Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

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Eat Your Veggies

Another study only this time global nutrition is examined. The conclusions: Really simple – Eat more vegetables, fruit, fish, and whole grains and less trans fat, sugar, and salt. How many times do we hear this recommendation, but still continue to ignore it?  But is it so simple to do when we are surrounded by a toxic food environment such as the so-called SAD (Standard American Diet)?

We live in a nutritional desert where the potato and tomato are the favorite vegetables of  many Americans and the potato  is in the form of a French fry and the tomato is in the form of catsup on our burgers. We get our calcium from layers of processed cheese on most all fast foods and stuffed into our pizza crusts. All this and more from a food industry that is more concerned about a  sugar “bliss” point in their products than real nutritional health.


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FYI: Which Juice is For You?

Nutrients Tomato Juice V-8 Juice Orange Juice
Calories 70 50 110
Sodium 980 mg 640 mg 0 mg
Potassium 657 mg 460 mg 450 mg
Carbohydrate 14 g 10 g 26 g
Fiber 3 g 2 g 0 g
Sugars 9 g 6 g 22 g
Protein 3 g 2 g <2 g
Vitamin A 8% 40 % 0 %
Vitamin C 110 % 150 % 120 %
 Calcium 4% 4% 2%
Iron 8% 4% 0 %

What is your go to juice for breakfast? In my house, it is either tomato, V-8, or orange juice. Which is healthier? Here is what I found:

  • All three provide a very decent amount of nutrients but a few things stand out for consideration: sugar, salt, vitamin A and C, and potassium.
  • It all depends on taste preference in the long run, or possibly whether you want to avoid sugar or salt.
  • To be fair, orange juice provides additional nutrients in small to modest amounts of vitamin B6, magnesium, niacin, folate, riboflavin and thiamine.
  • BTW, I am not associated with the Campbell company in any way.

For more on V-8, CLICK HERE.

Bon appétit






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Sugar Addiction: Another Opinion


Fat and Sugar

Sugar is one of the most controversial food items in recent years since the nutrition “experts” seem to have divided themselves into two camps  – one is strongly anti-sugar saying it may be partly responsible for most chronic diseases and may be addictive, and the other is less anti-sugar, and generally report only the risks of tooth decay to health and say that it does not meet the criteria of a true addiction. See my previous post: Sugar Addiction: An Opinion.

Of course, the sugar and processed food industry is seriously involved and takes the side of the anti-tooth decay groups.

NOTE: When researchers gave human subjects sugar or fat solutions (they used canola oil.) alone and compared those to a saliva control,  they concluded:  “fat and sugar both produced strong reward effects in the brain.” as shown by a MRI brain scan.  They reported  “It has already been established that sugar ingestion would light up the areas of the brain that are collectively known as reward centers that generate pleasure, indicating possible addictive or narcotic properties.” So it was a surprise to find that fat could also produce the same results. Araujo and Rolls, “Representation in the Human Brain of Food Texture and Oral Fat”, Journal of Neuroscience 24 (2004): 3086-3093.

The following article presents the case for sugar addiction. It also begins to discuss the complexities of addiction and how the sugar industry gears its marketing to sell for profit with very little consideration for health.  An interesting and informative book that should be read by all consumers is Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 2010.


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Sugar Addiction: An Opinion



Carbohydrates are among the most abundant nutrients in grains, fruits and vegetables. Types of carbohydrates in these foods include starches, sugars, and fiber.  The two primary classifications are SIMPLE and COMPLEX.

STARCHES – Complex

Complex carbohydrates called starches are found as large chains of glucose and  provide 4 calories per gram.  They are found in grains and some vegetables. Our body breaks down starches into units of glucose, which is a simple carbohydrate, and releases glucose into your bloodstream to be used for energy. Your body stores excess carbohydrate as fat. Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta, are naturally richer in nutrients and fiber than refined grains, such as white bread and pasta. Whole grains retain the bran and germ of the grain, while refined grains have been stripped of these components. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn and beets, have more starch than so-called non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli.

SUGARS – Simple

Fruits and vegetables contain simple carbohydrates, called fructose, or fruit sugar, and glucose. Fruits are higher in fructose and glucose than most vegetables that contribute to their sweetness.  Added sugars are usually refined sugars found in baked goods and soft drinks and tend to be lower in essential nutrients than fruits and vegetables. All sugars provide 4 calories per gram. Your body converts dietary fructose to glucose and uses it for energy. so in essence, all digested carbohydrates eventually end up as glucose in the body to be used for energy production.


Dietary fiber refers to indigestible complex carbohydrates in plant-based foods. Most fruits and vegetables are high-fiber, and whole grains are higher in fiber than refined choices.  Because you do not digest it fiber does not contribute calories to your diet. Most high-fiber foods are rich in additional essential nutrients, such as vitamin C and vitamin A in fruits and vegetables, potassium; niacin and B vitamins are found in whole grains.

This post is intended to support the suggestion that sugar is a fairly benign component of our diets in terms of health issues. Many nutrition groups and those working in the sugar and processed food industries claim that sugar can be part of a healthy diet if used in moderation. The problem: Moderation is fine but how is it defined since sugar and added sugars are found in many processed foods. Many of these foods are often termed “empty calorie foods” or having few nutrients compared to non-processed whole foods which can contain some “natural” sugars. The concept of sugar addiction is discounted in this side of the debate, since not all agree on the definition of “addiction” and many say that not all people become addicted to sugar if at all. For the other side of the debate, see a subsequent post: Sugar Addiction: Another Opinion. CLICK HERE.

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Sugar Blues?

Sugar or fat? It appears that we have not had all the  research information to decide whether sugar or fat is associated with heart disease. Shame on the industry and the academics who participated back in the 1970’s and 80’s.