Tag Archives: sugar

Smoke, mirrors, statistics, damned lies?

Benjamin Disraeli said: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Then we have “smoke and mirrors”, leading us implicitly to believe something is true when in fact it isn’t. This morning, you decide…

I’ve just seen a TV advert for a new breakfast drink product. Always one to know what goes into these things I put the sniffer dog to work. What I found was a great lesson in why we should treat food labels with a dose of healthy scepticism!

Apparently this product contains 8.1 grams of sugar per 100 grams of product – that’s just 9% of your daily advised amount according to the manufacturer’s information panel.

The problem here is the product is sold in 250ml bottles. Well done Sainsbury for therefore pointing out that really means you get 20 grams of sugar in an individual sized bottle equating to 22% of your daily advised amount in their product information panel.

The BIG problem with both sets of information? If 8.1 grams sugar equates to 9% of our recommended intake, or even if 20 grams equates to 22%, it means the actual daily recommended intake is somewhere between 90 and 91 grams sugar. Hmmm – in who’s world?

Well certainly not in WHO’s world! The World Health Organisation recommends limiting free sugars to just 25 grams per. day. The NHS have yet to catch up, and still recommend limiting free sugars to 30 grams per. day. So in my world that means one individual-sized bottle of this new product actually delivers 88% of our sugar intake as recommended by the World Health Organisation, or 73.33% as recommended by the NHS.

weetabix

Obesity – who deserves the blame?

einstein

After Susan Jebb, the Government’s former diet tsar, said obesity is mainly caused by a person’s genes and the prevalence of junk food, other experts have hit out saying fat people should be told their size is their own fault. So just who SHOULD carry the blame for your obesity, asks a news article this weekend?

It comes down to the difference between ignorance and insanity.

It’s true that the food industry, Public Health, and the NHS in the UK have all mislead the public for years. Sadly knowingly for some time too. They ALL sold us the “low-fat myth” for decades. They ALL overlooked the fact that there was no real evidence against saturated fat. They ALL overlooked the weight of evidence against sugar for 40 years.

We became a fat nation! And I say obesity was encouraged because the organisations who should have protected us kept us in IGNORANCE. Ignorance about why we were really gaining weight. Ignorance about why  a whole host of chronic diseases have been burgeoning. Ignorance about the “unrelenting march” of diabetes reported last week.

But we know now! We know sugar is deadly. We know it has raised our levels of inflammatory disease to crisis point: diabetes, heart disease, vascular disease, some cancers and more. And we can no longer claim ignorance. We can no longer claim to being kept in the dark.

The food industry is showing very little sign of change. In the many months now since we lifted the lid on the nonsense that is “low-fat”, I’ve watched in near despair as more and more fat-free and low-fat products have been unleashed into the market-place – still claiming health-benefits. It sucks, it really does. But we are no longer ignorant to the truth. We can shake our heads in disbelief that they care so little. But we no longer have to fall for their dishonest hype!

I started speaking out against low fat as long ago as 2003 – and I have never knowingly put a low-fat-sugar-laden version of food into my body since. But I still do occasionally eat something with added sugar: a bite of chocolate, a slice of birthday cake, the occasional dessert maybe. And every time I do I know, and accept, that my behaviour is INSANE. Insane because there is enough information to enable me to make a better choice. Insane because I have enough knowledge to enable me to make a better choice. Sometimes I make insane choices, but I have to face the fact they are MINE!

I am at the point of awareness that any weight gain is certainly now my own fault, and I carry 100% responsibility.

Historically Susan Jebb is right – the past 40 years have largely been not our fault. But from here on in we are all responsible for our own food choices – as these experts suggest! And only when we accept our own responsibility, embrace our own dietary and behavioural change, take control over our own choices will things improve.

RebalanceDiabetes is ready and waiting to help anyone willing to help themselves. Give me a shout!

 

 

 

But aren’t they natural sugars?

Mince pies? Christmas cake? Christmas pudding? Tis the season to be jolly – and of dried fruits!

