Currently viewing the tag: "Sugar"


Pile of Refined SugarExtra, extra…! Sugar found to be deadly to people with heart disease. So says a recent study published in the latest JAMA Internal Medicine (published online February 03, 2014). Not only are most Americans consuming more than the safest amounts of daily sugar, but 1 in 10 are taking in twenty five percent or more of their daily calories from the sweet stuff. And the results showed that those people taking in the most sugar have an increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The study, a prospective cohort of a nationally representative sample of US adults taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of 1998-2010, looked at the diets of more than 30,000 American adults aged 44 on average, and did fifteen years of follow up to analyze death risk as it related to sugar and CVD. The results, according to Lead author Quanhe Yang of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, were “sobering”.

Study participants were divided into five groups according to sugar intake, from less than 10 percent of daily calories—the safest amount—to more than 25%. As sugar intake increased so did the risk of dying from heart disease, and it did so significantly.

Cocaine sugar drugs heart diseasePeople getting more than 25% of their daily calories from sugar had a nearly three times increased risk of dying from CVD when compared to people getting the least amount.

For those who got more than 15%—equivalent to about two cans of soda out of 2,000 calories daily—the risk was almost 20% higher than the safest level. If you don’t know, a 12-ounce can of non-diet soda contains about 9 teaspoons of sugar or about 140 calories. US government dietary guidelines issued in 2010 say “empty” calories including those from added sugars should account for no more than 15% of total daily calories. Despite this, there is no universal consensus on how much sugar is too much.

Researchers focused on sugar added to processed foods or drinks, or sprinkled in coffee or cereal. Many “regular” foods have added sugar, including many brands of packaged bread, tomato sauce and salad dressing. Naturally occurring sugar, in fruit and some other foods, wasn’t counted.

“Too much sugar does not just make us fat; it can also make us sick,” said Laura Schmidt, a health policy specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. And says Dr. Jonathan Purnell, a professor at Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cardiovascular Institute, that while the research doesn’t prove “sugar can cause you to die of a heart attack”, it adds to a growing body of circumstantial evidence suggesting that limiting sugar intake can lead to healthier, longer lives.

sugar damageYes I will step out on limb here and say that sugar might be one of if not the major factor in the high incidence of CVD in western society. Heart disease has risen right along with the prevalence of adding sugar to everything from snacks to “staples,” and my observation in doctor school was that, along with tobacco and alcohol, sugar led to the greatest damage to human physiology. Not just heart disease, but diabetes, vascular disease, liver damage, ocular disease, kidney disease…and the list goes on and on.

We have been chasing one dead end after another when it comes to causes of heart disease, including the current favorite: elevated cholesterol. But despite a few modest improvements, heart disease remains the number one killer in the US. Well can we please start looking a little harder at sugar now, then? Duh—even with regard to the obesity epidemic, sugar is not taken as seriously as some other far reaching theories like genetics and hormones. C’mon

drugs cocaine

Drugs cocaine and sugar equally hard to kick

Listen, many of us that think about health regularly have suspected sugar as major detriment to health for a long time. I can tell you from my own experience that significantly reducing sugar from my diet (I’m not 100%)—which I did almost five years ago—was harder than quitting smoking or drugs/alcohol. The stuff is mega-addictive! Processed foods with massive amounts of hidden sugar are some of the most popular dishes in America, so it isn’t too hard to see why most are getting unhealthy amounts of sugar in their daily intake (the average American consumes forty four pounds of sugar per year).

And don’t think cold hard cash isn’t a factor in our delayed approach to looking at sugar, either. The sugar cartel is huge and powerful. You don’t get embedded into the world food supply at random. So really no surprises there…but really you don’t have to be another casualty. If you didn’t know before, you do now—sugar is a killer. Give it up today (or mostly, like me), and I can almost guarantee that by tomorrow (okay maybe over the next few months) you won’t miss it at all.

One of the biggest messages I try to put forth in this blog is that human beings are amazing self-healing, self-regulating life forms.  We operate under the laws of the universe, and as such, by obeying some very fundamental principles regarding life, our ability to experience great physical health and well-being is magnified.  It doesn’t matter whether you have any particular genetic, anatomic or physiologic disposition–you can experience great health, as well as a fulfilling life, by observing basic principles.

This is as true for the “normal” individual as it is for the ADD-labeled person.  Whenever somebody comes to me with this or that problem, my first investigation as a doctor is to find out if they are observing the basics.  So that’s what I want to finish off with regarding ADD.  It’s of mega-importance that your ADD-labeled child is practicing the healthiest lifestyle possible.  But take note, and do not mistake this very crucial point: What I discuss here is NOT a treatment regimen for ADD.  I do NOT believe that an attention deficit is a disorder, therefore nothing needs treating, especially as we would think in a mechanistic sense.  Instead, what I put forth here will allow any child to thrive physically and mentally, because these are fundamental health principles.

There are no absolutes when it comes to health.  No one practice is more important than another–let’s just get that straight right from the beginning.  Instead, health is like a puzzle, and each practice is a piece to that puzzle.  I will for brevity’s sake only touch upon each puzzle piece.  If you want more, then I highly recommend reading my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health.  In it you will find most of these points discussed in full detail, along with tips on how to best implement and maximize each practice.

