By Dr. Mercola
You’re probably well-familiarized with my controversial stance on fructose. Compelling evidence shows that fructose is, by far, more harmful to your health than other sugars—especially when it’s removed from whole fruits and highly processed and genetically modified, such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) found in most processed foods.
I’ve also, as a general rule, warned you of eating too much fruit, as many fruits can be quite high in fructose.
This has caused some confusion and consternation among many readers, as fruit has long been promoted as an important part of a healthy diet. That said, there are considerations to take into account when it comes to fruit consumption—some of which are dependent on your individual and specific circumstances.
I will seek to clarify some of these points here. I believe there’s more than compelling evidence supporting the concept that high-fructose diets are a primary factor that is responsible for most chronic disease; insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and obesity in those who eat a highly processed food diet..
I’ve long urged those struggling with these health issues, or who have hypertension, heart disease or cancer, to pay extra-careful attention to the fructose content of whole fruit in addition to other sources of fructose. Now, recent research indicates that some fruits may in fact be protective against type 2 diabetes.
Can You Reduce Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes with Your Fruit Choices?
According to a new analysis of three cohort studies, published in the British Medical Journal,1 whole fruits—particularly blueberries, grapes, prunes and apples—may in fact reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Conversely, consumption of fruit juices was associated with greater risk. According to senior author Qi Sun, an assistant professor in the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health:2
"While fruits are recommended as a measure for diabetes prevention, previous studies have found mixed results for total fruit consumption. Our findings provide novel evidence suggesting that certain fruits may be especially beneficial for lowering diabetes risk."
The researchers analyzed the dietary records of nearly 190,000 people who had participated in three studies from 1984 to 2008. None of the participants were diagnosed with diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer at the outset of the studies.
They found that those who ate blueberries, grapes and apples at least twice a week were up to 23 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, compared to those who ate these fruits once a month or less.
I find this quite surprising as, grapes and apples are particularly high in fructose (as you can see in the chart below). It’s unclear why the authors observed this benefit here but it’s likely that the phytonutrients found in the apples and grapes are more than compensate for any potential fructose toxicity.
Antioxidants and other phytonutrients combat inflammation, which is a hallmark of diabetes and most other chronic disease. Similarly, blueberries, which are much lower in fructose, have in other studies also been found to be of benefit for diabetics primarily due to their high antioxidant content.
One antioxidant in particular, called quercetin, could potentially help explain some of the results. Apples for example, while high in fructose, contains this flavonoid, which actually blocks some of the fructose metabolism according to expert Dr. Richard Johnson. If you haven't done so yet, I recommend viewing my "What Are Apples Good For?" information page for a listing of even more benefits of apples.
Red grapes, plums and many different berries, including blueberries. also contain quercetin. I have scheduled an interview with Dr. Johnson, in which we’ll delve into this at greater depth. So keep your eye out for that interview, which should be out before year end, if you want to learn more.
Don’t Be Fooled By Fruit Juices and Smoothies
In comparison, the featured study found that those who drank one or more servings of fruit juice each day had a 21 percent higher risk for type 2 diabetes compared to the others. This is a really important point, and I’ve often highlighted the potential harm of drinking fruit juices.
You’re simply getting FAR too much fructose, not to mention the rarely mentioned methanol toxicity in any preserved juice. Furthermore, while whole fruits do contain fructose, they’re also rich in fiber, antioxidants, and a vast array of health-promoting phytochemicals.
Fruit juices, especially not pasteurized, commercially-available fruit juices have virtually none of these phytonutrients. The fiber in the whole fruits also plays a large in protecting you from a rapid and exaggerated rise in blood sugar. The fiber slows the rate at which sugar is absorbed into your bloodstream.
This also applies to fruit smoothies, which are often touted as a convenient strategy to boost your fruit and veggie intake. Unfortunately, they too contain excessive amounts of fructose, and perhaps even added sugars on top of that. As reported by the Guardian:3
“In the UK, Coca-Cola owns Innocent Smoothies while PepsiCo has Tropicana. Launching Tropicana smoothies in 2008, Pepsi's sales pitch was that the drink would help the nation to reach its five a day fruit and vegetable target.
"Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to boost daily fruit intake as each 250ml portion contains the equivalent of two fruit portions," it said at the time.
However, Popkin [professor at the department of nutrition at the University of North Carolina] says the five a day advice needs to change. Drink vegetable juice, he says, but not fruit juice. "Think of eating one orange or two and getting filled," he said. "Now think of drinking a smoothie with six oranges and two hours later it does not affect how much you eat.
The entire literature shows that we feel full from drinking beverages like smoothies but it does not affect our overall food intake, whereas eating an orange does. So pulped-up smoothies do nothing good for us but do give us the same amount of sugar as four to six oranges or a large coke. It is deceiving."
Revisiting Fruit Consumption
I recently interviewed Dr. Brian Clement of the Hippocrates Institute, where they teach raw veganism. Interestingly enough, they also strongly advise most people avoid eating fruits. One of the primary reasons for their stand against fruits is because of the hybridization of fruits, which has made them up to 50 times sweeter than their ancient ancestors. Many fruits have been selectively and purposely bred for increased sweetness, which has also resulted in reduced phytochemical content. This hybridization and subsequent deterioration of healthful nutrition in whole foods was highlighted in a New York Times4 article published earlier this summer.
The dramatically increased fructose content of otherwise natural and “wholesome” fruits is the primary problem with high fruit consumption, and this is why I’m leery of very high-fruit diets.
Many of the most beneficial phytonutrients found in fruits actually have a bitter, sour or astringent taste, but to satisfy the palate, farmers have, throughout time, opted to selectively breed the sweetest varieties. Today, the “candification” of food is being taken to a whole new level, and if you’re stuck on the idea that all fruit is good for you, you may end up in a real metabolic pickle... For example, according to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times,5 one fruit breeder has created a type of grape called the Cotton Candy grape, which is absolutely bound to be just as problematic as any other junk food!
