Learn the Facts About Sugar

8232A dangerous white powder is in the news – sugar.

We’ve heard so much about the harmful effects of sugar lately, that it may be hard to distinguish facts from fiction, and it’s left many consumers with more questions than answers. That’s a problem because, let’s face it, when we’re talking about possibly reducing something we consume (and enjoy) on a daily basis, not knowing the facts can keep us from making necessary changes in our diets.

To get the facts, health scientists at UCSF developed SugarScience.org to learn more about the latest research findings on sugar and its impact on health. Their goal? To help you make healthy choices based on clear, unbiased, scientific evidence.

So far, the evidence is clear: too much added sugar doesn’t just make us fat – it can also make us sick. Americans consume an average of 66 pounds of sugar per year. Because it’s so easily digestable, too much sugar overwhelms the liver and can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even liver disease and failure.

“The news is hard to hear,” admits Professor Laura A. Schmidt, UCSF School of Medicine. “It’s tough stuff. Just like smoking back in the 50’s, you grew up thinking everybody does this, it’s benign. Now the scientific community is in the hard position of saying something you love and think is benign is harmful to your health.”

How much is too much? The American Heart Association recommends that we don’t exceed the following guidelines for daily added sugar intake:

Women: 6 teaspoons (24 grams)

Men: 9 teaspoons (36 grams)

Kids: 3-4 teaspoons (12-16 grams)

Preteens & Teens: 5 teaspoons (20 grams)

Once you start to look for added sugar, you’ll find it everywhere. SugarScience.org has uncovered 61 different names for sugar in the products we consume. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that my favorite salad exhausted my entire recommended daily allowance of sugar.

But even small changes can make a big difference.

Perhaps the simplest change you can make is to stop drinking “liquid sugar.” Sugary drinks such as sodas, sports drinks and even fruit drinks are particularly harmful. If we could eliminate sugary drinks, we’d collectively cut out 37% of our sugar consumption. And there’s evidence that artificial sweeteners inflict the same kind of damage as real sugar.

But life can still be sweet. “Added sugars” don’t include the sugars we find in fruits, berries, and vegetables. That’s because when we eat them, we also get their natural good fiber, which makes the sugar harder to digest and keeps it from overwhelming the liver.

Learn more about sugar and SugarScience.org. Watch Learn the Facts about Sugar – How Sugar Impacts Your Health today.

Health Matters with Dr. David Granet

33With the holiday season upon us, health becomes an ever-increasing issue as we battle stress, diet, and our environment. Dr. David Granet of Health Matters welcomes a variety of professionals from the health and medical fields to discuss a broad array of health related topics. Each program in the series provides current and valuable information on how to improve health and well-being. Recent episodes have focused on the negative effects of insufficient sleep, and the importance of urgent and innovative care for stroke patients.

25617The CDC has declared insufficient sleep to be a national health epidemic. Why are we not getting enough and how can we change our behaviors? Sean P.A. Drummond, PhD, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program and Cognitive Behavioral Interventions Program in the VA San Diego Healthcare System, joins host Dr. Granet to discuss the ramifications of insufficient sleep and ways to improve your sleep health.

25841Every 45 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke. What are the warning signs and how do you know if you are at risk? In the most recent episode of the series, Innovations in the Treatment of Stroke, Dr. Alexander Khalessi, Director of Endovascular Neurosurgery and Surgical Director of Neurocritical Care, gives insight on how to recognize a stroke, preventative measures, and innovative surgical treatment options.

For more programs regarding health, visit the Health Matters series page.

Join the conversation @UCTelevision, @UCSDTV, @dgranet, @DeptVetAffairs, #HealthMatters

More from Medicine of Cycling!

Meet Dr. Prentice Steffan, chief medical officer for Slipstream Sports, which owns Garmin-Sharp Professional cycling team. He was the first American physician to care for a team of cyclists in the Tour de France.

The Medicine of Cycling series gives an inside look at a day in the life of a world tour cycling team doctor, through Steffan’s experience being the team doctor during the week-long bike race, Paris Nice.

Learn more about how he keeps his pro-team safe, in “A Day in the Life of a World Tour Cycling Team Doctor.”

A common injury among many cyclists, and athletes in general, is the concussion. The Medicine of Cycling series hears from Eric Freitag, a licensed psychologist and board certified clinical neuropsychologist about the risks and ramifications of concussions.

Freitag co-founded the California Concussion Coalition with the hope of spreading awareness and education about concussions and their proper treatment.

Watch “Concussions and Sports” for Freitag’s expert advice on how to recognize, treat, and understand concussions and the way they affect the brain.

Check out other videos in the the Medicine of Cycling series.

Want more on the Medicine of Cycling? Visit their website!

New Mini Med School Series! Medicine of Cycling

Bicycles were first invented for transportation almost 200 years ago, but since then we have created many models of bikes and many modes of cycling, from mountain biking to racing in a velodrome. The Medicine of Cycling series addresses concerns of all types of cyclists, calling on professionals from a diverse array of disciplines to give advice on things from bike safety to finding the right bike for you.

The first episode in the series covers the various injuries that people suffer from riding bicycles and what is the best treatment. Dr. Kristin Wingfield, team physician for EXERGY 2012/16 women’s pro cycling team, visits the UCSF Osher Integrative Center of Medicine to talk about some of the common injuries and treatments cyclists receive.

Some injuries, like those that occur from a fall or collision, are often outside your control, but many injuries arise from intrinsic factors like overuse, personal health, and lack of proper bike knowledge or technique.

Watch “Cycling Injuries: Diagnosis and Treatment” to learn the correct ways to identify and treat bicycle injuries — and maybe event prevent them!

Stay tuned for more episodes in the Medicine of Cycling series.

MOC-logoWant more on the medicine of cycling? This series is just an introduction to a whole field of science dedicated to keeping cyclists safe. Visit medicineofcycling.com for more information about the group of doctors determined to give cyclists top quality care.

Also, the fourth annual Medicine of Cycling Conference is coming up in Colorado Springs, Colorado September 20-22. There is still time to get early bird registration if you sign up before August 15th!

Save Your Bones! Osteoporosis Update 2013

According to a recent study from the Center for Disease Control, Osteoporosis affects nearly one in ten people over the age of 50.

Osteoporosis is an impairment of the bones that results from low bone density and can lead to brittle bones, making them very prone to fractures.

As you age, you become more vulnerable to Osteoporosis — especially women, as estrogen levels decrease. Many other factors can increase one’s risk of developing the disease including high salt and caffeine intake, inadequate physical activity, smoking, and drinking too much alcohol.

The good news? Awareness can prevent complications and fractures through lifestyle changes that include diet, increased physical activity, and learning how to prevent falls which can be extremely dangerous for people with Osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis expert and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Heather L. Hofflich, shares everything she’s learned about the disease in this month’s Stein Institute for Research on Aging public lecture.

Watch Osteoporosis Update 2013 for Hofflich’s tips on prevention and treatment:

Check out other videos from the Stein Institute for Research on Aging.