First and foremost is diet and nutrition.  It should go without saying that good nutrition is paramount to a healthy functioning body, but I wonder sometimes.  Too many parents feed their children foods that are, well…suspect.  Here is a basic: foods should be whole and natural.  I’m not saying organic or hormone free or anything like that.  If that’s what you prefer, awesome!  But what I mean is “not processed”.  Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats and dairy, wholesome grains, minimal sugar, minimal fast food (or none at all, like my kids), and definitely, with no exception: NO SODA!

Soda consumption should be the biggest no-no for an ADD-labeled child.  No, I don’t think soda causes ADD.  Soda is garbage for anybody, and that much sugar consistently cannot be conducive to mental sharpness.  Sad fact is that many parents will have to kick their own liquid garbage habit, too, if they want to keep their kids off it.

Next is exercise*.  Kids need to spend time playing and moving!  Period.  It is a standard recommendation for ADD-labeled kids to exercise often, and I couldn’t agree more.  Get your kids moving everyday–that’s what our bodies (and all life forms) are meant to do.  Don’t try operating outside of universal laws and then also expect good health. *Check out this interesting article on children, exercise balls, and focus.

Next, bodywork.  If you haven’t taken your ADD-labeled child to see a chiropractor, then you are doing them a great disservice.  Subluxations (misaligned and stuck vertebrae) are extremely disruptive to the nervous system and the mind.  I have seen hundreds of children go into a state of ease and calm following a chiropractic adjustment.  Time to learn more about chiropractic and give it a try if your knowledge and experience are limited.

**Throughout these posts, a regular reader and friend, has been kind enough to share her understanding and insight of primitive movement patterns and neurological development.  I am so fascinated and intrigued by this field of study that I intend to investigate it further.  She swears by its benefits, and I respect her knowledge and judgment.  I will keep you informed as I learn more.  Thank you K.O.

Sleep is next.  But we could just as well call this rest and recuperation.  If your child is not sleeping properly, then they are aging faster and breaking down more quickly.  Sleep is essential to life.  Many metabolic and regenerative processes occur while we sleep.

And don’t discount dreaming.  Although we still understand little about this ubiquitous function, I believe it has an important role in our mental brain states (no, I do not think dreams are symbolic).

If your ADD-labeled child is on Ritalin, then I would expect his or her sleep to be disrupted, particularly deep and REM sleep.  Think about that–it’s just another way that these dangerous drugs can hurt your child.  If they are also hopped-up on soda…(sigh) heaven help them.

Next is minimizing toxins.  Lot’s of things are toxins, but the ones I find most prevalent and damaging are…drum roll pleaseprescription and over-the-counter drugs.  Nothing wrong these meds periodically when needed, but as a society, Americans are way too over-medicated.  Just look at the Ritalin numbers: 90% consumed in the U.S.  Sad.

Finally is the mental health.  When it comes to your ADD-labeled child, they want what every child (and every person, for that matter) wants–love and acceptance for who they are.  So, again, help them find what they love–they know what it is, because they do it all the time.

Be it sports, be it music, be it socializing, be it fashion–find it, nurture it, and help them be inspired by it.  Pressuring your kid–directly or passively–is not going to help.  When a child senses that you are worried, frustrated, or disappointed, they know it; and trust me this only will add to their stress and inability to perform.  Let them know you love, honor and support them in whatever they love doing, and they will reward you by excelling.  No, they may never excel in school, but plenty of people live amazing lives that were not the result of traditional schooling.

There you have it–like pieces to a puzzle.  Each one important, but neither more-so than any of the others.  In fact, they work synergistically, but I’ll leave that topic for you to read in my book.

Once again, I sincerely hope I’ve helped people facing some tough decisions regarding their own ADD-labeled child.  If I can have helped you see your beautifully unique and gifted genius in a new light, then I am pleased.  If I’ve influenced you to reject the dangerous chemical poisons that the ADD establishment wants to numb your child on, then I am honored.  If I’ve given you some ideas on how to inspire your child to be all that they can be, then I am utterly grateful that I could contribute.

Thank you for reading.

Too many kids are having to be treated for chronic constipation.  Gastroenterologists at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center report a 30% rise in these cases from 2008-2009, leading the center to open a new clinic to provide medical and behavioral therapy for children with the condition.

Constipation in children can be from poor diet and lack of activity, but the most likely cause, particularly as it relates to the current increases, is drinking too little water.  As I have pointed out previously in this blog, proper water intake is important for a multitude of metabolic processes, one being digestion and elimination.  Remember, the human body is highly intelligent; provide it with insufficient material and it will shunt what it needs, taking from one area to give to another.  Take in too little water and watch your body steal from your colon to give to other, more vital, regions.