“Bite into one of these green globes and the taste triggers the unmistakable sensation of eating a puffy, pink ball of spun sugar,” the article states. “By marrying select traits across thousands of nameless trial grapes, Cain and other breeders have developed patented varieties that pack enough sugar they may as well be Skittles on the vine. That's no accident. "We're competing against candy bars and cookies," said Cain, 62, a former scientist at the US Department of Agriculture who now heads research at privately owned International Fruit Genetics in Bakersfield.”
In light of these issues, let me restate my recommendations on fruit and fructose consumption as simply as possible:
- If you’re insulin- or leptin resistant (are overweight, diabetic, hypertensive, or have high cholesterol), which includes about 80 percent of Americans, then it would be advisable for you to limit your fruit intake. As a general rule, I recommend limiting your fructose intake to a maximum of 15 grams of fructose per day from ALL sources, including whole fruit.
- If you are not insulin/leptin resistant, (are normal weight without diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol) and regularly engage in strenuous physical activity or manual labor, then higher fructose intake is unlikely to cause any health problems. In this case, you can probably eat more fruit without giving it much thought.
- However if you are in category two above you might benefit from a further refinement. Fruit will still increase your blood sugar and many experts believe this will increase your protein glycosylation. So my approach is to consume the fruit typically after a workout as your body will use the sugar as fuel rather than raise your blood sugar.
- Additionally ,if you’re an endurance athlete, you can probably get away with eating fairly large amounts of fruits, since your body will use most of the glucose during exercise, so it won’t be stored as fat. (That said, I still believe athletes would be well-advised to consider becoming fat adapted rather than relying on quick sugars. This is outside the scope of this article, however, so for more information, please see this previous article).
- If you’re still unsure of just how stringent you need to be, get your uric acid levels checked, and use that as a guide. I’ll review this in more detail in the section below.
Using Your Uric Acid Level as a Marker for Fructose Toxicity
I’ve previously interviewed Dr. Richard Johnson about his research into the health dangers of fructose, specifically how fructose causes high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, revealed in his excellent book, The Sugar Fix. He’s also the chief of the division of kidney disease and hypertension at the University of Colorado.
Dr. Johnson’s research suggests that your uric acid levels can be effectively used as a marker for fructose toxicity; meaning, an indicator of just how significant of an impact fructose has on your individual body and health. As such, it can help you gauge just how careful you need to be in your food selections.
According to the latest research in this area, the safest range of uric acid is between 3 and 5.5 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl), and there appears to be a steady relationship between uric acid levels and blood pressure and cardiovascular risk, even down to the range of 3 to 4 mg/dl. What this means is that if you have a level of 4 mg/dl for men and 3.5 mg/dl for women, you probably are at a very low risk for fructose toxicity and can be more liberal with the fructose limits given above. The higher your uric acid though, the more you need to limit, or even avoid, fructose until your uric acid level normalizes.
Using this biochemical marker, I came to realize that I am particularly sensitive to fructose, and that it’s best for me, personally, to keep my fructose consumption as low as possible. This is most likely due to genetics and would explain why most of my paternal relatives have, or have died from, diabetes. That side of the family is probably particularly sensitive to fructose. Dr. Johnson has developed a program to help people optimize their uric acid levels, and the key step in this program is complete elimination of fructose, until your levels are within the ideal range of 3-5.5 mg/dl.
Helpful Fructose Chart for Common Fruits
Again, most people will need to limit your fructose to 25 grams of fructose per day from all sources, or less, while endurance athletes could have more. The chart below is excerpted from Dr. Johnson’s book, The Sugar Fix, which contains more details on the fructose content of common foods. His latest book, The Fat Switch, also gives further details on HOW fructose impacts your body, contributing to excess weight and chronic health problems.
What About Fruit Juices?
One of the profound highlights revealed in the featured study was the dramatic difference in health outcome between eating whole fruits versus drinking fruit juice. It’s important to realize that fruit juice typically contains very high concentrations of fructose, which will cause your insulin to spike and may counter the benefits of the antioxidants.
Previous studies have already clearly demonstrated that drinking large amounts of fruit juice dramatically increases your risk of obesity. Children are at particular risk here, since so many children are given juice whenever they’re thirsty instead of plain water. For example, research has revealed that 3- and 4-year-olds who carry extra weight and drink just one to two sweet drinks a day double their risk of becoming seriously overweight just one year later.
Furthermore, when buying commercial fruit juice, you need to check the label, as the majority of fruit juices contain high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors in addition to concentrated fruit juice. That said, even freshly squeezed fruit juice can contain about eight full teaspoons of fructose per eight-ounce glass! So, as a general rule, it’s wise for most to severely restrict your consumption of fruit juice, especially if your uric acid is above the ideals recommended. Also, if you suffer from type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease or cancer, you’d be best off avoiding fruit juices altogether until you’ve normalized your uric acid and insulin levels.
Within Certain Limits, Fruit is OK for Most People
Going back to the issue of genetic variability, it seems that some people may be able to process fructose more efficiently, and the key to assess this susceptibility to fructose damage lies in evaluating your uric acid levels. I believe this is an ideal way for most people to personalize the recommendations on fructose intake.
Aside from that, I believe most will benefit from restricting their fructose to 25 grams a day; and as little as 15 grams a day if you’re diabetic or have chronic health issues. This includes fructose from whole fruits. So I’m not advocating fruit avoidance for everyone; I’m simply placing fruit in the category of a fructose-rich food that needs to be included when you’re calculating your fructose intake.
If you choose low-fructose fruits, such as blueberries, you can eat more of it than if you choose a fruit high in fructose. Other low-fructose fruits include fresh apricots, lemons, limes, passion fruit, plums and raspberries. Also remember that avocado is actually a fruit too. It’s very low in fructose, and high in healthful fat, making it an excellent choice. Endurance athletes and others who engage in strenuous activities and who are neither overweight nor have chronic health issues probably do not need to concern themselves too much with their fruit consumption however.
Surprising Health Hazards Associated with All-Fruit Diet
Fructose Watch: The 9 Healthiest Fruits You Can Eat
Total Video Length: 56:40
By Dr. Mercola
In the documentary Fast Food Baby, you can follow three families on a quest to change the way their children eat.
