that they are also wonderful for diabetics. It has been found that regular consumption of avocadoes could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 25 percent

Cabbage
Cabbage has a low glycaemic index of 10 which is very diabetes friendly. It is also a rich source of vitamin C and K. However, keep an eye on the fat content if you are including cabbage in your diet.

Blueberries
Blueberries, among other berries, are best known for their flavonoid content. Their high fiber content make them one of the best when it comes to following a diet for diabetes. Consuming berries is thought to keep blood sugar levels from spiking up.

Berries
Tempting red strawberries or indigo coloured blueberries or just any berries for that matter. Experts advice that these little colourful fruits are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fibre and are low-carb! So top off your breakfast with some strawberries or just toss them in your mouth. It adds a pop of colour and a dollop of health!

Carrots
Carrots are rich in fiber and important vitamins that boost immunity. Consumption of carrots is also thought to prevent the development of certain cancers, and when it comes to diabetes, raw carrots may also lower the risk of development of type 2 diabetes even in those who have a genetic predisposition to the disease

Oranges
Despite the fact that an orange contains sugar, it also contains other compounds that help control blood glucose, which makes it good for a diabetes patient. The soluble fibre present in an orange thickens as it’s being digested. This in turn slows down the sugar absorption, offering better control of your blood sugar.



Interesting article


Diabetes Risk Could Be Influenced By Quality Of Sleep

By Rebekah Marcarelli

 Getting a good night's sleep could prevent diabetes.
 A small study supported past findings suggesting there is a link between sleep loss and diabetes.
According to the study, sleep loss can elevate levels of free fatty acids in the blood and lead to temporary pre-diabetic conditions in healthy young men, the University of Chicago Medical Center reported. The study was the first to look at the influence sleep loss had on 24-hour fatty acid levels and fat metabolism, which can reduce the ability of insulin to regulate blood sugars.
"At the population level, multiple studies have reported connections between restricted sleep, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes," said Esra Tasali, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and senior author of the study. "Experimental laboratory studies, like ours, help us unravel the mechanisms that may be responsible."
The researchers found that after three nights of getting only four hours of sleep, fatty acid levels in the blood (which usually peak and fall overnight), remained elevated from about 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. When these fatty acid levels were elevated the ability of insulin to regulate the blood sugar was reduced.
The study included 19 healthy male subjects between the ages of 18 and 30. The participants were monitored during periods of getting a full night's rest and of getting around four hours of sleep a night. The subjects' blood samples were collected at either 15 or 30 minute intervals for 24 hours, starting on the third of four nights of a given sleep pattern. A glucose tolerance test was also performed at the conclusion of the four day periods.
The study showed sleep restriction resulted in a 15 to 30 percent increase in late-night and early-morning fatty acid levels. The late-night rises in fatty acid levels were linked to an increase in insulin resistance that lasted for up to five hours.
"Curtailed sleep produced marked changes in the secretion of growth hormone and levels of noradrenaline-which can increase circulating fatty acids," said Josiane Broussard, a former graduate student at the University of Chicago who is now a post-doctoral research scientist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute. "The result was a significant loss of the benefits of insulin. This crucial hormone was less able to do its job. Insulin action in these healthy young men resembled what we typically see in early stages of diabetes."
The findings suggest simple interventions, such as getting a good night's sleep, could be the key to fighting the current epidemics of diabetes and obesity.

The findings were published in a recent edition of the journal Diabetologia.



