Published March 05, 2014 /Associated Press
Just try sugar-coating this: The World Health Organization says your daily sugar intake should be just 5 percent of your total calories – half of what the agency previously recommended, according to new draft guidelines published Wednesday.
After a review of about 9,000 studies, WHO’s expert panel says dropping sugar intake to that level will combat obesity and cavities. That includes sugars added to foods and those present in honey, syrups and fruit juices, but not those occurring naturally in fruits.
Americans and others in the West eat a lot more sugar than that: Their average sugar intake would have to drop by two-thirds to meet WHO’s suggested limit.
WHO’s new guidelines have been published online and the agency is inviting the public to comment via its website until the end of March.
Many doctors applauded the U.N. agency’s attempt to limit the global sweet tooth.
“The less sugar you’re eating, the better,” said Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California and author of a book about the dangers of sugar. “If the sugar threshold is lowered, I think breakfast cereal is going to have a really hard time justifying its existence,” he said, referring to sweetened cereals often targeted to children.
When WHO last revised its sugar guidelines more than a decade ago, it recommended sugar should be less than 10 percent of daily calories. The U.S. sugar industry was so incensed it lobbied Congress to threaten to withdraw millions of dollars in funding to WHO. A contentious reference to the sugar limit was removed from a global diet strategy but the recommendation passed.
Lustig said WHO’s new guidelines could alter the food environment by forcing manufacturers to rethink how they’re using sugar in processed foods like bread, soups, pasta sauces and even salad dressings. He called the amount of sugar in processed food an “absolute, unmitigated disaster.”
WHO’s expert group found high sugar consumption is strongly linked to obesity and tooth decay. It noted that heavy people have a higher risk of chronic diseases, responsible for more than 60 percent of global deaths. Dental care costs up to 10 percent of health budgets in Western countries and cause significant problems in the developing world.
WHO warned many of the sugars eaten today are hidden in processed foods, pointing out that one tablespoon of ketchup contains about one teaspoon of sugar.
There is no universally agreed consensus on how much sugar is too much.
The American Heart Association advises limiting sugar to about 8 percent of your diet, or six teaspoons a day for women and nine for men. A study led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published last month found too much sugar can raise the chances of fatal heart problems. Researchers found the average American gets about 15 percent of their calories from sugar, similar to other Western nations.
New nutrition labels proposed in the U.S. will also require food manufacturers to list any added sugars, plus a more prominent calorie count.
Earlier this week, Britain’s chief medical officer, Dr. Sally Davies, said she thought sugar might be addictive and that the government should consider introducing a sugar tax to curb bulging waistlines; the U.K. has one of the fattest populations in Western Europe.
“We have a generation of children who, because they’re overweight … may not live as long as my generation,” she told a health committee. “They will be the first generation that lives less and that is of great concern.”
Sulforaphane belongs to a group of phytochemicals, or disease-fighting compounds in plant foods, known as the isothiocyanates. Along with related phytochemicals, it helps to prevent against the development of cancer. Sulforaphane prevents certain enzymes from activating cancer-causing agents in the body and increases the body’s production of other enzymes that clean carcinogens out of the system before they can damage cells, according to sources such as the Breast Cancer Research Program. Sulforaphane is produced in cruciferous vegetable plants only when two enzymes in separate “sacs” react, myrosinase and glucoraphanin.
Broccoli sprouts are the richest food source of glucoraphanin, the precursor to sulforaphane, or SFN, also known as glucoraphanin sulforaphane. Three-day old broccoli sprouts are concentrated sources of this phytochemical, offering 10 to 100 times more of it, by weight, than mature broccoli plants or cauliflower, according to research published in September 1997 in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” A 1-ounce serving provides 73 milligrams of sulforaphane glucosinolate. Per 100-gram serving, broccoli sprouts offer approximately 250 milligrams. You can purchase broccoli sprouts at many health food stores and certain grocery stores. Lightly cooked, they taste similar to steamed spinach.
Another vegetable within the cruciferous or Brassaca family is the Brussels sprout. According to the Linus Pauling Institute for Micronutrient Research, while all cruciferous vegetables are rich in these disease-fighting phytochemicals, some cruciferous vegetables are better sources of specific glucosinolates, or sulforaphane precursors, than others. A 1/2-cup serving or 44 grams of Brussels sprouts, raw, provides approximately 104 milligrams of total glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are water-soluble compounds that are leached into cooking water. These phytochemicals are easily destroyed. Boiling cruciferous vegetables for just 9 to 15 minutes decreases total glucosinolate content by 18 to 59 percent, according to research published in September 2003 in the “British Journal of Nutrition.” Cooking methods that use less water, such as microwaving or steaming, may reduce losses.
What’s New and Beneficial About Brussels Sprouts
- Brussels sprouts can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will use a steaming method when cooking them. The fiber-related components in Brussels sprouts do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw Brussels sprouts still have cholesterol-lowering ability — just not as much as steamed Brussels sprouts.
- Brussels sprouts may have unique health benefits in the area of DNA protection. A recent study has shown improved stability of DNA inside of our white blood cells after daily consumption of Brussels sprouts in the amount of 1.25 cups. Interestingly, it’s the ability of certain compounds in Brussels sprouts to block the activity of sulphotransferase enzymes that researchers believe to be responsible for these DNA-protective benefits.
- For total glucosinolate content, Brussels sprouts are now known to top the list of commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. Their total glucosinolate content has been shown to be greater than the amount found in mustard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, or broccoli. In Germany, Brussels sprouts account for more glucosinolate intake than any other food except broccoli. Glucosinolates are important phytonutrients for our health because they are the chemical starting points for a variety of cancer-protective substances. All cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates and have great health benefits for this reason. But it’s recent research that’s made us realize how especially valuable Brussels sprouts are in this regard.