Why are children not drinking enough water?  Gotta ask the parents.  But one thing I know for sure, being one of the most soda-consuming nations, the U.S. has plenty of children who get their fluids from liquid sugar.  Oh well.  Gotta wise up, folks; there’s always a price to pay.  Drink soda, your kid will drink soda.  Your kid drinks soda, he or she will probably bypass drinking water.  Bypass drinking water, say hello to constipation.  Cause, effect.  Your choice.

Signs of constipation in children is very often missed by parents, and it can lead to a severe or chronic case.  Things to look for are abdominal bloating and a feeling of fullness; straining with bowel movements; lumpy or hard stools and/or small pellet-like stools, accompanied by a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bowels.  Children with serious constipation may also refuse to go to the toilet for fear it will hurt; they may hide to go in a private place, or experience underwear soiling and bedwetting.  Knowing these signs can help you figure out if your child is suffering.

Finally, make sure your kid is drinking plenty of water.  Dump the soda (for yourself, too) and make water your drink of choice.  Or deal with chronic constipation if that’s what you’d prefer.


The title of this post may seem obvious, but an interesting study has just been published showing that people will choose healthy foods over junk food if the price of the junk is higher. This study shows strong evidence that a junk food tax might help improve overall health, while lowering the obesity epidemic in this country.

The research conducted at the University of Buffalo in New York gave 42 mothers just over $22.00 to spend at a “supermarket” set up in a room at the university and stocked with images of everything from bananas to whole wheat bread to cola drinks and cookies. They were told to imagine that they had no food in the house and they were going to do the shopping for the week to feed the family. They were given the choices of 30 healthy foods, which included healthy beverages, and 30 junk foods, including sodas and other sugary drinks.

The women went shopping five times, the first round having prices on par with what they currently are at local supermarkets. Two times the prices of healthy foods were lowered, and two times the prices of the junk foods were increased. The interesting results were that hiking the prices of junk foods, like what would occur from a so-called “sin tax,” was more effective in lowering overall calories purchased than lowering the prices of healthy foods. Hmmm…you don’t say.

Even more interesting is that lowering the price of healthy foods merely increased the overall calories the women purchased. Wow!

I love this study! First off, although I am a huge proponent of self-responsibility particularly as it relates to health, I do believe that taxing unhealthy behaviors is appropriate. As much as I believe in the live and let live philosophy, in today’s economic and health care environments, peoples’ poor health choices are being paid for by us all. So I think if you want to smoke, smoke, but you’ve got to pay more; want to live off Susie Qs, pay up; boozer for life, no problem, just pay your share. Now obviously, the only way this type of tax would mean anything is if the money would be used to offset health costs. I’ll leave that to policy makers.

But back to the study: Making healthy foods cheaper didn’t lead people to make better choices, they still went for more. In fact, when they saved on broccoli, yogurt, fish and eggs, they just took the savings and bought cookies and chips. Duh!!! So lower food prices obviously are not the answer, not from a health perspective anyway.

“It appears that mothers took the money they saved on subsidized fruits and vegetables and treated the family to less healthy alternatives, such as chips and soda pop,” the authors of the study said.

But raising the price of the crap actually led mothers to choose healthy foods–a sad statement on human psychology, but an awesome perspective on the power of economics. In the experiment, taxing junk foods by 10% resulted in the shoppers buying 14.4% less high-fat and sugary foods and drinks. That meant their week’s shopping contained 6.5% fewer calories, the study said.

Well what can I say? When it comes to making health choices surrounding food, Americans are severely addicted to junk, and in my estimation, sugar in particular. Only continuous education (what I’m trying to do here) is going to change that. But a sin tax is certainly a way to combat obesity, particularly childhood obesity which is rising rapidly. And it can also help subsidize health care costs. With a culture so dependent on sugary junk food, we’re going to need every penny we can get.

Thems conductin’ um toof study up in ‘em Appalachian mountains: See how many Mountain Dews it takes to lose a tooth. Awesome.Caught the latest 20/20 segment on the A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains about the kids in Central Appalachia. Mountain Dew is the drink of choice in them thar hills, so much so that dentists in the area have coined a term Mountain Dew mouth. MD mouth describes the rotten teeth that owe their condition to the sweet corrosion of excessive sugar and acid contained in each can of Dew. As teeth dissolve away, poor people in the region often have to extract their own dents using wire; the region has been rated #1 in toothlessness–not a distinction to be proud of. The addiction to Dew is so bad that mothers have been known to put MD in their babies bottles, and it is not uncommon for children to have more than ten cavities in their baby teeth.

We may as well pay close attention to this news here in the flat lands, as soda consumption among city slickers is astronomical. Yes, Mountain Dew is higher in sugar than regular sodas (19 tsp. sugar to the typical 10); and it causes 2-5x more corrosion from its high acidity. But this doesn’t make Coke and Pepsi benign. On the contrary, all soda is garbage; so let’s not lose the lesson hidden in the Appalachian soda experiment. If you are pounding the liquid sugar every day, or worse, several times a day, then get ready for them dentures, sonny, ‘cuz you’re jacking up your teefasis a’plenty.

Watch the vid on Mountain Dew mouth and get grossed out.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Nick Campos - All Rights Reserved. Web Services by David Cosgrove Los Angeles Web Design