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 The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine   Mac Nut Oil
 
    May 2004    Page 1       > About LCL Magazine      > Cover Page      > Inside Cover      Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12     

 

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 Sugar Alcohol Syndrome
 Springtime Recipes
 Notes From The Field
 An Open Letter to Mother
 Here's What's New!
 The New Aromatherapy
 Jonny Bowden Weighs In
 Manda's Story
 It's A Jungle Out There
 5 Ways to Beautiful Skin
 Make It Low Carb!
 Snapshot: Longhorn Steaks


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                Sugar Alcohol Syndrome — The Disease of the Future? by Debbie Judd, RN

Debbie Judd is a nurse for Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades authors of Protein Power. Debbie writes for Body Trends, as well as with the Eades answering literally hundreds of emails, phone calls and letters regarding the Protein Power plan.

   

Approximately 59 million consumers are controlling their carbohydrate intake, according to a study done by The Valen Group, a strategy consulting firm. TJRF, a company who manages LowCarbiz estimates the movement of the low carb enthusiasm to be a 15 billion dollar industry, growing into a 25?30 billion dollar low carb economy by the end of 2004. Last year there were on average, 3 new low carb products developed each day. There are currently over 1500 specific low carb products on the market and the numbers aren't slowing down.

What are "low carb products"? What new ingredients are being used by manufacturers to create these decadent chocolate bars, cakes, cookies and beverages so they can be classified "low carb"? These are a few of many questions being asked by both consumers and the medical community. Is a low carb diet going to be the answer to our Gross National Girth problem? Or, is this just going to be another movement, like the low-fat craze where we replace fat striped products with the counterparts of our comfort foods and consume super sized portions of low carb breads, pastas, candies, cookies, snacks and muffins? And, with the addition of these trend setting products, are we trading the medical consequence of metabolic resistance syndrome with new, yet to be defined health problems?

Boring and "difficult to follow" — A complaint of the past

It used to be that the lack of choices in following a low carb diet presented its challenges to include variety, fiber and those foods we so love and rely on — comfort foods. Not anymore!

With the advent of hundreds of low carb products, manufacturers are hopeful that consumers will gobble up their production expenses to support the creation of yet another low carb cookie, brownie, chip, candy or bar — made with ingredients such as vital wheat gluten, soy flour, artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, to mention a few. The flood gates are open and while this may give consumers an endless variety of tastes, textures and sweetness-to both allure and satisfy our senses, there seems to be both concern and confusion regarding the "impact" and health effects these products will have on us long term.

The "impact" on our health

There's no doubt that the taste of low carb foods and snacks has improved immensely since their birth, encouraging increased indulgence and ease of compliance to our low carb commitment. No one is arguing that when we need our chocolate fix that a "sugar free" Belgium dark chocolate bar is a better choice than a sugar laden dark chocolate treat to keep our blood sugar levels from sky rocketing and then plummeting an hour later. But are these low carb choices really working towards improving our health? Are these products and ingredients the answer to our prayers?

Numerous studies support the fact that eating fewer carbohydrates in our diet will help improve health conditions such as high blood sugar and insulin levels, high cholesterol and lipid levels, high blood pressure, polycystic ovarian condition, not to mention help reduce body fat. What is the goal for introducing low carb products to consumers? Is it to aid in the improvement of the health of our nation or just to enable us to continue to feed our craving for sweets and something to munch on?

Ask a type 2 diabetic who has just consumed a low carb protein bar made with sugar alcohols if there isn't a significant rise in their blood sugar level. Why is it that many individuals bloat up like a balloon after savoring a low carb brownie, cookie, cake or piece of candy, disappearing into the bathroom wondering when it will be safe to come out? Why are "low carbers" reaching plateaus so unexpectedly when eating under 20?30 grams of effective carbohydrates per day?

Are some of these low carb products really helping us improve our health or are we just brewing yet another umbrella of symptoms to someday fit under the diagnosis of SAS Syndrome? Doubling over with abdominal pain after a decadent low carb candy bar isn't my idea of a healthy response, nor is having to increase insulin doses or diabetic oral medications to "cover" the blood sugar rise after ingesting the low carb cheesecake that was served at your office party. In ten years or less, will the headlines in medical journals be focused on the new diseases created from the use of sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners? Does the future of our health hold more inflammatory stomach and bowel diseases, a rise in colon cancer, intestinal flora dysbiosis or GI related neurological disorders? Are these molecular compounds, bonded in the chemical formulations they are, that pass through our GI tracts supposed to be there and are these "foreign" structures polluting our body and upsetting our metabolic balance?

Where are the benefits?

While sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners have become popular ingredients in many low carb snacks; adding sweetness, consistency, and texture to create solutions to a low carb addicts cravings, there are unanswered questions as to the metabolic and Gastro-intestinal effects these products have on our systems. How much do they change your blood sugar numbers and what effect do they have long term on the intestines mucosal lining and gut flora? Do they trigger an insulin response even though they aren't meant to be absorbed into the blood stream? The answer: no one really knows at this time, and how long will it be before there are answers: it's hard to tell. Until further testing is performed on each and every one of these artificial sweeteners and particularly sugar alcohols, the message is to use them with caution. Often times the use of these products is self limiting due to their effect on our body but if you are a diabetic or know you have a metabolic disorder, small amounts may be in your best interest until you know from your own experience how you are going to react.

The advent of low carb foods and snacks does serve a purpose in the low carb consumer's pantry. On a busy day, which all of us can relate to, what a wonderful feeling knowing you do have quick and convenient selections of low carb foods to enable us to stay within our "bank account" of effective carbs. Why not enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich made from low carb products.

The key: as long as we remember that many of these products are to be used as a convenience and not a replacement for healthy, whole and natural foods they can fit into our low carb lifestyle.

                                                           Debbie Judd, RN


Copyright © May 2004  Debbie Judd, RN and Low Carb Luxury
Title photo Copyright ? 2004 Neil Beaty and Low Carb Luxury





       

 
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