Public needs advice on what food to buy—not just told to avoid sugar, says expertBMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g4288 (Published 26 June 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g4288
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Our body needs wholesome, healthy food for normal functioning. Our food intake (calories) should match the energy expenditure needed for different types of activities, to maintain ideal weight. When calorie intake is more than the energy expenditure, body stores it as fat. Apart from just calories food should contain all the required nutrients otherwise the food will supply only empty calories to the body which is more harmful.
The common causes of unhealthy nutrition are due to intake of a diet which is not balanced. The foods in the diet should meet the needs of the individual and take care of age, exercise, pregnancy and other associated conditions. A recent sudy by Leung and colleagues has shown that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas was associated with shorter telomeres in a sample of healthy, nonelderly adults independent of BMI and other individual characteristics (1)
Fructose is used in many commercially prepared foods and fructose intake should be less than 50 grams per day. High fructose intake is associated with increase in body weight (2,3).
Intake of free sugar and sugar sweetened beverages in the diet is a determinant of body weight (4) Sugar sweetened drinks and other sugar added food items should carry obesity warnings (5). Children and adults should be encouraged to take plain water instead of sugar sweetened beverages to fulfill their fluid requirement (4). Implementing sugar tax is difficult in many countries but it can help the nation to reduce its sugar intake (6)
The lifestyle diseases like obesity, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease and cancer are likely to be due to increased oxidative stress and slow inflammation at the cellular level. These have been linked to shorter telomeres. The most common causes of oxidative stress and inflammation are unhealthy nutrition, lack of exercise, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and chronic emotional stress. Lifestyle changes increase telomerase activity and consequently telomere maintenance capacity in human immune-system cells. (7)
The total caloric requirement of the body has to be divided into 5-6 small meals compromising all the three major food components like carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and also containing all the micronutrients like vitamins and minerals and trace elements (magnesium, selenium Zinc). Vitamins, minerals and trace elements have a role in telomeres maintenance (8, 9).
1 Leung CW, Laraia BA, Needham BL et al Sugar-Sweetened Soda Consumption is Associated with Shorter Leukocyte Telomere Length among Healthy Adults Circulation.2014; 129 (Supplement): Abstract AP079
2. Rizkalla SW. Health implications of fructose consumption: A review of recent data. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Nov 4;7: 82.
3. Sievenpiper JL1, de Souza RJ, Mirrahimi A, et al Effect of fructose on body weight in controlled feeding trials: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2012 Feb 21;156(4):291-304
4. Te Morenga L, Mallard S, Mann J. Dietary sugars and body weight: systematic review and meta-analyses ofrandomised controlled trials and cohort studies. BMJ.2012 Jan 15; 346: e7492
5. Capewell S. Sugar sweetened drinks should carry obesity warnings. BMJ.2014 May 27; 348: g3428
6. Limb M Public needs advice on what food to buy-not just told to avoid sugar, says expert BMJ. 2014 Jun 26;348: g4288.
7. Ornish D, Lin J, Daubenmier J, Weidner G, et al Increased telomerase activity and comprehensive lifestyle changes: a pilot study. Lancet Oncol. 2008 Nov;9(11):1048-57.
8. Bhushan B, Kush L Nutritional Destiny and Lifestyles Influence Telomeric Biomolecules International Journal of Innovative Research & Development.2014; 3 (5): 39-43
9. Boccardi V, Esposito A, Rizzo MR, Marfella R, Barbieri M, et al. (2013) Mediterranean Diet, Telomere Maintenance and Health Status among Elderly. PLoS ONE 8(4): e62781.
Competing interests: No competing interests
When looking at sources of sugar we so often forget that even wholemeal bread, rice or a baked potato has a higher glycemic index than table sugar itself. It's perhaps simplistic just to look at sugar when in fact of course plants concentrate sugar as starch for storage.
So if we really want to reduce sugar intake we should include bread pasta rice potato. Many type two diabetics have already worked this out. In my own practice over 30 type two diabetics have lost about 10 kg with statistically much improved HbA1c results on this Low carb diet. I have been on it for 18 months now and never felt better.
Competing interests: No competing interests