Last week “Which?” reported on ready meals and sugar content. It found that some ready meals contained almost double the sugar content of a standard Dairy Milk bar of chocolate. Of the 17 ready meals, which were fully analysed, the worst examples were Sainsbury’s ‘Sweet and Sour Chicken and Rice’, which contained 50.7g of sugar in a total of 450g and “Tesco’s ‘Everyday Value Sweet & Sour Chicken and Rice, which contained 48.8g in 400g. Tesco’s ‘Thai Chicken Pad Thai with Rice Noodles’ contains 37.8g of sugar, which is more than a can of CocaCola (35g). All meals examined showed sugar as the third and fourth largest ingredient. Please do not overlook the sugar content in breakfast cereals, which are put forward as healthy options to start the day. In the early days “Apple Jacks” were advertised by showing a boy, who was feeble and bullied, until he ate the allegedly apple based product, in which the largest ingredient was sugar (“Salt, Sugar, Fat”, page 88). Much more
Dr Walter Willett, chair of Harvard’s Department of Nutrition, said, “The transition of food to being an industrial product really has a fundamental problem. First, the actual processing has stripped away the nutritional value of the food. Most of the grains have been converted to starches. We have sugar in concentrated form, and many of the fats have been concentrated and then, worst of all, hydrogenated, which creates trans-fatty acids with adverse effects on health.” (“Salt, Sugar, Fat” xvii).
As set out in previous blogs sugar (and most artificial sweeteners even worse) is very harmful, both in triggering oxidation of cholesterol in the arteries and in causing obesity, which itself increases blood pressure and oxidation. In 2009 research by Robert Margolskee, a molecular biologist, showed that when the receptors in the tongue are triggered by a sweet taste (endocannabinoids). Endocannabinoids are related to THC, which is found in marijuana. Not surprisingly Michael Tordoff experimenting on rats found that sugar increases appetite, rather than sating it. The power of sugar over the brain is well described (ibid, page 14): Sugar/sweeteners “…‘set off a series of cain reactions inside the cell. So that the taste receptor cell talks to its friends in the taste bud. There is a lot of microprocessing of that signal, and then eventually it decides that what is in your mouth is sweet, and it squirts out neurotransmitters onto the nerve, which then goes to the brain.’ …‘There is a very orderly progress of pathways that people are just now starting to learn,’ she [Dr Danielle Reed] said. ‘It stops at the first relay station and moves forward and forward and it eventually ends up in the pleasure centres, like the orbital front cortex of the brain, and that’s when you have the experience, Ahh, sweet.’….We don’t even have to eat sugar to feel its allure. Pizza will do, or any other refined starch, which the body converts to sugar – starting right in the mouth with the enzyme called amylase. ‘The faster the starch becomes sugar, the quicker our brain gets the reward for it.’”
Sugar can do you real harm, especially by oxidizing LDL cholesterol in the arteries (cut out the bad sugar, not the good cholesterol). Sugar has a power over the brain to create cravings. Sugar both increases appetite and to increase the storage of fat in the body. It is not surprising that sugar/sweeteners are called ‘the new tobacco’.
Cut out sugar, processed foods and heated oils from your diet, but the positive thing is to take an L-arginine supplement. Professor John P. Cooke, writes, “Since 1992, our studies showing that L-arginine slows plaque growth have been confirmed multiple times by laboratories around the world. These studies suggested that if we maintain the health of the endothelium, the production of NO, we are protected from coronorary disease.
“NO melts away or shrinks plaque that is already there. Using animal models, we also found that L-arginine could get rid of, or shrink plaque that had already built up in the vessels. L-arginine actually had the ability to melt away plaque. This occurred when L-arginine was taken up in the vessels that had been damaged by plaque. The cells in the damaged vessel were able to use the L-arginine to produce more NO. This increase in NO production not only prevented more white cells from coming in, it also caused the white cells in the vessel wall to die and fase away – it was this dying and fading away that melted the plaque. This s also a striking discovery, suggesting that increasing vascular NO production could prevent atherosclerosis and reverse the disease in people who already had it.”