The war on sugar


Congress pushes back on idea of a sugar tax
A panel of nutrition experts thinks Americans will drink less soda if there is a tax on it.
By MARY CLARE JALONICKThe Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A tax on sugary drinks and snacks is one way a government panel of nutrition experts thinks Americans can be coaxed into eating better. Some members of Congress are already pushing back on the idea, saying the panel has overstepped its bounds.
The panel’s recommendations will help determine what gets into the new version of dietary guidelines being prepared by the Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments. The advice includes eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains and limiting added sugars and fat.
However, the panel goes beyond previous versions of the dietary guidelines by suggesting a broad list of possible policy changes – a tax is just one – that could make it easier for people to follow that diet advice.
Such taxes have mostly failed to gain traction around the country, though voters in Berkeley, California, approved a special, per-ounce tax on sugary drinks in November. In New York City, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to cap the size of sugary drinks sold in restaurants and other venues at 16 ounces, but legal challenges spearheaded by the beverage industry brought down the effort in the courts.
Other ideas put forth by the committee were placing nutrition labels on the front of food packages and requiring public buildings to serve healthier foods. The committee also suggested incentives for eating fruits and vegetables, though it didn’t detail how that could work.
The panel endorsed adding a line on the nutrition facts label for added sugars, which the Obama administration has already proposed. It also backed the administration’s standards for healthier school lunches.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., criticized the report shortly after it came out Thursday, saying the committee strayed from its science-based nutrition recommendations.
“This is economic, not nutrition, policy,” he said.


Soda tax? Dietary guidelines panel advises making people pay more for sugary drinks and snacks
Article by: MARY CLARE JALONICK , Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A tax on sugary drinks and snacks is one way a government panel of nutrition experts thinks Americans can be coaxed into eating better. Some members of Congress are already pushing back on the idea, saying the panel has overstepped its bounds.
The panel's recommendations will help determine what gets into the new version of dietary guidelines being prepared by the Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments. The advice includes eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains and limiting added sugars and fat.
However, the panel goes beyond previous versions of the dietary guidelines by suggesting a broad list of possible policy changes — a tax is just one — that could make it easier for people to follow that diet advice.
"Taxation on higher sugar- and sodium-containing foods may encourage consumers to reduce consumption and revenues generated could support health promotion efforts," the committee wrote as part of the recommendations released this week.
Such taxes have mostly failed to gain traction around the country, though voters in Berkeley, California, approved a special, per-ounce tax on sugary drinks in November. In New York City, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to cap the size of sugary drinks sold in restaurants and other venues at 16 ounces, but legal challenges spearheaded by the beverage industry brought down the effort in the courts.
Other ideas put forth by the committee were placing nutrition labels on the front of food packages and requiring public buildings to serve healthier foods. The committee also suggested incentives for eating fruits and vegetables, though it didn't detail how that could work. Panel members said incentives might be vouchers for farmers markets or subsidies for growers or grocery stores.
The panel endorsed adding a line on the nutrition facts label for added sugars, which the Obama administration has already proposed. It also backed the administration's standards for healthier school lunches.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., criticized the report shortly after it came out Thursday, saying the committee strayed from its science-based nutrition recommendations.
"This is economic, not nutrition, policy," he said.
Congress weighed in on a draft of the report last December, noting that the dietary guidelines panel was poised to suggest a more environmentally friendly diet of plant-based foods. In a massive spending bill, lawmakers instructed Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack "to only include nutrition and dietary information, not extraneous factors" in the final guidelines. After the report was issued, Vilsack said the guidelines are supposed to be informed by the "latest and best science and medical knowledge."
He wouldn't address the content of the report specifically, but said he doesn't want the final report to have "anything outside of the lines in the guidelines that would potentially undercut the legitimacy, credibility and acceptance of the guidelines. ... The law is fairly clear to me, it's about nutrition and it's about diet."
Committee members say their panel was charged with looking at implications of its findings, and the policy changes were just suggestions.
"The idea is to stimulate thinking on how to get there," Barbara Millen, the chairwoman of the committee, said Friday.
Alice Lichtenstein, a member of the panel and a professor at Tufts University, said there is some data that similar policy initiatives have worked, like efforts to ban trans fat from the food supply. She said the policy suggestions are to raise the issue for the future.
"To bring it up as something for future consideration, I think that's appropriate," she said.
One former member of a dietary guidelines advisory panel disagreed.
Joanne Lupton of Texas A&M University, who served on the 2005 dietary guidelines advisory panel, said her committee was told just to stick to the science.
"They should show us studies that taxes have a beneficial effect," she said of this year's panel.
The beverage industry argued the same point. "The committee does not have the authority to make such recommendations, nor the scientific evidence or expertise to back up its recommendations," the American Beverage Association said in a statement.


