Tag Archives: sugar

Change your diet to save both water and your health

September 10, 2018
Source: European Commission Joint Research Centre

Summary: Shifting to a healthy diet is not only good for us, but it also saves a lot of fresh water, according to a new study. Compared to existing diets, the water required to produce our food could be reduced by up to 55 percent for healthy pescetarian and vegetarian diets.Shifting to a healthy diet is not only good for us, but it also saves a lot of precious fresh water, according to a new study by the JRC published in Nature Sustainability.

sustainable diet info graphic for article, Change your diet to save both water and your healthCompared to existing diets, the water required to produce our food could be reduced by between 11% and 35% for healthy diets containing meat, 33% and 55% for healthy pescetarian diets and 35% and 55% for healthy vegetarian diets.

Researchers compared these three diet patterns, defined by respective national dietary guidelines, to the current actual food consumption, using available data from more than 43 thousand areas in France, the UK and Germany.

They found that eating more healthily could substantially reduce the water footprint of people’s diets, consistent across all the geographical entities analysed in the study.

The study is the most detailed nationwide food consumption-related water footprint ever made, taking into account socio-economic factors of food consumption, for existing and recommended diets.

Influences on the food we eat

The scientists also show how individual food consumption behaviour — and their related water footprints — depend strongly on the socio-economic factors like age, gender and education level.

They found interesting correlations between such factors and both the water footprint of specific foods and their resulting impact on overall water footprints.

For example, the study shows how in France, the water footprint of milk consumption decreases with age across the municipalities analysed.

Across London, they show a strong correlation between the water footprint of wine consumption and the percentage of the population of each area with a high education level.


A Sweet Trick to Help You Conquer Cravings

Christmas milkshaBy Johannah Sakimura

Published Dec 16, 2013

Researchers are now using a powerful tool to investigate the science behind food cravings: the chocolate milkshake.

Scientists have long known that foods — particularly high-fat and high-sugar foods — activate reward pathways in the brain, which may explain why some treats (including a decadent chocolate milkshake) can be so downright irresistible. Now, a research team at the Oregon Research Institute is looking at whether sugar or fat is the primary driver of cravability. To study this relationship, researchers compared participants’ brain activity after tasting four different formulations of milkshakes: a low-fat/low-sugar milkshake, a low-fat/high-sugar milkshake, a high-fat/low-sugar milkshake, and a high-fat/high-sugar milkshake. (The researchers upped the fat content by replacing 2% milk with half and half and increased the sugar content by adding more sugar syrup.)

Their findings, published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that sugar may be the bigger concern if you’re struggling to control your appetite. The high-sugar/low-fat milkshake and low-sugar/high-fat milkshake were nearly equivalent in calorie content, but the high-sugar milkshake caused greater activation in areas of the brain associated with reward and motivation — the regions that may prompt you to keep sipping even though you’re no longer truly hungry. Further, increasing the sugar content of the milkshake while keeping the fat content the same increased the brain’s response, while increasing the fat content when the sugar content was stable had no effect. While both sweet and fatty foods can be very rewarding to your brain, it appears that sugar may be the stronger temptation.

Take a Sugar Inventory

If you struggle with food cravings and overeating, reducing your sugar intake may be a good place to start. Not only could it help you stay in better control of your eating, it can also reduce your risk for heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases that have been linked to a sugary diet. Continue reading A Sweet Trick to Help You Conquer Cravings

Valentine’s Day Sugar Massacre?

photo of sugar cubes with skull and crossbones poison symbolCan sugar really be toxic? Sadly, yes

Eating excessive amounts of processed sugar is leading to an epidemic in type 2 diabetes.

By Max Pemberton

By the time you have finished reading this sentence, one person in the world will have died from type 2 diabetes. Two more will have been newly diagnosed with it. Yet it is a condition that rarely excites or interests the public. It has a slow, insidious progression that is interlinked with obesity, and as a result this disease is considered an abstract, boring and largely self-inflicted condition. While it’s a killer, it’s not a killer in the dramatic and attention-grabbing way that other conditions such as cancer and infectious diseases can be. But given the huge personal and economic impact it has, we should be taking type 2 diabetes much more seriously.

According to a startling commentary in the journal Nature, by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, sugar poses such a health risk – contributing to around 35 million deaths globally each year – that it should now be considered a potentially toxic substance like alcohol and tobacco. Its link with the onset of diabetes is such that punitive regulations, such as a tax on all foods and drinks that contain ”added’’ sugar, are now warranted, the researchers say. They also recommend banning sales in or near schools, as well as placing age limits on the sale of such products.

I have to admit my first response on reading the headlines generated by this article was to roll my eyes as I tucked into a king-size Twix, and denounce the suggestion as yet another example of health fascism. Sugar? Toxic? Oh, please, give me a break (or preferably a KitKat). But the truth is that there is compelling evidence that sugar is hugely dangerous, because it is a contributing factor in the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes faced by developed countries.

Continue reading Valentine’s Day Sugar Massacre?