|The "Australian Paradox": Despite decreasing sugar consumption these two may soon be the only normal weight inhabitants of the Australian Continent.|
The "Australian Paradox" (Barclay. 2011), as Barclay and Brand-Miller labeled it, does yet raise the question in how far this hypothesis is accurate and whether or not fructose really is the main culprit, here. Other than in the US in Australia (as well as in the UK), the amount of fructose citizens consume from beverages and other sweetened prepared foodstuff declined over the years 1980-2003 by -16% (-5% in the UK). Nevertheless, Australia suffered from a similarly pronounced increase (~300%) in obesity rates as the US. Barclay and Brand-Miller summarize their results as follows:
Our findings do not support the widely held belief that reducing the consumption of refined sugars, and increasing the availability and preference for low-joule beverages, will help to reverse societal trends in obesity. Most recently, the American Heart Association stated that ― added sugars are an important factor in the obesity crisis and set strict guidelines for added sugar intake. Specifically the guidelines recommend that Americans should eat or drink no more than 5 teaspoons (25 g) of added sugar per day for most women and 9 teaspoons (45 g) per day for the majority of men.Warning against an overestimation of the contribution of fructose and/or simple sugars to an obesity crisis that costs US citizens roughly $147 billion a year, the authors state:
Clearly, overconsumption of energy relative to needs must be addressed to halt the obesity epidemic. However, a recent analysis of Australian children’s dietary intakes from 1995 to 2007 revealed a substantial decrease in sugar-sweetened beverage (halved as a percentage of energy) consumption over the past decade, but increased consumption in the proportion of energy from chocolate, cakes and cookies, pizza and packet chips. Furthermore, the 2007 National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey showed that sugar and sugary beverages were not predominant ―extra foods in the diets of Australian children. Therefore, the question of whether there is much to be gained by focusing public health policy on the removal of sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages remains. The concern is that potentially more important determinants of obesity are being overlooked by the current emphasis on sugars and soft drinks.As a faithful visitor of the SuppVersity you will recognize major motif of all my blogposts in the "overconsumption of energy relative to needs" or as Vince Andrich phrased it, lately - it's all about "working your sugar-bags (muscles) hard enough to earn your fair share of carb intake".
Other than fats and proteins, carbohydrates are at best "conditionally essential", meaning that as an elite athlete you may need them to maintain top performance. Yet, even then, they are nothing but FUEL and I guess you can imagine what happens if you tried to keep refueling a car that is parked on the sofa ... ahm... I meant in the garage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year... it won't take long for the tank to overflow (and this will happen no matter what kind of fuel you use). Remember that, when you down your next can of soda or annihilate a bag of "low fat" potato chips while watching TV.
A last world to all skinny fat, pasta-loving girls and oat-meal scuffing wanna be beef-cakes out there: Yes, the "good" starchy carbs are sugars, too. No, they are not essential and yes, they will make your gas tank overflow and your love handles grow, as well, if you did not earn your fair share of carb intake by "working your sugar-bags" ;-)