Each case is unique – a young single mom who doesn’t want to cook, a healthy-eating couple who gives in to their toddler’s junk-food demands, and a family of five resorting to carry-out over home-cooked meals far too often.
But in the end, the results are the same: kids consuming far too much sugar, unhealthy fats and additives from a poor diet that’s already manifesting into health problems ranging from anemia and tooth decay to hyperactivity, all before the age of 5.
What Happens When Kids Eat a Fast-Food Diet?
Nutrients from quality foods are critical in helping your child reach his or her fullest potential. Unfortunately, many kids are not getting the nutrients they need, including in the US where:1
- Nearly 40% of children's diets come from added sugars and unhealthy fats
- Only 21% of youth age 6-19 eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day
This is a veritable recipe for disease, and is a primary reason why many of today's kids are arguably less healthy now than most all previous generations. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and even liver disease -- these are diseases that once appeared only in middle-age and beyond, but are now impacting children.
Mental health is also at stake. One study from British researchers revealed that kids who ate a predominantly processed food diet at age 3 had lower IQ scores at age 8.5.2 For each measured increase in processed foods, participants had a 1.67-point decrease in IQ.
Along with the potential for lowered IQ, a junk-food diet can also set the stage for asthma, eczema, and a variety of allergies, inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases.
In fact, most of the leading diseases plaguing the US are diet-related, including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer. The National Institutes of Health even states that four of the six leading causes of death in the US are linked to unhealthy diets.
Nutritional deficiencies in your child's first years of life can even lead to deficits in brain function that put them at risk of behavioral problems -- from hyperactivity to aggression -- that can last into the teenage years and beyond. This is why the importance of proper nutrition simply cannot be overstated.
Your Child's Taste Preferences Are Largely Formed by the Age of 3
The best time to shape your kids' eating habits is while they're still young, as kids learn very quickly to prefer certain tastes and textures. When parents fed their preschool-aged children junk foods high in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats, it had a lasting impact on their taste preferences in one study.3 All of the children tested showed preferences for junk foods, and all (even those who were just 3 years old!) were also able to recognize some soda, fast-food and junk-food brands.
The researchers concluded what you probably already suspect: kids who were exposed to junk food, soda and fast food, via advertising and also because their parents fed them these foods, learned to recognize and prefer these foods over healthier choices. This doesn’t mean there’s no hope for older children raised on junk-food; they, too, can learn to love healthy foods, but it is easier if they instead learn to love such foods right from the start.
Is Your Child Drinking Soda?
Per capita soft drink consumption has increased nearly 500 percent over the past five decades,4 and children, unfortunately, are a major reason for this staggering increase. Kids are introduced to soda at very young ages and consumption only increases as they get older. An estimated 56 percent of 8-year-olds drink soda daily, and once the teenage years come, some kids drink at least three cans of soda each day.5 In the documentary, some of the children featured were drinking 6 glasses of soda a day, and they were well under the age of 5!
Regular soda is, of course, a significant source of sugar (mostly in the form of fructose), with each can containing about 10 teaspoons of sugar. Consumption of sugar-sweetened soda and other beverages has been linked to the rising obesity epidemic, along with other health issues, among kids. And diet sodas are not an acceptable alternative. Diet sodas are actually worse for your health than regular soda, due to the artificial sweeteners they contain, and have been linked to weight gain, obesity, cancer, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, stroke, addiction, and other health issues. There’s really no reason for children of any age to be drinking soda, but toddlers and young children, especially, should not be wasting valuable calories on this health-damaging beverage.
Tackling the Reasons Why You're Eating Unhealthy Is the First Step
The documentary is intriguing because it follows three different families, detailing the reasons why their diets have gone downhill. The top reasons mentioned, which are probably similar for many families, include:
- Too busy or lack of motivation to cook
- Not believing the junk food is harming their children
- Battling with a picky eater and believing it’s better for your child to eat something, even if it’s unhealthy
- Trying to keep mealtime too strict for kids, such that they’re not free to explore and taste new foods
- Parents eating junk foods and teaching this behavior to their kids
Experts were utilized in each circumstance to help the families overcome their unique obstacles, and this is what you’ll need to do in your own home as well. If you feel you’re too busy to cook, for instance, you’ll need to re-examine your priorities so nutritional meals can be made to be a part of your daily life. If motivation is the problem, you may need to consult with a health care practitioner who can tell you what health problems are in store for your kids if their diets don’t change...
Exposing Your Children to Healthy Foods Is So Important
As prominent celebrity British chef and food advocate Jamie Oliver explains in the video above, our food culture has changed so drastically over the last 30 years, a majority of young children of today do not even know what fresh, whole food is. This is a major setback, as the more different flavors a child is exposed to early on generally the easier time they will have developing a taste for a variety of healthy foods. This actually starts with breastfeeding, as the milk will take on the flavors of whatever the mother eats.
Then, it’s important to keep offering healthy foods to your child, even if they refuse them or seem to not like them. It can take 10-15 food exposures before a child becomes familiar with and likes a certain food, so persistence is important. Food is a part of crucial lifestyle choices first learned at home, so you need to educate yourself about proper nutrition and the dangers of junk food and processed foods in order to change the food culture of your entire family. To give your child the best start in life, and help instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime, you must lead by example.
If you're not sure where to start, I recommend reading my nutrition plan first. This will provide you with the foundation you need to start making healthy food choices for your family.
Are Your Kids Hooked on Junk Food? Taking Action Now Could Save Their Health
Most parents go to great lengths to keep their children safe. You hold their hand when they walk across the street, teach them to stay away from a hot stove and tell them not to talk to strangers. Yet, the majority of parents feed their children potentially harmful food without a thought for the later consequences. It's not the occasional treat here and there that I'm referring to, either. It's the fact that most toddlers recognize the sign of the "golden arches" long before they are speaking in full sentences.
Why? Because they are often raised on French fries, fast-food hamburgers and orange soda, or if "raised" is a bit of a stretch, are taught that French fries, chicken fingers and soda is an acceptable meal (worse yet, they may come to think of it as a reward).
