Top 5 things we didn't know we should be afraid of - part I

April 24, 2012 | by Suzy Badaracco
Top 5 things we didn't know we should be afraid of - part I

They stared at each other, not with indifference but one with caution, the other with interest. "Teddy, get over here" Lily hissed. Teddy came across the bridge still munching hay, "What ... oh yes, I see."

They stared at her and she stared right back. "They call it 'cat'... I don't like how she looks at us." Just then, a mini stampede began in the cage above and new voices joined the conversation. "Oh, look how pretty... and those eyes! Do I have eyes like that Frankie?" Charlie looked to her older sister for validation. "Well, though you do have pretty eyes, I don't think they are quite the same." Frankie was more interested in their new friend's intentions. "I think she looks sweet, maybe she wants some hay." Frankie concluded.

Teddy and Lily looked at each other and Lily shrugged, "Ah, baby guinea pigs, no idea of the perils of the outside world." And with that her and Teddy waddled behind their tarp and laid down for a nap.


The Hype:

HFCS is worse than sugar for obesity/health.


  • All types of sugar, including both high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sucrose contain 4 calories per gram.
  • Mintel found only 3 percent of respondents indicated they were looking to avoid HFCS while 25 percent of consumers said they were trying to avoid "sugar or added sugar;"
  • Beverages containing high-fructose corn syrup lead to a higher blood level of fructose than those that contain sucrose or regular sugar, researchers from the University of Colorado and University of Florida reported. The study also found that drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup cause a higher uric acid level and a 3 mm Hg greater increase in systolic blood pressure. They found that the makeup of the sugars resulted in differences in how much fructose was absorbed into the circulation. Sucrose is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose that is bonded together as a disaccharide (complex carbohydrate) and HFCS is a mixture of free fructose (55 percent) and free glucose (45 percent);
  • According to research from Orlando Regional Healthcare, consuming fructose from added sugars, whether from table sugar or high fructose corn syrup, at levels in the average American diet does not lead to weight gain or an increased risk for heart disease when part of a weight-stable diet. There were no changes in total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, and HDL cholesterol.
  • Research from Rippe Lifestyle Institute and the University of Central Florida shows that individuals who consumed normal levels of fructose have seen no adverse effects on their weight or triglycerides. They found no evidence of any significant variation in the way the human body metabolizes HFCS as opposed to standard table sugar, or any difference in impact on risk factors for chronic disease.


The Hype:

Gluten-free diet seen as "more healthful" or as a weight loss solution by consumers who have no actual medical need for the diet.


  • A 2006 study from the American Journal of Gastroenterology by William Dickey, MD followed 188 people with celiac disease on a gluten-free diet for 2 years and discovered that 81 percent of them gained weight;
  • Celiac disease may have little influence on the inflated gluten free market according to research by Packaged Facts. It found that 46 percent of consumers are buying gluten-free foods and beverages because they believed that they are 'generally healthier'. Some 30 percent of gluten-free consumers said they use it to manage their weight and 22 percent said they thought gluten-free products were 'generally higher quality'. Only 8 to 12 percent of gluten-free consumers said they bought gluten-free products because they or a member of their household has celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten, wheat or other ingredients. And 13 percent buy gluten-free foods to treat other conditions.
  • Hartman examined their survey results and reported nearly 50 percent of responses stated that purchases were not motivated by medical need, rather that the product in question just happened to be gluten free. The gluten-free marketplace will see growth in the near term, in the long term however, gluten free will be more like a fad diet, such as low carb, and doesn't represent a lasting trend.
  • A question fielded by the FDA was "is there a nutritional advantage to eat gluten-free if you do not have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity? According to the FDA - no there is not.

*To be continued in "Top 5 things we didn't know we should be afraid of – part II"

Topics: Food & Beverage, Food Safety, Health & Nutrition, Trends / Statistics

Suzy Badaracco
Suzy Badaracco is a toxicologist, chef, and registered dietitian. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Criminalistics, an Associates degree in Culinary Arts, and a Masters of Science degree in Human Nutrition. wwwView Suzy Badaracco's profile on LinkedIn

Sponsored Links:

Related Content

Latest Content

Get the latest news & insights





Commodities: Somebody must have hit replay ... but no complaints