Shaping Up

March 25, 2003

March 25, 2003

We are always looking for an easy way out -- a painless solution. Can I stay in shape by simply avoiding fast foods? By taking some magic herbal dietary supplement? By going to some shrink to curb my appetite? Where is the silver bullet?

I have in front ofme the health section of the Washington Post. The headline reads, "Sweet but Not So Innocent." Not talking about the girl at the truck stop! Talking about sweeteners made from corn -- high fructose com sweetener. The article goes on and on about the increased consumption of soft drinks sweetened with corn sweetener and that perhaps (all conjecture at this point) fructose might make you fatter faster than glucose sugar. They don't really know. In fact to his credit Michael Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest and vocal critic of soft drinks which he refers to as "liquid candy," says that it doesn't make any difference if soft drinks are sweetened with table sugar or fructose com syrup.

Now we have the World Health Organization and the Food and Agricultural Organization recommending a limit of 10 percent of calories from added sugar. They don't choose to count sugar naturally present in honey and fruit juices. It may sound too simple but I would suggest that sugar is sugar and too much is not good. Too much of anything is not good.

If there are people that think that getting rid of high fructose com sweetener will solve the obesity problem, guess again. It's calories in and they are either burned off with exercise or they tum into fat. It is as simple as that. Unfortunately some people have a metabolism that will not bum up the calories as fast as other people do. And we don't know what to do about that. There are too many people suggesting that there is some easy way to stay in shape. Well, there isn't an easy way. It takes exercise and watching what you eat to shape up.