Dietary Guidelines Committee: Use Tax and Economic Policies to Reduce Americans’ Intake of Added Sugar


A new report issued by the U.S. government’s top nutrition advisory panel determined that Americans are overconsuming sugar-sweetened drinks and that the lawmakers should consider the use of tax and economic policies to reduce citizens’ intake of such beverages.
As detailed within its 572-page report, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), a government-backed advisory panel that was first established in 1980, pointed to overconsumption of food and beverages with added sugar as one of the major factors thwarting a “healthy dietary pattern” for Americans.
Noting that “obesity and many other health conditions with a nutritional origin are highly prevalent,” in the U.S., the DGAC found that “strong and consistent evidence shows that intake of added sugars from food and/or sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with excess body weight in children and adults.”
The DGAC, which convenes every five years, was tasked developing “food-based recommendations of public health importance for Americans ages 2 years and older published since the last DGAC” report in 2010. The panel submitted its report and recommendations to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. The DGAC’s proposals are non-binding but nonetheless likely to shape the official 2015 U.S. dietary guidelines, which are set to be released later this year.
Along with a reduction in overall consumption of red meat, saturated fats and salt, the report called upon Americans to limit added sugar to 10 percent of their daily calorie intake; consumers currently get approximately 13 percent of their calories from added sugar.
The panel indicated that positive health outcomes are often associated that the adoption of eating habits that follow “Mediterranean-style” diets, among others, which focus on higher intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lower consumption of red and processed meat, and low intake of sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, and refined grains.
While the DGAC advocates “the use of economic and taxing policies to encourage the production and consumption of healthy foods and to reduce unhealthy foods,” and suggested that tax revenues from sugar-sweetened beverages be used for “nutrition education initiatives and obesity prevention programs,” it also called on national and local leaders to create programs that incentivize healthier eating and increased physical activity.
“What we’re calling for in the report in terms of innovation and bold new action in health care, in public health, at the community level, is what it’s going to take to try and make a dent on the epidemic of obesity,” DGAC chairwoman Barbara Millen said in an interview with The Boston Globe.
For the committee, that also means the development of government policies that make healthier food and beverages more accessible and affordable and “limit access to high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods and sugar-sweetened beverages in public buildings and facilities,” particularly schools and other education settings, where the DGAC called for an elimination of sugar-sweetened beverages.
“Improved beverage selections that limit or remove sugar-sweetened beverages and place limits on sweets and desserts would help lower intakes of the food component, added sugars,” the DGAC wrote.
The DGAC also champions a proposal by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that creates a distinct line for added sugars on food nutrition labels.
The panel noted that “a potential unintended consequence” of its recommendations might lead consumers and manufacturers to replace added sugars with low-calorie sweeteners. And while the DGAC wrote that “moderate and generally consistent evidence… supports that replacing sugar-containing sweeteners with low-calorie sweeteners reduces calorie intake, body weight, and adiposity,” it warned that “there is insufficient evidence (due to a paucity of data) to recommend the use of low-calorie sweeteners as a strategy for long-term weight loss and weight maintenance” and that “those sweeteners should not be recommended for use as a primary replacement/substitute for added sugars in foods and beverages.”
So what should Americans be drinking? Water, of course. The DGAC urged that “free, readily accessible, safe water should be available in public settings,” and that “strategies are needed to encourage the US population, especially children and adolescents, to drink water when they are thirsty.”
In a press release responding to the DCAC’s report, the American Beverage Association (ABA), a trade group representing the non-alcoholic beverage industry, chided the panel for going “beyond its charge and authority to develop dietary recommendations based on scientific evidence by advocating for public policies such as taxes and restrictions on foods and beverages.”
“When it comes to sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages, the Committee did not consider the body of science,” the ABA wrote. “Numerous studies have shown that restricting one food or food group is not the best approach for achieving calorie balance or maintaining a healthy weight.”
The ABA also blasted the DGAC’s “lack of support for foods and beverages made with low- and no-calorie sweeteners” as contradictory, stating that “the body of science clearly shows that these ingredients can be an effective tool in weight loss, weight management and management of health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.”
Notably, the DGAC examined for the first time in its history U.S. consumption of coffee and caffeinated beverages with regard to long-term health. The committee found that “moderate coffee consumption [defined as 3 to 5 cups per day] can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern,” and is also associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in healthy adults. The panel also identified a “protective association between coffee/caffeine intake and risk of Parkinson’s disease.”
The DGAC briefly touched on energy drink consumption. Noting that while data is limited, “high caffeine intake (greater than 400 mg/day for adults and undetermined for children and adolescents), that may occur with rapid consumption of large-sized energy drinks,” suggests “adverse health outcomes, such as caffeine toxicity and cardiovascular events.”
The ABA reprimanded the panel for its comments on caffeine, which the trade group said “arbitrarily focused on a single category of products – energy drinks.”
“Other sources of caffeine, like coffee, contain the same and oftentimes significantly higher amounts of caffeine than energy drinks, and contribute a much larger proportion of caffeine to the American diet,” the ABA said. Thus, the Committee’s approach to caffeine is inconsistent and far from scientific.”


