Food scientists’ ascension in recent years is in direct correlation to the obesity epidemic. Clever, quick and convenient foods have made it possible for people to come home from work and throw a frozen lasagna in the oven. We’ve become dependent on cheap, filler food, and we give short shrift to what we put in our bodies.
Reading the ingredients listed in boxed, canned and frozen foods is always a shocker. Sugar appears to be in everything! (“Sugar: It’s our national obsession. And it’s killing us,” Science+Health, Feb. 16.) Kids at very young ages are easily hooked on sweets, and parents have to move mountains sometimes to get their kids to eat broccoli, spinach and other whole foods. Eating deliberately and purposefully, setting good examples for our children, will make us more aware of what we put in our mouths.
According to the article, too much sugar has ramifications beyond obesity and cavities. It effects everything from dementia to circulatory issues to cholesterol and inflammation. Something I will take to heart.
SHARON E. CARLSON, Andover
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Every food label I checked after reading the article measures sugar in grams. Nowhere in the article was there a mention, that I could find, of what one teaspoon is equivalent to in grams. This is important information, but how many people do you think would bother to search this out on their own? If the article were really meant to educate rather than scare the public, it would seem obvious that some sort of conversion would be included among the elaborate graphics and charting in the article.
Here is the conversion for you: By my research, one teaspoon equals 4.92892 grams.
DEBORAH NEWCOMB, Minneapolis
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The article did little to inform readers. Rather, accompanied by an illustration of a skull and crossbones, it was clearly intended to scare them.
The reality is that adult consumption of added sugars has declined. Importantly, a significant part of the reduction is from decreased added sugars from beverages — due, in part, to our member companies’ ongoing innovation in providing more low- and no-calorie options. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also came to these conclusions, and showed that foods, not beverages, are the leading source of calories from added sugars in the diet of American adults, as well as that of children and adolescents.
Last, the research covered in the newspaper was an observational study that cannot — and does not — show that cardiovascular disease is caused by drinking sugar-sweetened beverages. Heart diseases are a complex set of problems with no single cause and no simple solution. Neither the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute nor the American Heart Association list sugar consumption as a risk factor for heart disease. While many risk factors are beyond our control, there are things we can do — including not smoking, maintaining an appropriate body weight and being physically active — to help mitigate risk for heart disease.
TIM WILKIN, St. Paul
The writer is president of the Minnesota Beverage Association.
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