And fruit is healthy, right?

So if you find some of these lovely seasonal foods with no added sugar, it necessarily follows they are, if not actually good for you, OK at least doesn’t it?

Sadly it doesn’t necessarily follow.

There is ongoing debate about fructose – the sugar naturally occurring in fruit.  We know now that fructose is processed differently in the body compared with other sugars. Almost ALL the fructose we eat ends up being stored directly as body fat. Belly fat. The kind that settles in and around the internal organs. Visceral fat. Linked with type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease, strokes etc.

If you want the scientific explanation – here it is.

The issue with these Christmas delicacies, is that, even without added sugars, they contain whopping amounts of fructose because it’s so concentrated in dried fruits compared to fresh fruits. One small portion of Christmas pudding might deliver 50 or more grams of sugar. Add to that the sugar in a mince pie or two, a piece of Christmas cake at tea time, nibbling on the occasional seasonal date, and you might be racking up a considerable amount of sugar – just from naturally occurring fructose found in dried fruits.

All things in moderation, so they say. When it comes to Christmas fayre the crux is knowing how little actually constitutes moderation.

I wish you the happiest festive season, but most of all good health!

Elaine x

 

 

 

Whatever is next – RebalanceDiabetes is right here for you!

shelovesyork2December 1st 2015 and – with International Diabetes Awareness Month 2015 closed – I’m reflecting on what we’ve achieved and, crucially, what’s next.

I started the month calling for everyone affected by diabetes to #standtogether. And I ended the month repeating that call because, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter whether you have Type 1, Type 2, gestational diabetes, take insulin, or not, are prediabetic, care for someone living with diabetes, or are just interested, there is an awareness mountain to be climbed.

Throughout November I’ve shared my awareness film The Silent Killer, shown on Times Square on World Diabetes Day; a fabulous offer to enable you to join The RebalanceDiabetes Programme (the first comprehensive diet and lifestyle programme for diabetes available online) at a massively discounted rate; brand new RebalanceDiabetes success stories to motivate and encourage; breaking news stories; and I shared a preview of the latest stats around diabetes. These latest stats are available for download today – get your copy of the Exec Summary of IDF’s latest Diabetes Atlas – click here.

The new diabetes years starts here. RebalanceDiabetes is ahead of the game, has always been ahead of the game, and I plan to stay there. You can be assured I’ll be doing everything I can to help YOU get the best from your health, feel great about yourself, enjoy life.

I genuinely don’t believe that diabetes has to win, I don’t believe the gloomy predictions have to come true, I do believe RebalanceDiabetes is the best solution. I’m with you every step of the way!

Here’s to a great year – starting NOW!

Elaine x

 

 

 

To tax or not to tax?

sugar writingToday marks the final day of International Diabetes Awareness Month 2015.

Today the sugar tax debate is hitting the media again in a big way.

Whether you are for or against a sugar tax it seems a fitting time to give more attention to this debate, and to turn the spotlight again on sugar: the dangers of sugar, the role of sugar on public health, the economics of sugar.

Is this the first time in living history that a Government has resisted such public calls for a tax? Resisted an opportunity to boost the chancellor’s coffers, with strong public support? The political stance is curious to say the least.

Here is a selection of the articles I’ve come across this morning:

MPs back sugar tax and ban on junkfood ads during X-factor

Jamie Oliver’s right! MPs say it’s time for a 20% tax on sugary drinks to tackle childhood obesity

Ban Junk Food Ads And Tax Sugary Drinks – MPs

UK MPs seek tighter measures on sugary drinks to tackle childhood obesity 

MPs back sugar tax endorsed by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver

Breakfast Briefing: Pressure grows on Gov for sugar tax

Tax sugary drinks and restrict TV adverts for sweets, MPs urge

MPs to call for ‘sugar tax’ and tighter controls on junk food ads

Introduce tax on sugary drinks, say MPs

MPs call for sugar tax to combat obesity

Radical Overhaul Needed To Beat Obesity – MPs

MPs demand 20% levy for fizzy drinks and blitz on junk food deals

Sugar tax: MPs join call to cut £5bn a year cost of obesity

Commons health committee puts weight behind UK sugar tax

Commons chiefs to demand ‘sugar tax‘ and tighter controls on junk food ads

Despite all those calls for the sugar tax, there is an “against” view point also reported this morning. It’s a minority of the British people who believe such a tax would be effective in combating obesity and disease – including diabetes:

British public unconvinced by soft drinks tax

I am throwing my hat onto the side that says there probably is a better way – regulate the food industry, restrict the amount of sugar permitted in processed foods, education, more transparent food labelling…

I am grateful this topic is working its way up political agendas. Let this debate rage!!

 

Innocent Type 1s? How divisive!

are-you-an-angel-or-a-devilI found an article yesterday. You might already have seen it by now. It’s entitled, “Call for healthy eating and exercise on World Diabetes Day neglects innocent Type 1 patients“.

I hate, actually hate, that title. “Innocent Type 1 patients” says what about people living with Type 2 diabetes? That they are not innocent it can only be assumed.

This awful article, published in the Inquisitr, and penned by Dawn Papple goes on to say,

Type 1 diabetics are innocent sufferers of an autoimmune condition. These patients haven’t necessarily eaten too much sugar or failed to exercise.

True on the one hand. The problem being that on the other Ms Papple alludes that people living with Type 2 diabetes are guilty sufferers? Guilty of having eaten too much sugar or failed to exercise?

Well I am writing today to inform Ms Papple, and anyone who has applauded her article, that not everyone with Type 2 diabetes has overindulged in sugar or sloth either. Whether through ignorance or intention she fails to show any understanding of Type 2 diabetes, or to represent Type 2 patients with the same consideration she demands for people living with Type 1 diabetes. Her article laments the lack of understanding about Type 1 diabetes, whilst showcasing her own acute lack of understanding of Type 2 diabetes!

She writes:

Many people have come to associate diabetes with obesity, but as this new campaign shows, people who appear physically fit can be fighting for their lives against Type 1 diabetes.

Well here’s the shocking truth – people who appear physically fit can be fighting for their lives against Type 2 diabetes!

Research shows there is a genetic aspect to Type 2 as well as Type 1. Like it or not, research shows there are some food links with Type 1 as well as Type 2. Research also shows that it’s such a common phenomenon for older people with Type 2 to be lean (estimates suggest 20%) that another recent article proposes a new label – Type 4 diabetes. One of my own clients is a lady, aged 61 years and weighing just 55kg, or 120lbs, or about 8 and a half stones – HbA1c 45 and heading north in consecutive tests! Not yet diabetic, but on her way. On her innocent way!

Furthermore, a new test is being developed to distinguish between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes at the point of diagnosis – precisely because the boundaries between the two are not so clear cut!

All this highlights is the uselessness of labels. Type 1 and Type 2 and, potentially, Type 4 are all man-made constructs of language. They should not be used divisively, discriminatingly, or to the detriment of anyone with diabetes.

Mahatma Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. May I suggest that if you want understanding and compassion for yourself, it would be appropriate to first show those same considerations to others?

I am thoroughly sick and tired of “diabetism”. Sick of any notion of innocent Type 1 v. self-imposed Type 2. The issues of pathogenesis are far more complex than this – for all types of diabetes.

At the start of November, I called for all people affected by diabetes to #standtogether. As we approach the end of International Diabetes Awareness Month 2015, I am again asking for ALL PEOPLE AFFECTED BY DIABETES TO #STANDTOGETHER!

Diabetes diet dilemma?

health choicesThe World Health Organisation are calling for action. The International Diabetes Federation are calling for action.

The number of adults being diagnosed in the UK has increased by 65% in just 10 years. The number of adults headed for diabetes in the USA is almost 3 times that of the number of people diagnosed at this time – a massive 86 million people!

Governments around the world will not tax sugar. David Cameron, we know, has opposed a sugar tax, saying he believes there’s a better way.  Do you know what? I think he could be right. I think there probably is a better way – BUT it would still risk him falling out with his chums at Tate and Lyle. So all in all I’m pretty certain he isn’t looking for another way! And it seems the International Diabetes Federation are also sceptical about world leaders’ determination to do anything, according to this article at least!

And then it seems that ordinary people living with diabetes are so confused by conflicting or unclear dietary messages that they don’t know what to do to help themselves.

I’ve spent years building The RebalanceDiabetes Programme. It’s helping people just like you take control and improve their health and wellbeing. You don’t have to be confused. Simply pick a way that has been already shown to work and follow it! Don’t be distracted by other people’s confusion – just get your head down and do it for you. You’ll be glad you did!

Click here right now and get started!

 

 

Cereal killers?

Sipping my green tea in Waitrose’s cafe on Saturday, and browsing the weekend supplements, I came across an article about a cereal bar, Cereality, recently installed in Texas Fort Worth airport. The pictures of what might typically pass for breakfast or a snack were nothing if not disturbing.

Cartons of cereals, already sugary enough to be considered to be confectionery in their own right, mixed with chocolates, sweeties,
cookies, and dripping in syrups and sweet sauces. Food? Really? Have we so lost our marbles? Lost sight of what constitutes food, let alone healthy food? Or even an appropriate portion size of sugar?

A mere 20 minutes later, queuing at the checkout, my senses were further assaulted by the prominent display of breakfast cereals of the worst kind. Displayed in the most prominent position in the store.

Sugar laden, refined carbs in a box masquerading as food! IMG_20151003_172234

The kind that kids will nag their parents to buy. For the jolly cartoon images on the boxes. For the free junk toys inside. For the sugar on which the breakfast cereal industry is gleefully getting them hooked.And it struck me that breakfast cereal manufacturers and those peddling them are having a huge, and profitable, laugh in the face of ever rising rates of obesity and diabetes. And it’s simply not good enough!

Here’s why…

In 2009 Which? magazine investigated breakfast cereals, and, as reported in the press at the time, concluded that a mere 8% of tested brands would meet Food Standards Agency criteria for acceptable levels of sugar. In 2012 Which? revisited breakfast cereals and again concluded that few products would provide for a healthy breakfast.

In the intervening 3 years things have gone from bad to worse. Kelloggs and Nestle and chums have continued unabated to peddle their sugar-laden wares, and to add insult to injury have introduced ever more damaging options. Nestle even have the audacity to package some of the worst products, in my opinion, in “green top” boxes, devised to fool consumers that there is something healthy in the packet. There mostly isn’t!
Back to cereal cafes: as ever, what happens in the US eventually appears in the UK. Cereal cafes are no exception. Cereality in the States at least has a fluffy friendly name. But here in the UK it seems we’re prepared to openly embrace the darkest, most cynical side of this new trend.

Cereal Killer Cafe is aptly named indeed. Almost every conceivable brand of tooth-rotting, blood-sugar-disrupting breakfast carb is available. Alongside a piece of cake obviously!

Similar nutritionally-bankrupt concoctions – they call them cocktails – can be found at the unattractively-named Black Milk Cereal Dives popping up around the UK. Already-too-sugary cereal
products topped with Krispy Kreme doughnuts? Topped with Oreo cookies and chocolate sauce? Topped with Tootsie Rolls?

There simply has to be enough information out there about the dangers of sugar and refined carbs now for the owners of these questionable establishments to be fully aware of the health implications of their sugar bowls. Doesn’t there?

I pray the “food” industry never sinks lower than this. It’s hard to imagine that it could!

In the meantime I’m going to cry real tears and pray for a food industry in which sanity and ethics make a come-back! And I’m going to continue to eat, and recommend, eggs for breakfast!

The light at the end of this tunnel is the news that eggs are making a comeback – enjoying some well-deserved redemption. Once more for old times sake – “Go to Work on an Egg!”