The battle for a soda/sugar tax


Tax on Sugary Foods Proposed by U.S. Panel to Fight Obesity
Alan BjergaDoni

   (Bloomberg) -- Americans should pay taxes on sugary sodas and snacks as a way to cut down on sweets, though they no longer need to worry about cholesterol, according to scientists helping to revamp dietary guidelines as U.S. obesity levels surge.
The recommendations Thursday from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee also call for Americans to reduce meat consumption and to take sustainability into account when dining.
The panel released its report as the Obama administration seeks ways to fight obesity, which now affects more than one-third of American adults and 17 percent of children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“What we’re calling for in the report in terms of innovation and bold new action in health care, in public health, at the community level, is what it’s going to take to try and make a dent on the epidemic of obesity,” committee chairwoman Barbara Millen of Millennium Prevention in Westwood, Massachusetts, said in a telephone interview.
Suggestions by the nonpartisan panel of academics and scientists help shape school lunch menus and the $6 billion a year Women, Infants and Children program, which serves more than 8 million Americans buying groceries from retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co.
Diet, Nutrition
The recommendations went to the the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services that later this year will issue guidelines used to create the government’s icon for healthy diets, currently a dinner plate that replaced the widely used food pyramid.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the two agencies will focus on diet and nutrition recommendations, and he declined to comment on any policy initiatives such as a tax.
“I don’t want anything that would undercut the legitimacy, credibility and acceptance of the guidelines,” he said Thursday on a conference call with reporters.
The law that set up the panel requires the final product to be “about nutrition, and it’s about diet,” he said. “That’s what these guidelines are supposed to be, and as far as I’m concerned, they will be.”
Food Lobbies
About half of all U.S. adults have one or more preventable chronic diseases relating to poor diets and physical inactivity such as hypertension, diabetes and diet-related cancers, according to the government. More than two-thirds of adults and nearly one-third of youth are overweight or obese.
Soda makers and packaged-food companies including PepsiCo Inc., Coca-Cola Co., Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc., Kraft Foods Group Inc., Mondelez International Inc. and Hershey Co. all fell when the report was released. Most later recovered.
The proposals will set up a fight with food lobbies worried about how their products are treated in the final guidance from the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.
The Obama administration already has landed in food fights over first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” anti-obesity initiative, which encourages healthy eating. Republicans have said Obama-backed nutrition rules rob school districts of flexibility.
In what would be the panel’s first target on “added sugars” from food processing, the group sets a level of no more than 10 percent of all calories, down from the average 13 percent now consumed by U.S. adults. The recommendation comes after studies tying snacks and sugary beverages to high obesity rates.
Public Health
Local governments have deemed sugars a public-health threat. U.S. obesity almost tripled from the 1960s to 2010 as Americans consumed more sugar. Efforts to encourage better diets, from raising taxes on sodas to imposing limits on super-size beverages -- backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP -- have failed at ballot boxes and in courtrooms.
Still, Berkeley, California, voters overwhelmingly approved the nation’s first tax on sodas last year, an approach in which the panel finds promise. Soda taxes are worth exploring, potentially as a way to subsidize healthier foods, the panel said.
Soda Tax