If you and your kids are absolutely hooked on fast food and other processed foods, you're going to need some help and most likely some support from friends and family if you want to kick the junk-food lifestyle. As mentioned, my nutrition plan offers a step-by-step guide to feed your family right, and I encourage you to read through it now. You can find even more help in the book I wrote on the subject, Generation XL: Raising Healthy, Intelligent Kids in a High-Tech, Junk-Food World.
How Parents Can Ruin their Children's Health
Stop Junk Food Marketing to Kids
By Dr. Mercola
Olive oil, a dietary staple in Mediterranean regions, is now a healthy favorite oil in the US, valued not only for its flavor but also its health benefits.
Rich in monounsaturated fats, olive oil may help lower your risk of heart disease and may even benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, helping to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
As with most foods, however, not all olive oil is created equal. There’s a wide variation between high-quality and low-quality oils, and even among the best varieties, rancidity is a major problem.
4 Signs of Defective Olive Oil
When you spend the money on a quality bottle of olive oil, you want to know that you’re getting what you pay for. However, there are many factors that influence quality, from how long the olives sat before processing to how long you’ve left the oil sit out on your counter.
Olive oil is highly perishable, but is generally said to be ‘good’ for two years from the date it was bottled (this will usually be the ‘Best By’ date). However, a better indicator of freshness is to go by its harvest date, which will tell you when the oil was actually made. Only select oils that have this information on the bottle.
So the first step is finding an oil that was harvested as recently as possible. From there, many other factors, including storage temperature, exposure to air and light, the level of antioxidants and chlorophyll content in the oil, will also influence how resistant it is to going rancid.
All olive oil will get rancid eventually, but if you're like most people, you're probably leaving your bottle of olive oil right on the counter, opening and closing it multiple times a week (or even a day). Every time the oil is exposed to air and/or light, it undergoes oxidiation and will get rancid quicker.
Extra-virgin olive oil, in particular, also contains chlorophyll that accelerates decomposition and makes the oil go rancid even faster than semi-refined olive oils, according to oil expert Dr. Rudi Moerck. So how can you tell if your olive oil is rancid?
- It smells like crayons or putty
- It tastes like rancid nuts
- It has a greasy mouthfeel
“The sad truth is that most people in the US… are accustomed to the flavor of rancid olive oil.”
‘Fusty’ oil occurs when olives sit too long (even just a few days) before they’re milled, leading to fermentation in the absence of oxygen. Fusty flavors are incredibly common in olive oil, so many simply think it’s normal. However, your olive oil should not have a fermented smell to it, reminiscent of sweaty socks or swampy vegetation.
“A good way to taste an example of the fusty defect involves table olives,” The Olive Oil Times reported. “Look through a batch of Kalamata-style olives and see if you can find any that are not purple or maroon-black and firm, but instead are brown and mushy. Eat one. THAT is the flavor of fusty.”
If your olive oil tastes dusty or musty, it’s probably because it was made from moldy olives, another occasional olive oil defect.
Wine or Vinegar Flavor
If your olive oil tastes like it has undertones of wine and vinegar (or even nail polish), it’s probably because the olives underwent fermentation with oxygen, leading to this sharp, undesirable flavor.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is One of the Most Commonly Adulterated Foods
The four defects above are examples of what commonly occurs due to poor processing methods or handling. However, olive oil is also a common target of food fraud, in which it is deliberately adulterated at your expense, according to the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention's (USP) Food Fraud Database. Even “extra virgin” olive oil is often diluted with other less expensive oils, including hazelnut, soybean, corn, sunflower, palm, sesame, grape seed and walnut. But these other oils will not be listed on the label, nor will most people be able to discern that their olive oil is not pure.
If you live in an area where olive oil is made, buying from a local producer is the ideal solution as it allows you to know exactly what’s in your oil. If not, try an independent olive oil shop that can tell you about the growers, or at least seek out a brand name that you trust to produce quality oil from your local supermarket.
If at all possible, taste the oil before you buy it. While this won’t necessarily be a guarantee of quality (especially if you’re not skilled at picking out all the potentially subtle taste differences), it can help you to pick out the freshest-tasting oil possible (and if you open a bottle at home and find that it tastes rancid or ‘bad,’ return it to the store for a refund).
The Fridge Test: Not a Good Measure of Olive Oil Quality
Earlier this year, The Dr. Oz Show featured a segment on the olive oil ‘fridge test,’ which suggested that you can tell your extra virgin olive oil is pure if it solidifies in the fridge. The US Davis Olive Center decided to test the theory out and found that this is actually a very unreliable way to detect olive oil purity.
In fact, the Olive Center researchers refrigerated seven samples of oil and found that none of them congealed after 60 hours in the fridge. While some had areas that had hardened, due to the varying levels of saturated fats in the oil, none solidified completely. So you can save yourself the effort and avoid using this test.
“All olive oils contain a small amount of saturated fatty acids that solidify at refrigerator temperatures,” said Paul Vossen, UC Cooperative Extension advisor. “The amount of solidification is equal to the amount of saturated fatty acids in the oil, which depends mostly on the varieties of olives used to make the oil and to a lesser extent where the olives were grown. Solidification does not indicate freshness, purity, flavor, extra virgin grade, or any other quality parameter.”
Are You Cooking With Olive Oil? Stop!
Olive oil is an ideal oil when it’s used cold, such as drizzled over a salad or on top of homemade hummus. However, it's important to realize olive oil is NOT good for cooking. Due to its chemical structure and a large amount of monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid, cooking makes extra virgin olive oil very susceptible to oxidative damage.
Consuming oxidized, rancid oil is not going to benefit your health, so when you need an oil to cook with, coconut oil is the ideal choice, because it is one of the only commonly used vegetable fats stable enough to resist heat-induced damage. Remember, olive oil is excellent when used for cold dishes, but cooking with it is virtually guaranteed to damage this highly heat-sensitive oil.
