Archives for February 2014

Diabetes in a Bottle

Label-Juice-Shopper-wmMy liver and pancreas both did back flips as I watched this woman load her cart with diabetes in a bottle.

As a health coach I sometimes feel like taking a photograph of the crazy “stuff” (euphemism) I see. This shopper’s companion was morbidly obese and I purposely cropped her out of the photo as a matter of good taste (pun intended).

I estimate there are 20-25 bottles in her cart and after she moved on I was curious to check the label on the drink product. After filtered water the next ingredient listed was high fructose corn syrup. (You might already know that ingredients are listed in descending order.) You are basically talking about water and 57 grams (14 teaspoons) of sugar with a smattering of natural and artificial flavors, 1% juice and some dye resulting in 230Label Juice Drink very empty (nutrition-less) calories.

In the 1800s the average citizen consumed two pounds of sugar per year. The USDA reports that currently the average consumption is 156 pounds per year. That’s great news if you are in the business of selling sugar. It’s horrible news for your health.

When I showed this label to my Health Coach and mentor, Delia Garcia, M.D. she described it as diabetes in a bottle.

Regardless if it is high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar, at some point we have to agree too much is too much! Any honest health professional will tell you this is unhealthy and it’s not like consumers are drinking one a day. It’s multiple bottles or servings a day.

One of the problems I’ve observed is that since high fructose corn syrup is cheaper than sugar and easier to blend into foods and drinks, food and beverage companies have been able to offer super sized meals and drinks with out proportionately raising the price. When I was a kid (1960s) soda pop was a luxury and if we were lucky enough to visit McDonald’s, I got a small soda, regular fry and burger. That’s not the case anymore.

People who track such things as the “obesity epidemic” see a parallel between the beginning of the commercial application of high fructose corn syrup and the beginning of the epidemic.

In his blog Dr. Hyman quotes Barry M. Popkin, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.“… the increase in consumption of HFCS has a temporal relation to the epidemic of obesity, and the over consumption of HFCS in calorically sweetened beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.”

The Health Coach (me) would put it in simpler terms. Americans have been consuming too much sugar for too long beginning about 1980.

What’s the bottom line? Food companies and agricultural interests will continue to produce “diabetes in a bottle” products that sell and make a profit regardless of the cost that the obese and diseased human body will suffer.

Individually you and I have to make intelligent choices then collectively we can make a difference.

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