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Killing Cancer With Sugar And Magnets?

An international team of collaborators from a number of academic institutions and a couple pharmaceutical firms has been working with researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to study how special sugar coated iron oxide nanoparticles interact with each other to destroy cancer cells under laboratory conditions. The 100 nanometer wide particles, which are attracted by tumor cells, are particularly prone to magnetically induced heating.
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*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Sugar, Sugar Everywhere…

I was reading a very interesting study in this month’s issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association the other day. The study was on sugar consumption and looked at different populations in the US and compared on average how much sugar they ate.

The first statistic that shocked me was that the average intake of added sugar is 17% of our daily calories per day. This is added sugar, meaning it doesn’t count the sugar found naturally in fruit and milk, but rather just the sugars added to the foods we consume. 17% of our calories?!?!? That is a lot, in my opinion. It is not a secret that I have a sweet tooth especially when it comes to chocolate, but the sweets do not add up to almost 20% of my calories for the day!

The study broke down race/ethnicity, education, and income to see how these factors influenced how much sugar they ate. Check out some of the findings:

  • As education level and family income increased, sugar intake was lower
  • Asian Americans then Hispanics had the lowest intakes
  • Black men were highest among men

Trying to identify added sugars? Look for these terms:

  • brown sugar
  • corn sweetener
  • corn syrup
  • dextrose
  • fructose
  • fruit juice concentrates
  • glucose
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • honey
  • invert sugar
  • lactose
  • maltose
  • malt syrup
  • molasses
  • raw sugar
  • sucrose
  • sugar
  • syrup

Common foods with added sugars:

  • regular soft drinks
  • candy
  • cakes
  • cookies
  • pies
  • fruit drinks, such as fruitades and fruit punch
  • milk-based desserts and products, such as ice cream, sweetened yogurt and sweetened milk
  • grain products such as sweet rolls and cinnamon toast

This post, Sugar, Sugar Everywhere…, was originally published on by Brian Westphal.

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Worse Than Sugar?

Have you noticed that many products on grocery shelves are bragging that they do not have high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)? HFCS has been demonized by many people in the public as well as the medical community in recent years. But how much different is it from just plain old sugar? The answer is up for debate, but I will do my best to present the facts.

HFCS has been used for many years, but the use really became much more common in the 1980’s. Food companies use it because it makes a desirable end product and is fairly cheap. HFCS comes from corn and is refined to get the sweet taste into a syrup. But is it worse than sugar?

Many experts believe it is no different than sugar. Both are high in calories and are considered “empty” calories, meaning they don’t have vitamins, minerals, or other healthy nutrients in significant quantities.

The American Medical Association and other scientists have agreed that both sugar and HFCS both contribute to risks of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses if eaten in large quantities. In other words, there is no proof to date that HFCS is more harmful than sugar.

So why are so many companies eliminating HFCS? It is all consumer perception. Consumers have heard that HFCS bad so companies are spending time and money eliminating it from it’s products? What are they using instead? Sugar.

Is HFCS natural? The Corn Refiners Association says that HFCS is natural. The FDA does not define the term “natural” so we really have no way of seeing whether something is natural on a food label. Food companies can use this word without repercussion from the FDA since they have not defined it.

For more information on HFCS, check out

This post, Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Worse Than Sugar?, was originally published on by Brian Westphal.

Is Corn Syrup Evil?

Photo of FDA

Several people have asked me if corn syrup is the root of all evil. This cheap, high calorie sweetener is adding hidden calories to everything from spaghetti sauce to condiments to peanut butter. But is it actually worse for you than “regular” cane sugar? Is there something special about corn syrup that makes it worthy of national vilification?

The truth is that corn syrup isn’t any “worse” than any other highly refined sugar – there’s nothing special about corn that makes it harmful to consume (unless maybe if you’re allergic to corn, but that’s another story). The real issue is that we humans love sweet things, and that food product manufacturers are simply adding sweetener to their products to cater to our taste buds. In so doing, hidden calories add up… and waist lines expand in response.

Folks with diabetes understand how difficult it is to find unsweetened products these days, and they have to work extra hard to avoid the high fructose corn syrup in so many foods. For those of us who don’t have diabetes (yet?) we’d probably do well to follow their example and consciously cut down on our sugar intake if not to manage our insulin levels, but at least to avoid unnecessary calorie consumption.

I myself am a bit of a sugar addict by nature – I resolved to cut down on carbs a few months ago and have dropped 10 pounds already. I have learned to like unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened organic ketchup, and I make my own sauces and avoid refined flour products.

In my next post I’ll speak with Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, Penn State University about what she learned at the recent American Dietetic Association Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Chicago. She’ll explain why all the fear mongering about corn is a bit exaggerated.

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