Tips for Keeping Your Olive Oil Fresh
Once you’ve chosen a bottle of olive oil (being careful to choose a trusted brand and check dates on the bottle), what you do with it once you get it home can make a difference in its shelf life. To best protect the oil, Dr. Moerck recommends treating it with the same care as you would sensitive omega-3 oils:
- Keep in a cool, dark place -- dark is key because light will most definitely oxidize the fats in olive oil
- Purchase smaller bottles rather than larger to ensure freshness
- Immediately replace the cap after each pour
To further help protect extra virgin olive oil from oxidation, Dr. Moerck suggests putting one drop of astaxanthin into the bottle. You can purchase astaxanthin, which is an extremely potent antioxidant, in soft gel capsules. Just prick it with a pin and squeeze the capsule into the oil. The beautiful thing about using astaxanthin instead of another antioxidant, such as vitamin E, is that it is naturally red, whereas vitamin E is colorless, so you can tell the oil still has astaxanthin in it by its color. As the olive oil starts to pale in color, you know it's time to throw it away.
Generally speaking, olive oil is best consumed within a year of harvest, although most will last for up to two years from harvest when unopened and kept in a cool dark place. Oils that have a more bitter, peppery flavor have a higher polyphenol content, and these oils will generally keep better than oils made from ripe olives, which have a softer flavor. The latter should be used within six months to a year at most.
This is yet another reason to purchase olive oil in small bottles, rather than large, as it is easier to use up in a shorter period. If you purchase a large amount of olive oil you may be tempted to keep it even though it has gone rancid.
By Dr. Mercola
Do you believe that drinking diet soda will allow you to “have your cake and eat it too” while still controlling your weight?
If so, you may be surprised to learn that research has repeatedly shown that artificially sweetened no- or low-calorie drinks and other “diet” foods actually tend to stimulate your appetite, increase cravings for carbs, and stimulate fat storage and weight gain.
Most recently, a report published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism1 highlights the fact that diet soda drinkers suffer the same exact health problems as those who opt for regular soda, such as excessive weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke.2, 3
The authors—who were “shocked” at the results—looked at studies published in the past five years that examine the relationship between diet soda consumption and health outcomes:
“This paper discusses these findings and considers the hypothesis that consuming sweet-tasting but noncaloric or reduced-calorie food and beverages interferes with learned responses that normally contribute to glucose and energy homeostasis.
Because of this interference, frequent consumption of high-intensity sweeteners may have the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements,” they wrote.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses the report in the CNN video above, explaining that artificial sweeteners basically trick your body into thinking that it’s going to receive sugar, but when the sugar doesn’t arrive, your body signals that it needs more, which results in carb cravings. Most people give in to such signals and end up overeating on other foods and snacks.
Artificial Sweeteners Actually INCREASE Weight Gain
This connection between sweet taste alone and increased hunger can be found in the medical literature going back at least two decades. These two studies, for example, dating back to the late 80s and early 90s, both showed this link between artificial sweeteners and increased hunger:
- Physiology & Behavior, 19884 – In this study, they determined that intense (no- or low-calorie) sweeteners can produce significant changes in appetite. Of the three sweeteners tested, aspartame produced the most pronounced effects.
- Physiology & Behavior 19905 – Here, they again evaluated whether or not the mere taste of “sweet” increases hunger, by having human subjects chew gum for 15 minutes containing various levels of aspartame (0.05%, 0.3%, 0.5%, or 1.0%).
Interestingly, although those who chewed artificially sweetened gum reported increased hunger compared to the control group who were given nothing or unsweetened gum base to chew, the increase did not directly correlate with the aspartame concentration in the gum.
Women experienced the greatest increase in hunger after chewing gum containing 0.3 percent aspartame (the second lowest concentration amount), while men were the hungriest after chewing on gum containing 0.5 percent aspartame. The authors stated:
"The highest aspartame concentrations had a time-dependent, biphasic effect on appetite, producing a transient decrease followed by a sustained increase in hunger ratings. Thus, the concentration of the sweetener, the sex of the subject, and the time after chewing, were all important determinants of whether 'sweetness' increased hunger."
Why Doesn’t the FTC Sue Diet Makers for Fraudulent Advertising?
In a study6 of artificial sweeteners performed on college students, there was no evidence that artificial sweetener use was associated with a decrease in their overall sugar intake either. These results indicate that eating artificial sweeteners simply perpetuates a craving for sweets, and overall sugar consumption is not reduced—leading to further problems controlling your weight.
In 2005, data gathered from the 25-year long San Antonio Heart Study7 also showed that drinking diet soft drinks increased the likelihood of serious weight gain – far more so than regular soda.8 According to Sharon Fowler, M.P.H:
“On average, for each diet soft drink our participants drank per day, they were 65 percent more likely to become overweight during the next seven to eight years, and 41 percent more likely to become obese.”
This finding supports a 2004 study9 at Purdue University, which found that rats fed artificially sweetened liquids ate more high-calorie food than rats fed high-caloric sweetened liquids. The researchers believe the experience of drinking artificially sweetened liquids disrupted the animals' natural ability to compensate for the calories in the food. A more recent review, published in June 2010 in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine,10 delves into the neurobiology of sugar cravings and summarizes the epidemiological and experimental evidence concerning the effect of artificial sweeteners on weight. The author states:
“Several large scale prospective cohort studies found positive correlation between artificial sweetener use and weight gain. …Preload experiments generally have found that sweet taste, whether delivered by sugar or artificial sweeteners, enhanced human appetite. Aspartame-sweetened water, but not aspartame capsule, increased subjective appetite rating in normal weight adult males…
Unlike glucose or sucrose, which decreased the energy intake at the test meal, artificial sweetener preloads either had no effect or increased subsequent energy intake. Those findings suggest that the calorie contained in natural sweeteners may trigger a response to keep the overall energy consumption constant. ...Increasing evidence suggests that artificial sweeteners do not activate the food reward pathways in the same fashion as natural sweeteners…
Natural and artificial sweeteners also activate the gustatory branch differently. …Lastly, artificial sweeteners, precisely because they are sweet, encourage sugar craving and sugar dependence. …Unsweetening the world’s diet may be the key to reversing the obesity epidemic.”
That last statement is probably the most accurate conclusion there is. Americans in particular are addicted to sweet flavors, which appears to trigger a complex set of biological systems, pathways, and mechanisms that in the end leads to excess weight gain whether that flavor comes loaded with calories or not. In the end, the research tells us that artificial sweeteners are nothing more than a pipe dream when it comes to being a dieter’s aid, because contrary to what the marketing campaigns claim, low- or no-calorie artificial sweeteners are more likely to help you pack on the pounds than shed them.
What Dr. Gupta Failed to Tell You About the Dangers of Aspartame
This hypothesis was also demonstrated in a 2012 study published in the journal Appetite,11 which showed that saccharin and aspartame both cause greater weight gain than sugar. Rats were fed plain yogurt sweetened with either aspartame, saccharin, or sugar, plus their regular rat chow, for 12 weeks.
“Results showed that addition of either saccharin or aspartame to yogurt resulted in increased weight gain compared to addition of sucrose, however total caloric intake was similar among groups,” the researchers write.12
The reason for the similar calorie consumption between the groups was due to increased chow consumption by the rats given artificially sweetened yoghurt. This type of compensation has been found in previous studies13 as well, indicating that when your body gets a hit of sweet taste without the calories to go with it, it adversely affects your appetite control mechanisms, causing increased food cravings. That’s all good and well, and mounting research appears to support this “metabolic derangement” hypothesis.
However, Dr. Gupta falls short when it comes to the overall health hazards of artificial sweeteners—completely dismissing the inherent toxicity of artificial sweeteners like aspartame. He even claims that there’s “no evidence of a link” between aspartame and cancer, stating that aspartame has been on the market since the 60’s and no such link has been shown in the 40 years since. I guess it’s really a matter of looking at the available evidence.
Not only have studies showing a cancer link been published in recent years, but during our 40-year long “war on cancer,” cancer rates have in fact increased despite scientific advances in treatment, and now surpass heart disease as the number one killer of Americans under the age of 85.14 The reason for this is still under debate, as no particular industry wants to take responsibility for their contribution to toxic overload in the population at large...In my view however, I believe it is irresponsibly negligent to flatly ignore the potential impact of artificial sweeteners on our skyrocketing disease rates. Telling people to consume a toxic agent “in moderation” is just not good advice in my opinion.
As for the potential cancer link, one lifetime feeding study published in 201015 found that aspartame induced cancers of the liver and lung in male mice. It was also carcinogenic in male and female rats. Another study of great importance was published just last year. It’s the most comprehensive and longest human study— spanning 22 years — that has ever looked at aspartame toxicity. The study evaluated the effect between aspartame intake and cancer, and they found a clear association between aspartame consumption and non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and leukemia.
Recent research has also demonstrated that aspartame worsens insulin sensitivity to a greater degree than sugar, which is quite the blow for diabetics who obediently follow the recommendation to switch to diet sodas to manage their condition. The researchers used a dosage of aspartame that approximates the ADI for aspartame in the US (approx. 50 mg/kg body weight), and not only was aspartame found to decrease insulin sensitivity compared to controls, it also wrought havoc on brain function.
CSPI Downgrades Splenda Safety Rating from 'Safe' to 'Caution'
In related news, the watchdog group The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recently downgraded its safety rating16, 17 of sucralose (Splenda) from "safe" to "caution," meaning it "may pose a risk and needs to be better tested."
“In what might be the greatest cause for concern, in 2012 an independent Italian laboratory announced (but has not yet published) a study that found that sucralose caused leukemia in mice that were exposed from before birth. That was the same lab that several years earlier published studies indicating that aspartame caused cancers in rats and mice,” CSPI writes.
Unfortunately, CSPI also proves to be seriously confused on this issue by recommending that you opt for diet soda over regular soda because “[r]egular soda poses the greater and demonstrable risks of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, gout, tooth decay, and other health problems." As discussed above, this is incorrect, as studies are in fact showing that diet soda is equal to or worse than regular soda when it comes to promoting weight gain and chronic disease.
Why 'FDA Approved' Tells You Virtually Nothing About a Product’s Safety...
As discussed by Dr. Janet Hull,18 many tend to excuse the negative health effects of aspartame simply because it has received the stamp of approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“[T]his may not be something the American consumer can actually depend upon anymore,” she writes, because “[t]he FDA rules and regulations for the approval of food additives... it has some serious flaws.”
In her article, Dr. Hull talks about Beth Hubrich, president of the Calorie Control Council, and how FDA's requirement that the industry do its own research actually puts the industry in the hot seat of proving the flaws of their own products. Clearly, this is a strong disincentive to finding anything wrong, since any company applying for approval wants their product to reach the market. In a nutshell, the FDA trusts corporations to be completely honest and above board about their own research findings—with billions of dollars of profits hanging in the balance! How likely do you think it is that such a system will actually ensure that each product released to market is in fact safe? This is the classic example of the fox guarding the hen house.
“Basically, all the FDA is responsible for is reviewing the summaries of research conducted by the company applying for approval, typically from scientific studies the applicant has pay-rolled. Then, the company presents their reasons why their product should be allowed in the public food supply based on their research. At the very least, the research reports are controversial, and rarely reviewed by independent researchers not related to the industry,” she writes.
Beth Hubrich, a spokeswoman for the industry group Calorie Control Council, has spent years disputing the results from independent researchers that find fault with artificial sweeteners. This despite the fact that an independent researcher has far less incentive to come to any particular conclusion—good or bad... As I’ve discussed in a previous article, the Calorie Control Council is an association that represents manufacturers and suppliers of low-calorie, sugar-free and reduced sugar foods and beverages, and has strong ties to the Kellen Company, which is instrumental in creating and managing industry front groups specifically created to mislead you about the product in question, protect industry profits, and influence regulatory agencies. This makes virtually any position of the Calorie Control Council questionable at best when it comes to public safety.
Are You Addicted to Artificial Sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners tend to trigger enhanced activity within your brain's pleasure centers, yet at the same time provide less actual satisfaction. This separation of the taste of sweetness from caloric content means that when you consume artificial sweeteners, your brain actually craves more of it because your body receives no satisfaction on a cellular level by the sugar imposter. This can actually contribute to not only overeating and weight gain, but also an addiction to artificial sweeteners, along with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke—even if your weight is normal.
In order to break free, be sure you address the emotional component of your food cravings using a tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). More than any traditional or alternative method I have used or researched, EFT works to overcome food cravings and helps you reach dietary success. If diet soda is the culprit for you, be sure to check out Turbo Tapping, which is an extremely effective and simple tool to get rid of your soda addiction in a short amount of time.
If you still have cravings after trying EFT or Turbo Tapping, you may need to make some changes to your diet. My free nutrition plan can help you do this in a step-by-step fashion. If you’re searching for a safer sweetener option, you could use stevia or Lo Han, both of which are safe natural sweeteners. Remember, if you struggle with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or extra weight, then you have insulin sensitivity issues and would likely benefit from avoiding ALL sweeteners.
Last but not least, if you experience side effects from aspartame or any other artificial sweetener, please report it to the FDA (if you live in the United States) without delay. It's easy to make a report — just go to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator page, find the phone number for your state, and make a call reporting your reaction.
Toxicology Expert Explains Why Aspartame is so Dangerous to Your Health
By Dr. Mercola
I’ve been warning you of the dangers of soda since I started this site over 16 years ago, and the list of reasons to avoid this beverage just keeps getting longer. Americans in particular get most of their daily calories from sugar, primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in soda and other sweetened beverages.
Half of the US population over the age of two consumes sugary drinks on a daily basis,1 and this figure does not even include 100% fruit juices, flavored milk or sweetened teas, all of which are sugary too, which means the figure is actually even higher.
Many people mistakenly believe that as long as you are drinking fruit juice, it's healthy even though it's sweet, but this is a dangerous misconception that is fueling the rising rates of weight gain, obesity, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes in the United States and other developed nations.
It’s important to realize sugary drinks, soda and even fresh squeezed fruit juice, contain fructose, which has been identified as one of the primary culprits in the meteoric rise of obesity and related health problems—in large part due to its ability to turn on your “fat switch.”
So-called “enhanced” water products are another source of hidden fructose, and/or artificial sweeteners, which can be even worse for your health than sugar. I recommend drinking plenty of pure water as your primary beverage of choice instead.
Sugary Drinks Linked to 180,000 Deaths Annually
Preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions suggests sugary beverages are to blame for about 183,000 deaths worldwide each year, including 133,000 diabetes deaths, 44,000 heart disease deaths and 6,000 cancer deaths.
Among the 35 largest countries in the world, Mexico had the highest death rates associated with sugary beverage consumption. There, the average consumption of sugary beverages was 24 ounces per day.
Bangladesh had the lowest death rates. The US ranked third, with an estimated 25,000 annual deaths2 from sweetened drinks.3 (Many might have expected the US to come in first place, but remember that American processed foods contain far more sugars than other nations, so Americans also consume a lot of “hidden” sugar in products other than beverages.)
Interestingly, and quite disturbingly, the death rates associated with sweetened beverages were highest in those under the age of 45. According to the featured article:4
“[W]hile the connection between excess sugar and chronic disease is well-known, the latest research is the first to quantify deaths correlated with sugared drinks worldwide.
...To reach their conclusion, the scientists analyzed data from the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study and recorded how much sugar-sweetened beverages people drank, dividing up the data by age and sex. Then, they figured out how the various amount corresponded to obesity rates.
Lastly, they calculated how much obesity affected diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers and determined the mortality rates from these diseases, ending up with the number of deaths that could be attributed to consuming sugary beverages by age and sex.”
Co-author Dr. Gitanjali Singh told Time Magazine:
“Our findings should push policy makers world-wide to make effective policies to reduce consumption of sugary beverages, such as taxation, mass-media campaigns, and reducing availability of these drinks... Individuals should drink fewer sugary beverages and encourage their family and friends to do the same.”
As you may recall, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently tried to ban the sale of sugary beverages over 16 ounces in restaurants, food carts and theaters, but the day before the ban was scheduled to go into effect, a Supreme Court judge overturned it.5 Bloomberg has stated he intends to appeal the decision.
Personally, I believe the most appropriate strategy is to educate people on the facts about sugar consumption, and encourage personal responsibility. Taxation and eliminating sweet drinks from schools and other venues may have a beneficial effect, but to really put a dent in the problem, you need to be properly informed about the consequences of your choices. Voting with your pocketbook and avoiding purchasing these products will cause them to disappear from the marketplace as companies will not produce items that don’t sell.
Scientific Statement from American Heart Association about Sugar Consumption and Heart Disease Risk
In 2009, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a scientific statement6 about sugar intake and heart health, pointing out that there is evidence for a relationship between the two. According to the abstract:
“High intakes of dietary sugars in the setting of a worldwide pandemic of obesity and cardiovascular disease have heightened concerns about the adverse effects of excessive consumption of sugars.
In 2001 to 2004, the usual intake of added sugars for Americans was 22.2 teaspoons per day (355 calories per day). Between 1970 and 2005, average annual availability of sugars/added sugars increased by 19%, which added 76 calories to Americans’ average daily energy intake. Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the primary source of added sugars in Americans’ diets. Excessive consumption of sugars has been linked with several metabolic abnormalities and adverse health conditions, as well as shortfalls of essential nutrients...
[T]he American Heart Association recommends reductions in the intake of added sugars. A prudent upper limit of intake is half of the discretionary calorie allowance, which for most American women is no more than 100 calories per day and for most American men is no more than 150 calories per day from added sugars.”
How Much Sugar Do You Eat or Drink Each Day?
Let’s start with soda. One hundred calories isn’t much. Just one 12-ounce regular soda contains about 140 calories; the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar. Similarly, one eight-ounceglass of orange juice has about eight full teaspoons of sugar, and at least 50 percent of that sugar is fructose. Drinking just one eight-ounce glass of orange juice will wallop your system with about 25 grams of fructose, which is more than you should have the entire day...