“Higher sugar-sweetened beverage taxes may encourage consumers to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage consumption,” according to the advisory panel. “Using the revenues from the higher sugar-sweetened beverage taxes for nutrition health promotion efforts or to subsidize fruits and vegetables could have public health benefits.”
The panel’s cholesterol findings reflect mounting evidence that eating foods high in the substance, such as eggs and shrimp, has only a small effect on levels in blood and an insignificant relationship with heart disease. The 2010 guidelines said people should consume less than 300 milligrams a day of cholesterol.
“The United States is the last country to have specific recommendations for limiting dietary cholesterol,” David Klurfeld, a nutritionist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said in a phone interview. “All the countries that used to have that have eliminated them over the years.”
As cholesterol has become less of a worry, consumption of cholesterol-rich foods such as eggs has rebounded. Meanwhile, industries whose products are targeted by the panel become worried how the recommendations may harm sales, said Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University.
Industry Pushback
“That’s where the major impact is seen,” Nestle said. “The food industry is frantic about the guidelines. They don’t want anything in there that says anything about eating less of their products. That’s their concern more than anything else.”
The meat industry’s worry that the final guidelines may discourage consumption of low-fat products turned out to be unfounded. The document states that “lean meats can be a part of a healthy dietary pattern.”
The panel’s guidance, which recommends against red meats while endorsing leaner cuts, is contradictory, said Shalene McNeill, nutrition scientist with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Washington. “Lean meat is red meat,” she said. “It is misleading to conclude that a healthy dietary pattern should be lower in red meat.”
‘Don’t Budge’
Recommendations on sodium and fats echo calls in the 2010 guidelines for adults to consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium and less than 10 percent of total calories from saturated fat per day. “I don’t think our understanding of healthful diets has changed, basically,” Nestle said. “Researchers focus on the details -- those get increasingly confusing -- but the basic principles don’t budge.”
The proposals, which include the panel’s first comments on sustainability, took a wider view of nutrition than in previous years, said Alice Lichtenstein, the committee vice chairwoman.
“We put much more of an emphasis on healthy dietary patterns as opposed to individual components of the diet,” Lichtenstein, a nutrition professor at Tufts University in Boston, said in a phone interview. “When we focus on individual components of the diet, whether it be carbs or fat, we usually end up going astray.”
The sustainability initiative endorses plant-based diets and urges more consumption of farm-raised fish as ways to alleviate stress on the environment. A coalition of 49 health, environment and animal welfare groups including Friends of the Earth and the American Public Health Association applauded the effort, saying in a letter to the secretaries of Agriculture and HHS that they should include such recommendations in their final product.
Sustainability Effort
“The inclusion of sustainability criteria in the Dietary Guidelines’ recommendations is a huge step forward for human and planetary health,” said Kari Hamerschlag, senior program manager at Friends of the Earth in Berkeley.
The idea has already sparked action in Congress: An appropriations bill passed last year includes a nonbinding provision telling the USDA and HHS to “only include nutrition and dietary information.”
HHS, which will lead the writing of the guidelines, and the USDA jointly appointed the committee, then will act on its recommendations after considering public comment for 45 days. Final guidelines are to be released by the end of this year.
To contact the reporters on this story: Alan Bjerga in Washington at abjerga@bloomberg.net; Doni Bloomfield in New York at mbloomfiel12@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net Steve Geimann, Elizabeth Wasserman