Why would a 3 year old develop Type 2 diabetes?

chihood obesityA few days ago the world was aghast at the story of a 3 year old Texan toddler developing Type 2 diabetes. The newspapers, TV, radio and social media channels all carried the story.

This quote, in an article in The Independent, left me bemused:

Experts who reviewed the girl’s diet found “poor family nutritional habits with uncontrolled counting of calories and fat”.

Nowhere in this article was there any criticism of dietary sugar being a causal factor – just “calories” and “fat”. Surely there is enough evidence available now for us all to realise that the biggest dietary culprit for obesity amongst young children is sugar or refined carbs that the body can quickly turn into sugar. Yet this article lets the pure white and deadly stuff totally off the hook.

This story, sadly, isn’t isolated. In January this year we saw similar cases of Scottish children as young as 4 years of age also being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The article carried in The Scotsman newspaper at the time also failed to discuss the role of sugar in relation to these children.

The media has a responsibility to keep up the pressure on sugar. Powerful lobbyists will be doing their best to downplay the role of sugar in the burgeoning obesity and diabetes crises, but for the sake of such young children we have to make sure the finger is well and truly pointed in the right direction. At sugar.

There is enough evidence now to back up the notion that added sugars should be a real focus for change: not just obvious sugars in sweets, cakes, biscuits etc, but those needless and mischievously added to savoury foods, sauces, processed foods. Then of course there is the issue that even fresh fruit and vegetables have been bred to contain more sugars, to make tastes more palatable to children it seems.

It’s really sad to see children developing serious debilitating conditions at such young ages, and it’s too simplistic just to blame parents. Now I’m not letting them off the hook here – it’s obvious that 5 and half stones is far too heavy for a 3 year old girl and yes parents of overweight children could take advice before things get to such extreme  levels. But advice from whom? The messages about healthy eating are confusing. I see plenty of evidence, both clinically and anecdotally in everyday life, of people becoming overweight and obese DESPITE trying to eat healthily. Next time you’re in a supermarket notice how many overweight people are pushing shopping trolleys filled with low-fat manufactured food products. The very products the food industry wants you to believe, and go on believing, will help you maintain good health and an appropriate weight. They won’t. Low-fat products mean higher-sugar products of course.

So it’s really unhelpful that we have the media STILL talking about fat instead of sugar in relation to obesity. We just need to stay focused on one simple message please: SUGAR IS MAKING OUR KIDS FAT AND SICK.

Sugar-free FARCE?

Honeycomb sliceI found myself nodding my head in agreement when I read the Daily Mail headline dismissing The Great British Bake Off “free-from” episode as farce.

Sugar isn’t always white and granular, or even brown and granular. And it isn’t always called ‘sugar’!

I doubt the contestants of the show were trying to deceive when they added honey, agave, syrups into their cakes. They just don’t understand the ingredients they use!

The show simply highlights the confusion around sugar. For so long we’ve been at the receiving end of messages about “healthy alternatives” to sugar. Those messages are largely wrong. Because the “alternatives” are themselves so often just other forms of sugar!

Honey, agave and fruit syrups contain fructose – the very sugar that is now linked with dangerous visceral fat and the body shape that often goes hand in hand with insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, inflammation, heart disease, stroke, some cancers and more. Fructose derviatives – hardly healthy and hardly an alternative.

So here are some of the common names you might find on food labels or in recipes that mean SUGAR:

Fructose, High fructose corn syrup, HFCS, Glucose, Invert sugar, Corn sweetener, Corn syrup, Fruit juice concentrate, Maltodextrin, Sucrose (table sugar), Honey, Lactose, Maltose, Raw sugar, Brown sugar, Molasses, Cane sugar, Raw cane sugar, Cane syrup, Brown rice syrup, Golden Syrup, Treacle, Caramel.

Anything that ends in ‘ose’ or called a ‘syrup’ should set your alarm bells ringing!

Why not learn more? Join my online programme – simply click here: https://www.udemy.com/the-rebalancediabetes-programme