- The cancer protection we get from Brussels sprouts is largely related to four specific glucosinolates found in this cruciferous vegetable: glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, sinigrin, and gluconasturtiian. Research has shown that Brussels sprouts offer these cancer-preventive components in special combination.
- Brussels sprouts have been used to determine the potential impact of cruciferous vegetables on thyroid function. In a recent study, 5 ounces of Brussels sprouts were consumed on a daily basis for 4 consecutive weeks by a small group of healthy adults and not found to have an unwanted impact on their thyroid function. Although follow-up studies are needed, this study puts at least one large stamp of approval on Brussels sprouts as a food that can provide fantastic health benefits without putting the thyroid gland at risk.
There has been a lot of talk about sugar in the news lately with the foreboding question, “How bad is sugar for our bodies? Many people, even doctors, can argue both sides of the case. Some say that sugar doesn’t harm our bodies while others claim it’s extremely toxic. Here is what I know about sugar:
Sugar is linked to obesity, cancer, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. When we eat too much sugar, our liver gets overloaded with fructose and converts some of the sugar into fat. Some of that fat ends up in our blood stream. Every cell in our body does need glucose to survive, but tumors also need glucose (sugar) to grow.
So what is the simple answer? Approach your diet with balance. Keep sugar to a minimum. If you limit sugar, you will decrease your chance of getting cancer. Stay away from processed foods–they are filled with…
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The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) gives a lot of information about foods that fight cancer. They speak about individual ingredients, they provide an overview of research done on the ingredients, they provide nice recipes etc. They also give a very nice glossary of terms and definitions connected to cancer fighting foods.
|Alpha-carotene||One of a group of carotenoids found in colorful fruits and vegetables that can be made into vitamin A by the body.|
|Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)||A polyunsaturated fatty acid required by the body that is found in many vegetable oils.|
|Anthocyanin||One of a class of flavonoid pigments found in many blue, red or purple plants.|
|Antioxidant||A substance that protects cells from the damage caused by free radicals.|
|Apoptosis||Programmed cell death.|
|Benign adenoma||A non-cancerous tumor that arises from tissues covering the body’s organs.|
|Benzoic acid||A carboxylic acid found in many berries that can be used as a preservative.|
|Beta-carotene||One of a group of red, orange and yellow pigments called carotenoids.|
|Caffeine||A substance found in the leaves and beans of the coffee tree, in tea, yerba mate, guarana berries, and in small amounts in cocoa. It is added to some soft drinks, foods, and medicines. Caffeine increases brain activity, alertness, attention, and energy. It may also increase blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and the loss of water from the body in urine.|
|Case-control study||In cancer research, a study that compares a group of people with cancer to a similar group without cancer. Also called a retrospective study.|
|Carotenoid||A type of antioxidant and a provitamin. It is a yellow, red, or orange substance found mostly in plants.|
|Catechin||One of a class of compounds called phenols; a potent antioxidant.|
|Ellagic acid||One of a class of compounds called phenols; found in many berries.|
|Ellagitannin||A polyphenol compound formed when ellagic acid links with a sugar.|
|Enzyme||A protein that increases the rate of chemical reactions.|
|Epicatechin||One of a class of compounds called phenols; structurally similar to catechin.|
|Epidemiology||The study of disease and risk among human populations.|
|Flavonol||One of class of compounds called flavonoids found in many plant foods.|
|Folate||An essential B vitamin in the form naturally present in foods.|
|Folic acid||An essential B vitamin in the form found in supplements and fortified foods.|
|Gamma-tocopherol||One of a series of compounds that exhibits vitamin E-like behavior.|
|Glucosinolate||Organic compounds containing sulfur and nitrogen; found in cruciferous vegetables.|
|Hydroxycinnamic acid||One of a class of polyphenol acids found in many fruits.|
|Inflammation||The body’s reaction (swelling, heat) to harmful stimuli.|
|Indole||Compound arising from glucosinolate found in cruciferous vegetables.|
|Inositol||B vitamin required by the body; found in grains and other plant foods.|
|Isothiocyanate||Chemical group containing sulfur, also known as mustard oils.|
|Kaempferol||Member of the group of compounds called flavonols; found in many plant foods.|
|Lignan||Member of the group of compounds called polyphenols with mild estrogen-like effects.|
|Lutein||A carotenoid found in dark green leafy vegetables and orange-colored fruits and vegetables.|
|Perillyl alcohol (POH)||A monoterpene found in cherries, lavendar, orange peels and other plants. POH inhibits growth of cancer cells and causes cell death in lab studies.|
|Phytoestrogen||A plant substance that exhibits mild estrogen-like effects.|
|Polyp||Abnormal growths of tissue that may or may not develop into cancer.|
|Polyphenol||Member of a large class of plant compounds much studied for their health effects.|
|Proanthocyanidin||Long-chained member of class of compounds called flavonols; found in many fruits.|
|Protease inhibitor||A compound that interferes with the ability of certain enzymes to break down proteins.|
|Pterostilbene||A polyphenol compound that shows antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.|
|Quercetin||Member of a class of compounds called flavonoids found in tea, apples and many plant foods.|
|Resveratrol||Member of a class of compounds called phenols; found in the skins of grapes and in many other plants, fruits, and seeds.|
|Saponin||A long-chained compound found in soybeans and many other plants.|
|Sterols||A class of organic molecules related to lipids; found in many plants.|
|Ursolic acid||Member of a class of compounds called polyphenols; found primarily in cranberries’ skins.|
|Zeaxanthin||A carotenoid found in dark green leafy vegetables and orange-colored fruits and vegetables.|
In order to support more cancer research, you are also able to make a donation on http://www.aicr.org/