Entries in Sugary Foods (4)


Welch’s Threatened Over Heart Health Claims

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Welch's promotes its grape juice and other products as healthy, but one group says those health benefits are actually outweighed by an overabundance of sugar and calories.

“Welch's shouldn't be slapping a heart-health icon on its grape juice and other products,” the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest said Tuesday.

“[N]ot only does Welch's juice not improve heart health,” the group alleges, “it may, on balance, do harm by contributing to insulin resistance and obesity.” The CSPI says it notified the company “that it will face a lawsuit unless it stops making heart-health claims on its juices, spreads, fruit juice cocktails, and fruit snacks.”

The group says an 8-ounce serving of Welch's juice contains 36 grams of sugar and 140 calories, more than the same amount of Coca-Cola.

"Most Americans concerned about their weight and risk of diabetes would actually do well to drink less juice," CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson said. "It's deceptive and misleading for Welch's to claim that grape juice has any special benefit to heart health."

Welch's maintains that its Concord grapes promote heart health and, in a statement provided to ABC News, calls the accusations against their messaging "misguided."

“When it comes to heart health, the substantial body of research conducted over a 15-year period supports the cardiovascular benefits of 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes, including many placebo controlled, human studies,” the company said. “In addition, a recent comprehensive review of the science published in Nutrition Today concluded that consuming grapes and grape juice can support cardiovascular health without adversely affecting weight in healthy adults.

“Contrary to CSPI’s view on the role of 100% fruit juice, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that everyone – adults and children – get more fruit each day,” the statement continued. “The guidelines also say that 100% juice is one way to add more fruit to the diet as a complement to whole fruit intake.

“Furthermore, equating the nutritional value of 100% grape juice to soft drinks is not only misleading but potentially harmful to the public.  Calorie for calorie, 100% grape juice packs more nutrition than soft drinks and delivers essential vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant nutrients – to help promote health,” the company said.

“CSPI has raised a number of other specific accusations and since those specifics are subjects of potential litigation, we are unable to provide further comment.  Welch’s has always taken our responsibility to consumers seriously and will continue to take great care in our messages.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


School Snack Laws Effective in Curbing Weight Gain, Study Finds

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- State laws that curb the sale of junk food in schools may be helping combat childhood obesity, according to the findings of a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

In the first national study to measure the effectiveness of state laws that curb the sale of sugary snacks and drinks, researchers found that kids in grades five through eight who lived in states with stronger laws actually gained less weight than kids in states without them.

“[I]t really shows that there can be an effect -- a positive effect -- by curbing the sale of junk food and sweetened drinks,” said Dr. Keith Ayoob, associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Ayoob was not involved in the study.

These findings, though not considered hard proof because the differences were slight, are increasing optimism among public health experts. Ayoob says states that do not have laws limiting the consumption of junk food and low nutrient drinks in schools might want to consider adopting legislation that would do so.

And while curbing junk food in school is a good start, it’s critical that healthy habits extend beyond the classroom, Ayoob says. “That's where maybe parents can have a bigger impact.”

The study was conducted over three years and involved more than 6,000 kids in 40 states.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Can a 'Fat Tax' Help Lower Obesity?

Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Adding a high tax on unhealthy food and drinks may help slow the rising rates of obesity, according to a new study published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal

Previous studies suggest that the sharp tax increase on cigarettes in 2009 has contributed to the dramatic decrease in the number of smokers in the U.S. And it's hoped a "fat" tax would work the same way.

A tax of at least 20 percent placed on sugar-sweetened drinks could drop obesity rates by 3.5 percent and prevent 2,700 heart-related deaths each year, according to the study.

Nearly 34 percent of Americans are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The growing obesity rate has led to high cholesterol, and an increase in chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer.  The goal of the tax is to curb sales of unhealthy food and decrease overconsumption, which may help to prevent disease.

The study also called for subsidizing the cost of healthy foods and vegetables to make them more affordable to greater numbers of people.

A growing number of European countries, including Denmark and France, have already imposed a tax on unhealthy food and drinks.

But not all foods that are high in fat are considered unhealthy, which may challenge the notion of imposing a blanket tax, some food policy experts said.  It's important to first distinguish what food and drink should be labeled "unhealthy" before imposing a tax, they said.

"Some high fat food like nuts are related to reduced weight gain," said Dr. Walt Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at Harvard University's School of Public Health.

Salmon and avocados, also high in unsaturated, so-called good fat, are also considered healthy foods.  Unsaturated fat eaten in moderation can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

"A focus on sugar and refined starch is better, but as a first step I favor a focus just on sugar-sweetened beverages as the evidence is strongest for this," said Willett.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Beat Fat, Sugar Addiction; Detox Liver to Lose Weight

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Do you feel like you can't lose weight because you can't stop eating cakes, cookies and French fries?  If you can't beat your cravings, you could be addicted to sugary and fatty foods, and to kick your addiction, you have to detox your liver, according to Dr. Mehmet Oz of The Dr. Oz Show.

"Sugary and fatty foods affect the pathways to the brain in the same way as heroin or cocaine," Oz said.  "Sugar acts directly in the brain to inhibit the effect of leptin and increased appetite so you never feel full.  So then you keep eating, and you become leptin-resistant."

"What you need to do is break the addiction by detoxing the liver, which has stopped metabolizing fat properly.  Sugar consumption causes fat to build up in liver cells, which decreases the liver's ability to metabolize fats and sugars and detoxify your body," he added.

Oz told ABC News the following four steps for detoxing your liver:

Step 1: Replace all grains with cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower for one week, and bulk up on foods from the allium family -- garlic, chives, leeks -- because they are full of flavonoids.

Step 2: For withdrawal, take a Vitamin B complex to help with carbohydrate cravings and 1,000 mg a day of chromium picolinate to help with sugar withdrawal.

Step 3: Eat meat in a four-to-one ratio, meaning four portions of white meat, fish or tofu to one portion of red meat).  Also eat leafy greens and citrus fruits that contain vitamin C to boost your innate antioxidant system.

Step 4: Address emotional eating. Emotional hunger is sudden, while physical hunger is gradual.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio