Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Food science is getting more and murkier day by day if thousands of conflicting reports/findings/inferences being published in hundreds of journals as well as media publications are meticulously read! Practically every report on one or the other aspect of food, nutrition and health is contradicted by a different group though both claim their findings are truthful and correct! For example who does not know that too much sugar or salt or fat can be injurious to health for people in a sedentary society though "how much" is "too much" is still mired in controversy. According to a recent study published in a decent scientific periodical, it is claimed that those who consume added sugar are more vulnerable to death with lesser life span than those taking limited sugar who live longer. This finding is based on some laboratory studies using mice as subjects and extrapolating the results to humans. Here is a take on these new "findings".

"When mice were fed a diet that was 25% added sugars – an amount consumed by many humans – the females died at twice the normal rate and the males were less likely to reproduce and hold territory, scientists said in a study published Tuesday. The study shows "that added sugar consumed at concentrations currently considered safe exerts dramatic impacts on mammalian health," the researchers said in the study, published in the journal Nature Communications. "Many researchers have already made calls for reevaluation of these safe levels of consumption." The study's senior author, University of Utah biology professor Wayne Potts, said earlier studies fed mice sugars at levels higher than people eat in sodas, cookies, candy and other items. The current study stuck to levels eaten by people". 

Granted that the results might be true for mice which were living in a restricted environment, how can one conclude that the same could apply to humans who are living in unrestricted environments with freedom to exercise as much as they want or can. After all calorie burning is influenced by the extent of physical activity indulged by the humans. If the logic of study is taken seriously, practically every food item coming from the soda, pastry, confectionery, ice cream or dessert industry sectors must be banned forthwith!. Take the population in India where thousands of ethnic foods are made and consumed for centuries containing high sugar levels and the mortality should have been astronomical according to the above studies. But only recently Indians are developing diabetes probably by the lack of calorie burning exercises while those generations preceding the present one never had so much problem consuming sugar. The key to this mystery is adequate physical activity which was part and parcel of life in the last century and years preceding that. No wonder diabetes is practically non-existent in the rural areas where hard working farmers consume lot of jaggery and sweetmeats practically every day, much more than what these mice ate in the above studies. Of course to day's society must heed to the warning alarm raised by the findings and must cut down sugar drastically or do rigorous exercise regularly to burn the high calorie foods they take in their diets.  


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