Report: Industry hid decades-old study showing sugar’s unhealthy effects

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Big Sugar seems to have copied the Big Tobacco playbook, a new report contends.

More than four decades ago, a study in rats funded by the sugar industry found evidence linking the sweetener to heart disease and bladder cancer, the paper trail investigation reports.

The results of that study were never made public.

Instead, the sugar industry pulled the plug on the study and buried the evidence, said senior researcher Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine and director of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

Glantz likened this to suppressed Big Tobacco internal research linking smoking with heart disease and cancer.

“This was an experiment that produced evidence that contradicted the scientific position of the sugar industry,” Glantz said. “It certainly would have contributed to increasing our understanding of the cardiovascular risk associated with eating a lot of sugar, and they didn’t want that.”

In response to the investigation, The Sugar Association issued a statement calling it “a collection of speculations and assumptions about events that happened nearly five decades ago, conducted by a group of researchers and funded by individuals and organizations that are known critics of the sugar industry.”

The new paper focuses on an industry-sponsored study referred to as Project 259 in documents generated by the Sugar Research Foundation and its successor, the International Sugar Research Foundation, and dug up decades later by Glantz and his colleagues.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham in England conducted Project 259 between 1967 and 1971, comparing how lab rats fared when fed table sugar versus starch. The scientists specifically looked at how gut bacteria processed the two different forms of carbohydrate.

Early results in August 1970 indicated that rats fed a high-sugar diet experienced an increase in blood levels of triglycerides, a type of fat that contributes to cholesterol.

Rats fed loads of sugar also appeared to have elevated levels of beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme previously associated with bladder cancer in humans, the researchers said.

Months after receiving these results, the International Sugar Research Foundation failed to approve an additional 12 weeks of funding that the Birmingham researchers needed to complete their work, according to the authors behind the new investigation.

“The investigator they funded came back to them with preliminary results, which were showing these adverse effects of sugar and said, ‘I need a few more weeks to finish the study,'” Glantz said. “They just looked at it and said no, and shut the whole thing down. As far as we can tell, nothing was ever published.”

Project 259’s timing was critical, said Glantz and lead author Cristin Kearns, a postdoctoral fellow with the UCSF School of Medicine who reportedly discovered the industry documents.

During that period, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was weighing whether to take a hard line on high-sugar foods.

“Had those results been made public, sugar would have gotten a lot more scrutiny than it did,” Kearns said.

The Sugar Association says Project 259 was significantly delayed and over budget, “and the delay overlapped with an organizational restructuring with the Sugar Research Foundation becoming a new entity, the International Sugar Research Foundation,” according to its own review of archive material.

“There were plans to continue the study with funding from the British Nutrition Foundation, but, for reasons unbeknown to us, this did not occur,” the industry trade group’s statement says.

“Throughout its history, the Sugar Association has embraced scientific research and innovation in an attempt to learn as much as possible about sugar, diet and health,” the statement continues. “We know that sugar consumed in moderation is part of a balanced lifestyle, and we remain committed to supporting research to further understand the role sugar plays in consumers’ evolving eating habits.”

Nutritionist Sharon Zarabi is director of the bariatric program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She said the new investigation reveals “the power food industry lobbyists have on government guidelines that instruct us on what to eat.”

Zarabi noted that “most research studies that support specific foods are funded by industry and this oftentimes skews the results.”

Although these revelations might produce a media furor, they’re unlikely to change the recommendations coming from dietitians, said Kelly Hogan, clinical nutrition and wellness manager at the Mount Sinai Dubin Breast Center in New York City.

That’s because subsequent research has revealed the effect that diets high in sugar can have on long-term health. People need to follow a balanced diet if they want to eat healthy, and that doesn’t mean just focusing on added sugars, she said.

“You can’t point out one single thing and blame that on any sort of health crisis, either now or 40 years ago,” Hogan said. “It’s never just one thing, whether that’s sugar or saturated fat or whatever the trendy thing might be.”

The new paper was published online in November in the journal PLOS Biology. It was funded by a grant from the U.S. National Cancer Institute, among others.

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Written By: Dennis Thompson

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National Testosterone Restoration for Men
Wellness & Preventative Medicine


From Causing Cancer To Treating Depression, 6 Little-Known Facts About Oral Sex

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Before the Clinton years and well after the Michael Douglas days, the notion of oral sex has been considered taboo. Now, oral sex is more openly discussed in movies, TV shows, and magazines as a pleasurable part of a healthy adult relationship. However, there’s much about oral sex that sexually active people should know before performing fellatio or cunnilingus on their partner.

