Thursday, December 6, 2012

Truth about Sugar, Addiction, Artificial Sweeteners, Obesity, and Brain/Neural Activity

Source from: Live Strong
Sugar comes in a variety forms--sucrose, fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, turbinado, white and brown sugar. If you're reading food labels, it can be confusing to determine where it comes from and how to tell the difference between them. Sucrose and fructose sound the same, and are both sweeteners.

About Sugar
Sugar is a carbohydrate that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables. It's obtained from sugar beets and cane sugar through a process that extracts the liquid from the plants, and then is filtered and concentrated into a crystalized form. Added sugar is any sweetener that's added to a food product.

Sucrose is white table sugar, made up of glucose and fructose. This "regular" sugar comes in fine, superfine, coarse, powdered, fruit, confectioners and baker's sugar; it's broadly known as granulated sugar. The baker's, fine and ultrafine sugar are used in baking. The fruit sugar is used in gelatin and dry mixes. The confectioners and powdered sugar is ground into a smooth powder for use in frosting and whipping cream.

Fructose is a sugar found in fruit, honey and fruit juice. Together with glucose, it makes up sucrose. You can buy it in a similar form as sucrose at a supermarket for cooking and baking. Fructose is much sweeter than sucrose, so you can use less to achieve the same amount of sweetness with fewer calories. Fructose does not cause a significant change in blood sugar levels, as sucrose does.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup
High-fructose corn syrup is made from the glucose found in corn starch. The process of changing glucose to fructose is more economical than using sugar. When this is added to the wide variety of packaged foods available in our supermarkets, it helps increase their shelf life.

Artificial Sweetener
A sugar substitute is a food additive that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste, usually with less food energy. An important class of sugar substitutes are known as high-intensity sweeteners. These are compounds with many times the sweetness of sucrose, common table sugar. As a result, much less sweetener is required and energy contribution is often negligible. The sensation of sweetness caused by these compounds (the "sweetness profile") is sometimes notably different from sucrose, so they are often used in complex mixtures that achieve the most natural sweet sensation.

In the United States, six intensely-sweet sugar substitutes have been approved for use. They are stevia, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium, and saccharin. There is some ongoing controversy over whether artificial sweetener usage poses health risks. The US Food and Drug Administration regulates artificial sweeteners as food additives

Reading Labels
The Food and Drug Administration requires sucrose be listed in the ingredients on a food label by its common name, sugar. Fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners aren't put into that same category. The ingredients are listed in descending order by amount, and the label does not distinguish between sugars that naturally occur in food and those that are added.

Published on July 2011 by
Series: "UCSF Center for Obesity, Assessment, Study and Treatment" [7/2011] [Health and Medicine] [Professional Medical Education] [Show ID: 21693]

Interventions to Reduce Sugar Consumption
Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, in the Division of Endocrinology at UC San Francisco, explores how and why to reduce sugar consumption.

The New Science of Sugar Addiction
The New Science of Sugar Addiction Ashley Gearhardt, Yale & Rudd Center for Policy and Obesity, explores what causes certain foods capable of triggering an addictive process.

What Artificial Sweeteners Reveal about Sugar?
Carolyn de la Pena presents the history of saccharin, Splenda and the other sugar substitutes that have transformed our relationship with food. A professor of American studies and director of the UC Davis Humanities Institute, de la Peña is the author of "Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda.

Obesity and the Neural Plasticity Reward Circuit
Eric Stice, Oregon Research Institute, examines factors that increase risk for onset of eating disorders and obesity, as well as the development and evaluation of prevention programs for these conditions.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth
Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin.

Sugar Highs and Lows: Sugar on the Brain
Kent Berridge, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, discusses his lab's research into fundamental question about the brain and behavior. He discusses how food pleasure is generated in the brain, the neural bases of wanting and liking, and how fear and stress relate to desire.

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