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Life Arts    H4'ed 2/1/10

Selling Sickness, Fast Food in Hospitals

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Peter Cram reported in JAMA that forty per cent of hospitals have fast food in the lobby. While you might consider this an outrage, the hospital probably considers it business as usual. Your hospital banned cigarette smoking long ago, yet still sends the message that fast food is healthy for you. In reality, fast food causes chronic disease, and a future source of new revenue for the hospital. For the hospital accounting department, this may not be a bad thing. Financial consideration, rather than the health of the community, is the over-riding factor. Untrained in medical nutrition, hospital accountants may not understand that fast food causes obesity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistant diabetes, hypertension and accelerated cardiovascular disease.

Fast Food Causes Chronic Disease

Michael Pollen, a journalist and author of "In Defense of Food", and "Food Rules" says in a New York Times Editorial that fast food causes chronic disease, and "there's lots of money to be made selling fast food, and then treating the diseases that fast food causes. One of the leading products of the American food industry has become patients for the American health care industry".

Fast Food, Obesity and Chronic Disease

- What is the Evidence ?

You might ask, what is the evidence that fast food causes obesity and chronic disease? For starters. a 2004 study published in Lancet found that eating at a Fast Food restaurant causes weight gain and insulin resistance. The authors say,"fast foods contain large amounts of partially hydrogenated oils, and this class of fatty acids can cause insulin resistance and increase risk of type 2 diabetes. Fast food also contains large amounts of highly refined starchy food and added sugar, carbohydrates that have been characterized as high in glycemic index. Consumption of a high glycemic index or high glycaemic load diet has been linked to risk for diabetes, independent of bodyweight changes..."

Health Risks of Sugar Consumption - HFCS

Ignoring for the moment the hydrogenated vegetable oils in fast food which are an enormous health risk, let's focus on the sweeteners, the high fructose corn syrup used in fast food and soft drinks. The evidence linking massive amounts of sugar consumption to chronic disease is overwhelming.

Sugar Consumption is 70 pounds per year per person

High Fructose Corn Syrup is the preferred sweetener, refined from government subsidized corn and used for processed foods. HFCS is cheaper and sweeter than regular table sugar (sucrose), and it prolongs shelf life. High Fructose corn syrup is a 4.5 BILLION dollar industry, with our annual sugar consumption at 73.5 lbs per person. Now, thats a lot of sugar!

Refined Sugar - Sucrose - is an Addictive Drug

Some scientists say that refined table sugar (sucrose) is not food, and should be reclassified as a drug capable of producing craving, withdrawal effects and addiction. A 2002 Princeton study showed addictive behaviors in rats given intermittent high sugar intake. A 2008 report in NeuroScience examines the evidence for addiction associated with intermittent excess sugar intake.

The scientific evidence of sugar addiction is summarized nicely by Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D., author of The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program, and Potatoes Not Prozac. Her program, called Radiant Recovery, is dedicated to helping people overcome sugar addition.

HFCS- Comparing Fructose to Glucose

Chemically speaking, HFCS is a mixture of 55% fructose and 45% glucose, a ratio intended to mimic common table sugar, called sucrose. Sucrose is a simple molecule made of one fructose and one glucose molecule, so the corn industry can say that
sucrose and HFCS are the same stuff. Of course this is partially true, but there is a difference. Firstly, HFCS has 10% more fructose than table sugar. Secondly the fructose in HFCS is absorbed into the bloodstream more rapidly, since the body must first cleave apart sucrose with enzymatic digestion, after which, the liberated fructose can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Once absorbed, fructose and glucose are metabolized quite differently.

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Jeffrey Dach MD is a physician and author of three books, Natural Medicine 101, and Bioidentical Hormones 101, and Heart Book all available on Amazon, or as a free e-book on his web sites. Dr. Dach is founder and chief medical officer of (more...)

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