In the U.S., 27 percent of men and 19 percent of women have had oral sex in the past year, according to a 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB).  Meanwhile in 2012, two-thirds of young Americans aged 15 to 24 have engaged in oral sex. Most of these young adults have tried oral sex before they engage in intercourse because of the popular misconception that oral sex is “risk-free,” but that’s not the case.

The surprising facts below will clarify misinformation surrounding sex, especially oral sex, and what can happen to the human body.

1. Men give oral sex as much as they receive it, especially older men.

Contrary to popular belief, men, especially older men, give as much oral sex to women as women give to men. A 2010 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found only 55 percent of men in the 20 to 24-year-old range admitted to giving oral sex in the past year compared to 75 percent of women. In the 30 to 39 age range, 69 percent of men have given women oral sex compared to 59 percent of women. This pattern suggests that the more you age, the more reciprocal you are in oral sex.

2. Giving oral sex can lower the risk of preeclampsia.

Pregnant women who perform oral sex on their male partner can lower their risk of preeclampsia. A 2000 study published in the Journal of Reproductive Immunology found women a strong correlation between a diminished incidence of preeclampsia and the frequency at which a woman practices oral sex. If a woman had relatively little prior exposure to the father’s semen, she would have a higher risk of developing the condition compared to if she performed oral sex and swallowed his semen.

The researchers believe this occurs because of the development of immunological tolerance via oral insertion and gastrointestinal absorption of the semen. This supports the notion that a greater frequency of sex with the same partner who is the father of a woman’s child, can significantly decrease her chances of developing preeclampsia. The pregnancy complication is characterized by high blood pressure, and can sometimes be accompanied by fluid retention and proteinuria.

3. Swallowing semen during oral sex can ease pregnancy morning sickness.

Typically, the nausea that occurs during the first few months of pregnancy, morning sickness, can be remedied with a teaspoon of ginger or mint. However, a 2012 paper written by SUNY-Albany psychologist Gordon Gallup suggests pregnant women who swallow the father’s semen can actually cure their episodes of morning sickness.  The woman’s body will first reject the father’s semen upon ingestion as an infection and then react to it by vomiting, according to Gallup. After this, the woman’s body will build up a tolerance to it and alleviate the morning sickness symptoms.

4. Sperm via oral sex can lower the risk of depression.

Semen’s mood altering chemicals can elevate mood, increase affection, and ward off depression. A 2012 studypublished in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior found seminal fluid may contain antidepressant properties and may significantly lower depression in women who had oral sex and sexual intercourse. The researchers also noted women who described themselves as “promiscuous” yet used condoms, were as depressed as women who practice absinthe. This implies how it’s not the semen, not the sex that made the women in this study happy.

5. Oral sex can give you cancer.

The link between oropharynx cancers and HPV has been growing overtime in the U.S. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found the proportion of cancers associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) rose from 16 percent to 72 percent from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, particularly among Caucasian middle-age men. The sexually transmitted disease (STI) can cause genital warts or present itself without symptoms. If it’s left untreated, it can also cause cancers including cervix, anus, penis, vagina, and head and neck, among many others.

6. You can get STDs from oral sex.

STDs are commonly transmitted through vagina and anal sex, but unprotected oral sex can also put you at risk for them. HPV, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and hepatitis B can all be spread through oral sex. According to Planned Parenthood, the human immunodeficiency virus is less likely to be transmitted through this.

Oral sex is still sex and should always be performed with caution and preferably with a condom on to reduce the transmission of STDs.

Written By: Lizette Borreli

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How Much Booze Do You Have To Drink To Mess With Your Hormones?

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We all love to unwind at the end of the day. Sometimes that’s a great bout of yoga or high-intensity training, and sometimes it’s a glass of wine or a favorite cocktail. Everything in moderation, right?

Or not? Have you ever wondered what impact (if any) alcohol has on your hormones? And just how much is too much? Is any amount “safe”? What is alcohol doing inside our bodies? And what does moderate consumption even mean?

To answer those questions, let’s take it one step at a time.

Alcohol consumption can increase estrogen—but it’s not the same for everyone.

According to clinical studies, moderate alcohol consumption can vary with life stages. What you consume at age 20 may not be the same as what you consume at age 40—and what you drink will affect your hormones really differently as well. As a woman ages, her hormones fluctuate; therefore, less alcohol is needed to have larger hormonal effects over time. For a woman in her 40s or 50s, even “moderate” amounts of alcohol can affect the hormonal system.

