Exercise for Your Health, But Cut Sugar to Fight Obesity

candyFor decades we’ve been told how important it is to exercise if we want to lose weight—but we may not be getting the whole story. While staying active plays an important role in disease prevention and overall health, it turns out it is not the main factor in the fight against obesity. That title is reserved for sugar, according to a new report.

The report, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, points out that sugar and carbohydrates are the biggest culprits contributing to the sharp rise in obesity among Americans and those in similarly developed countries—and that even vigorous exercise will not offset the consequences of a high-sugar diet.

To make their case, researchers called attention to the fact that while obesity rates have skyrocketed in the last 30 years, our physical activity levels have remained pretty much the same. In other words, we’re not doing anything drastically different, but we’re still getting heavier. What has changed, however, is our diet—mainly the overload of sugar-laden processed foods introduced in the last few decades. The excess sugar and carbs pose a bigger risk than alcohol, tobacco use, and a lack of exercise combined, says the report.

Study authors spotlight the need to do a better job of educating consumers about the dangers of a high-sugar diet and, if possible, eliminating the perception that we can eat whatever we want as long as we exercise enough. Once again, we are reminded that the quality of the calories we eat is just as important—if not more so—than the quantity.

The bottom line is this: the body does not need nearly as much sugar as it gets from the Standard American Diet. Still, Americans consume at least 37 teaspoons of sugar daily (including the hidden sugars from starchy carbohydrates), which studies show can alter the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut and actually cause us to hold on to excess weight. By breaking free of our sugar addiction, we may be able to turn the tables on obesity and move toward a healthier future.

No tags

Natural Ingredient in Black Tea May Help with Type 2 Diabetes

loose_teaResearch tells us that a healthy diet plays an important role in diabetes prevention and management. Indeed, what we eat and drink may impact the way our bodies control the digestion of carbohydrates, which in turn affects the way we process blood sugar, or glucose. Recently, several studies have looked at black tea as a possible ally.

Building upon an earlier study from Japan, scientists in the United States recently conducted a study using black tea extract to determine whether or not the natural chemicals in the tea may help prevent type 2 diabetes—a chronic condition that affects how the body metabolizes glucose and maintains healthy blood sugar levels.

The body uses certain digestive enzymes to break down carbohydrates and form glucose, and in both studies researchers were able to determine that the antioxidant chemicals called polyphenols that are found in black tea actually slowed down that process and lessened glucose formation. Previous studies have found similar effects with green tea, which typically has a higher level of polyphenols and less caffeine than black tea.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It currently affects nearly 30 million Americans every day, but key factors such as diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight are critical to preventing or delaying its onset. Experts agree that drinking tea regularly may benefit those with type 2 diabetes by helping the body manage glucose levels more efficiently.

No tags