Health Experts Recommend Sugar Tax To Fight Obesity
By Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TV
BOSTON (CBS) – New recommendations on a way to curb obesity levels in the U.S. are bound to cause some controversy. As Dr. Mallika Marshall reports, a government  advisory committee says putting a tax on sugary treats could make a difference and that’s not the only advice.
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, made up of fourteen health experts, just released a report on how the U.S. government should tackle the nation’s obesity problem. The committee only makes recommendations, not policy, but the experts say we should consume no more than 10% of our daily  calories from refined sugar, and one suggestion was to tax foods and drinks high in sugar.
Dr. Barbara Millen, the chairperson of the advisory committee, says, “We (in the report) discuss examples of different strategies from consumer education to counseling to also the potential for taxation which has been used as a strategy, not simply for sugar consumption but in countries around the world for directing food  choices and food purchasing activities of consumers.”
Other notable recommendations? Eat less red and processed meats, and the committee placed an emphasis on sustainability, like eating farm-raised fish.
As it  stands, 70% of adults and a third of all kids are overweight or obese in this country.


Proposed federal soda tax is sweet vindication for Bloomberg
By Marisa Schultz
WASHINGTON — Mike Bloomberg might get to sink sugary soda after all.
An influential nutritional panel sounded the alarm Thursday against sugary drinks and recommended taxing sodas to help stem America’s obesity problem.
“Higher sugar-sweetened-beverage taxes may encourage consumers to reduce sugar-sweetened-beverage consumption,” the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee said in a 571-page report Thursday.
The nutrition-focused panel even suggested that soda-tax revenues could subsidize much healthier fruits and vegetables.
The heavy-duty federal recommendation was vindication for Bloomberg.
The former mayor tried but failed to impose taxes and portion limits on sugary drinks.
“This esteemed Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has caught up with New York City,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, Bloom¬berg’s health commissioner who was the architect behind the anti-soda push.
“I absolutely think that we were right. We saw evidence that made us very alarmed in those days and that’s why we acted. And the evidence has only gotten stronger ... The sugary drinks really are a health risk.
Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables, add more whole grains and limit red meats, according to the report.
At the same time, the panel lifted its suggested 300-milligram limit on dietary cholesterol — good news for egg lovers. And for coffee addicts, the experts said moderate caffeine intake — three to five cups per day — is OK.
The experts warned against added sugar, commonly found in soda, sweet treats and snack foods, as well as mixing energy drinks and alcohol.
Obesity, type-2 diabetes and heart disease are ¬“major public health concerns,” the panel wrote in explaining the need for community action.
Bloomberg waged war on sugary drinks by first pushing Albany to pass a soda tax. When that failed, he tried to ban 16-ounce-plus servings of sugary drinks in restaurants.
But in 2013, a judge threw out the super-sized ban in a bubble-busting defeat for the mayor.
Since then, Bloomberg has taken his crusade elsewhere, bankrolling successful efforts in Mexico and Berkely, Calif.
The panel’s recommendations now go to the US departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services that will develop new federal nutrition guidelines by year’s end.




‘Sugar tax’ lauded by Connecticut health advocates, opposed by food industry
By Cara Rosner, CTNewsJunkie.com

A proposed “sugar tax” on sweetened drinks and candy was praised by health advocates but slammed by representatives of the food and beverage industry at a public hearing this week.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Juan Candelaria, D-New Haven, would impose a tax of 1 cent per ounce on soft drinks — including sweetened teas, energy drinks and soda — and candies that are high in sugar and calories.
It was among various bills discussed at a Committee on Children public hearing Tuesday at the Legislative Office Building. While the tax would affect consumers of all ages, sugary drinks and foods often are marketed to children.

The so-called sugar tax would help decrease state residents’ consumption of sugary drinks and foods, which would reduce rates of obesity and other related health issues such as heart disease and diabetes, said Roberta Friedman, director of public policy at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut.