Drinking alcohol can cause a rise in estrogen and a decrease in progesterone in premenopausal women. Some studies even suggest that menopause was delayed by moderate alcohol consumption, since “alcohol consumption was significantly correlated with estrogen levels.” Though binge drinking (five or more drinks in one day) is the most detrimental, in terms of hormonal disruption and other health problems, this study suggests that moderate alcohol consumption needs further analysis to determine its health impact.

Alcohol consumption can decrease testosterone—but it depends how much you drink.

According to a study by the Testosterone Centers of Texas, “alcohol is the enemy of testosterone.” Testosterone is important for both men and women (although men have much more)! It’s well-known as the hormone for sex drive and libido, but it is a key player in muscle formation, bone mass, fat distribution, and brain health. Low testosterone (caused by alcohol or something else) in both men and women can result in brain fog, fatigue, irritability, lower muscle mass, and lower motivation.

The Testosterone Centers study goes on to cite that the decrease in testosterone is in direct relation to the amount of alcohol consumed, which poses the question: How much is too much?

In this particular study, the findings suggest that drinking two to three beers a day caused a “slight” reduction in testosterone for men and none for women, a good sign that moderate drinking doesn’t have that huge of an impact. The way in which alcohol affects hormone levels is related to the chemicals alcohol contains. Beer and wine contain chemicals that can increase estrogen, thereby lowering testosterone.

Heavy drinking (more than three drinks a day) is the real culprit for all kinds of health maladies in both men and women: weight gain, lowered testosterone levels in men, and increased testosterone levels in women. Both sexes are affected in terms of fertility. Studies have shown that men who drink in excess suffer from both fertility and “abnormally low testosterone.”

How to balance drinking with a healthy lifestyle.

Though most studies seem to suggest moderate alcohol intake may not cause any health issues in men and women, I’ve found in my years as a practitioner that “moderate” can mean very different things to different people.

The best solution? Consult with your health care provider to:

  • Determine a baseline for your health.
  • Talk to (and trust) your doctor to let her or him know your accurate alcohol intake on a weekly basis.
  • Follow-up, on a regular basis, about how that intake may be or may not be affecting your health.

The bottom line: What’s moderate and appropriate for you might not be the same as what’s moderate and appropriate for me—especially when it comes to hormone balance.

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Written By: Dr. Amy Shah


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Can Having Sex More Frequently Lower A Man’s Sperm Count?

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Common word around frequent sex is that it may lead to infertility in men due to lowered sperm count. But how true is the commonly believed statement? Find out here.

Excess of everything is bad. Or not?

Sex is so much fun that you just feel like doing it over and over again. The desire to do it again and again is never-ending. But how much sex is good for you? How often can you have sex without the fear that it may affect your fertility? For a woman, fertility refers to her ability to get pregnant and for men; it is about his ability to impregnate a woman. But the question that stays is, ‘Does frequent sex affect a man’s sperm count?’ Let’s find out!

You may have heard that having sex once a week is good for you and does not harm fertility. Too much sex may eventually lower a man’s sperm count which eventually leads to infertility. Well, it’s just a myth!

Myths like having sex too much and too often can lead to physical weakness and fatigue and most importantly lowering of sperm count are all around us. But what happens is, sperms inside the testicles pass through the testes during masturbation. If not released, the sperms stay here for as long as 15 to 25 days.

What happens when sex becomes infrequent?

When sperms are stored inside the body for too long, it causes damage to DNA. Sperms in the body are too sensitive to heat and exposure. When released after a long time, their mobility is affected by heat and radiation. As a result, the sperms released are of an abnormal shape, low in count and have low mobility which together contributes to male infertility.
How does frequent ejaculation affect sperm count?

The body needs anything between 24-36 hours for creating more sperms. So apparently, frequent sex can lower sperm count. But here’s a catch, fresher the sperm, higher the motility! Fresh sperms are more live and have higher motility improving fertility. Hence, if sperms are stored inside the body for too long, it can lead to lower fertility as they become more sensitive to harm from heat and exposure. Experts explain that infrequent ejaculation can put a man’s fertility at risk and a man can stay without ejaculation for as many as 7 days.

So, if you are trying to conceive, having sex every 2-3 days is good for you. This way, fresh sperms are available for the ovum and it can lead to higher chances of conception. Also, having sex daily before ovulation is an added advantage as it improves fertility to a great extent.

So gentlemen, time to get over the fear that too much sex will harm your fertility and bring your sperm count to a low level. Quit counting numbers and engage in passionate love-making with your partner to bond and get rid of too much stress as well.

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