Fructose has been identified as one of the primary culprits in the meteoric rise of obesity and related health problems, and while the majority of the problem is caused by the large quantities of high fructose corn syrup added to so many processed foods and sweetened beverages, naturally-occurring fructose in large amounts of fruit juice is also a problem. Fructose is also a likely culprit behind the millions of U.S. children struggling with non-alcoholic liver disease, which is caused by a build-up of fat within liver cells. Fructose is very hard on your liver, in much the same way as drinking alcohol.
Around 100 years ago the average American consumed a mere 15 grams of fructose a day, primarily in the form of whole fruit. One hundred years later, one-fourth of Americans are consuming more than 135 grams per day (that's over a quarter of a pound!), largely in the form of soda and other sweetened beverages.
Fructose at 15 grams a day is unlikely to do much harm (unless you suffer from high uric acid levels). However, at nearly 10 times that amount it becomes a MAJOR cause of obesity and nearly all chronic degenerative diseases. As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. However, for most people it would actually be wise to limit your fruit fructose to 15 grams or less, as it is virtually guaranteed that you will consume “hidden” sources of fructose from most beverages and just about any processed food you might eat.
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Don’t Fall for the Latest 'Designer Water' Fad...
As a general rule, I advise using water as your primary form of beverage. Many simply do not drink enough water these days. But don’t be fooled by slick marketing. There are a number of “designer water” products available, and none of them can really beat plain, pure water. For example, on April 1, Coca-Cola released its latest enhanced water product called “Fruitwater,” described as “a great tasting, naturally flavored zero calorie sparking water beverage.”7 Despite its name, the product does NOT contain any juice. Rather it’s sweetened with sucralose and “natural fruit flavors.” Sucralose (Splenda) is an artificial sweetener that, like aspartame, is associated with a host of side effects, including:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Seizures, dizziness and migraines
- Blurred vision
- Allergic reactions
- Blood sugar increases and weight gain
Artificially Sweetened Water is a Recipe for Poor Health
Different artificial sweeteners have been found to wreak havoc in a number of different ways. Aspartame, for example, has a long list of studies indicating its harmful effects, ranging from brain damage to pre-term delivery. Sucralose has been found to be particularly damaging to your intestines. A study8 published in 2008 found that sucralose:
- Reduces the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50 percent
- Increases the pH level in your intestines, and
- Affects a glycoprotein in your body that can have crucial health effects, particularly if you're on certain medications like chemotherapy, or treatments for AIDS and certain heart conditions
In response to this study, James Turner, chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health, issued the following statement:9
"The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study ... confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label."
That was nearly five years ago, yet many are still in the dark about these health risks. Having healthy gut flora is absolutely vital for your optimal health, so clearly, any product that can destroy up to half of your healthy intestinal bacteria can pose a critical risk to your health! Many are already deficient in healthy bacteria due to consuming too many highly processed foods. This is why I recommend eating fermented vegetables every day, or at the very least taking a high quality probiotic.
Believe me, if you continuously destroy up to 50 percent of your gut flora by regularly consuming sucralose, then poor health is virtually guaranteed. So please, do not make “Fruitwater” a staple drink thinking you’re doing something beneficial for your health... Remember, pure water IS a zero calorie drink. You cannot find a beverage that contains fewer calories. If you think about it, why on earth would you choose artificially sweetened water over regular mineral water? If you want some flavor, just squeeze a little bit of fresh lemon or lime into mineral water as they have virtually no fructose in them.
Unfortunately, most public health agencies and nutritionists in the United States still recommend these toxic artificial sweeteners as acceptable and even preferred alternatives to sugar, which is at best confusing and at worst seriously damaging the health of those who listen to this well-intentioned but foolish advice. Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that artificial sweeteners can stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and stimulate fat storage and weight gain. In fact, diet sodas may actually double your risk of obesity. So much for being an ally in the battle against the bulge...
The Case Against ALL Bottled Waters...
While we’re on the subject of commercially available water products, let me remind you that bottled water in general is a bad idea. Not only are you paying about 1,900 percent more for the same or similar water you get straight from your tap, water stored in plastic bottles have other health risks as well. The plastic often used to make water bottles contains a variety of health-harming chemicals that can easily leach out and contaminate the water, such as:
- Cancer-causing PFOAs
- PBDEs (flame retardant chemicals), which have been linked to reproductive problems and altered thyroid levels
- The reproductive toxins, phthalates
- BPA, which disrupts the endocrine system by mimicking the female hormone estrogen
If you leave your water bottle in a hot car, or reuse it, your exposure is magnified because heat and stress increase the amount of chemicals that leach out of the plastic. So the container your water comes in needs to receive just as much attention as the water itself, and plastic is simply not a wise choice from a health perspective … not to mention the extreme amounts of toxic waste produced!
What’s the Healthiest Beverage You Can Drink?
Sweetened beverages, whether it’s sweetened with sugar, HFCS, naturally-occurring fructose, or artificial sweeteners, are among the worst culprits in the fight against obesity and related health problems, including diabetes, heart- and liver disease, just to name a few. Remember that sweetened beverages also include flavored milk products, bottled teas, and “enhanced” water products. Ditching ALL of these types of beverages can go a long way toward reducing your risk for chronic health problems and weight gain. So what should you drink?
Your best, most cost effective choice is to drink filtered tap water. The caveat though is to make sure you filter your tap water. I've written a large number of articles on the hazards of tap water, from fluoride to dangerous chemicals and drugs, to toxic disinfection byproducts and heavy metals, so having a good filtration system in place is more of a necessity than a luxury in most areas. Remember, nothing beats pure water when it comes to serving your body’s needs. If you really feel the urge for a carbonated beverage, try sparkling mineral water with a squirt of lime or lemon juice.
Another option to consider is to bottle your own water from a gravity-fed spring. There's a great website called FindaSpring.com where you can find natural springs in your area. This is a great way to get back to nature and teach your children about health and the sources of clean water. The best part is that most of these spring water sources are free! Just remember to bring either clear polyethylene or glass containers to collect the water so no unsafe chemicals can contaminate your water on the way home. If you choose to use glass bottles, be sure to wrap them in towels to keep them from breaking in the car.
The Beverage that is Even WORSE than High Fructose Corn Syrup Soda
Is This Popular Sports Drink as Damaging as Coca-Cola?