The bitter truth about sugar


By Suchitra Bajpai Chaudhary, Senior Reporter

Dubai: People diagnosed with diabetes continue to consume sugar according to a report released by Nielsen, seriously jeopardising their health as having sugar when blood glucose is already high can only aggravate the health of a diabetic.
The study that surveyed 400 diabetics in UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt — countries that feature among the top ten most prevalent countries for the disease — indicated that most of them preferred to have refined sugar in their daily diet despite the availability of a wide variety of sugar substitutes.
Dr Prakash Pania, specialist endocrinologist at the Aster Jubilee Medical Complex, Dubai, who treats a lot of diabetics, felt that was happening because of a common misconception.
“Many patients believe in a lot of myths that sugar substitutes cause brain tumours and other diseases, which has not been proven. The America Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that it is safe for diabetics to have up to two to three satchets of sugar substitutes on a daily basis with no side effects.”
Dr Pania said that many patients continued to use not just sugar but jaggery or honey, all of which cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. A teaspoon of sugar may have approximately 16-20 calories, but for diabetics it is not just a matter of calorie counting as it is an issue of having food groups with a low Glycaemic Index (GI). A GI is a unit used to measure the speed at which the glucose from food is absorbed in the body.
“Simple sugars and refined carbohydrates have a high GI and get absorbed so fast that they cause a spike in blood sugar levels causing insulin to be produced rapidly. The higher the spike, the lower is the dip after it and this creates an erratic high and low cycle of insulin release in the body, causing complications in sugar metabolism,” he said
Dr Pania explained: “You can compare this to having Dh1,000 in your pocket as opposed to having the same amount in a fixed deposit. The amount in your pocket gets spent easily whereas you have to break a fixed deposit. Similarly, complex carbohydrates take efforts to be broken down and are absorbed slowly in the blood. In diabetics the insulin production gets lower over a period of time and, besides that, whatever level of insulin is present does not get absorbed easily by the cells as there is insulin resistance usually due to obesity. If diabetics continue to use sugar, their blood sugar levels continue to rise and the excess glucose binds itself to different molecules such as haemoglobin and nerves and blood vessels, damaging them. Accumulation of sugar damages the nerve endings in the eyes, the kidneys, and the heart, causing degeneration of the healthy tissue.”
Endocrinologists have warned that long-term damage from high blood glucose can include retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, arteriosclerosis, stroke and coma, among other conditions.
Dr Pania also cautions that ignorance about the disease leaves it undiagnosed for a long time.
“Many times, patients come to us with damage to the optic nerve and then get diagnosed with high sugar. In such cases the degeneration has already set in. It is important for all diabetics to avoid direct sugar completely and opt for sugar substitutes. In any case all food eventually gets converted into glucose. So, diabetics must avoid direct sugar that will cause an unhealthy spike in sugar levels.
Opting for the healthier alternative
Juliot Vinolia, Clinical dietician and Consultant Nutritionist at iCare Clinics, Dubai, says patients usually avoid using sugar substitutes because of the metallic aftertaste and the fear of side effects. “But there are different kinds of sugar substitutes available in the market. These are chemical derivatives, those that are processed from sugar after isolating the sugar alcohols and the natural plant-based derivatives. Using these in moderation is fine (about two to three satchets) a day. However, she recommends the use of plant-based substitutes that, according to studies, not only improve the insulin receptors but act on the sugar digestion enzymes. “Besides, they are organic and whatever end product they produce is eaten up by the bacteria in our guts leaving no residue. The natural fibres in them makes their absorption slow.”
She recommends that diabetics use sugar substitutes. “Even healthy people have sugar spikes immediately after a big meal. Using moderate sugar may not be such a bad thing, but most diabetics tend to have a cup of tea directly after a big meal. This means that when their bodies are already dealing with a spike in blood sugar why overload the system with direct and simple sugar. It is best to avoid direct sugar as cutting down on sugar completely will lead to better glycaemic control. If diabetics continue to have sugar despite high blood sugar levels, they will end up stressing their bodies