Friday, July 20, 2012

This Is Your Brain On Sugar? More Dangerous Than Cigarettes. Attacks Your Liver Like Alcohol. Armstrong On Moon. Viking on Mars. Be Prepared. RIP Stella.

For “Foodie Friday”:

Depression: Your Brain on Sugar

by Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist on February 7, 2012

“You’ve no doubt seen the television ads warning “this is your brain on drugs”.   These public service announcements are designed to be visually shocking thereby discouraging youth drug abuse by comparing the brain to an egg and a fried egg in a pan to a brain on drugs.

The same can be said about the effects of sugar on the brain.  In the case of sugar, however, the effects are marked by a high risk of long term mental illness like depression rather than a brief yet dangerous, drug induced high.

Depression is at epidemic proportions in our modern society.  Even children are not immune with some estimates putting 1 in every 8 teenagers as clinically depressed.  What’s more, major depression is projected to become the #2 disability in the United States by 2020 with 1/4 of the population suffering its devastating impact sometime during their lives.

Are Antidepressant Drugs the Answer?

When the sobering diagnosis of depression is given, the typical remedy given by doctors is a script for antidepressant drugs.  According to Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body Primal Mind, and a speaker at the Wise Traditions 2010 Conference, however, antidepressant drugs only have about a 13% effectiveness rate, just slightly better than a placebo.

Moreover, for the small minority of people for whom antidepressants actually help, 30-40% of them will not find antidepressant drugs effective over the long term.

Bottom line?  If you are depressed, don’t look to drugs as the long term solution especially if you want to maintain a normal sex life.  Antidepressants are well known to significantly dampen or even completely eliminate libido!

Instead of drugs, look to your diet as the best long term solution to depression.” More at:


What Eating Too Much Sugar Does to Your Brain, by Forbes.

“According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American consumes 156 pounds of added sugar per year. That’s five grocery store shelves loaded with 30 or so one pound bags of sugar each.  If you find that hard to believe, that’s probably because sugar is so ubiquitous in our diets that most of us have no idea how much we’re consuming.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) puts the amount at 27.5 teaspoons of sugar a day per capita, which translates to 440 calories  – nearly one quarter of a typical 2000 calorie a day diet.

The key word in all of the stats is “added.”  While a healthy diet would contain a significant amount of naturally occurring sugar (in fruits and grains, for example), the problem is that we’re chronically consuming much more added sugar in processed foods.  That’s an important clarification because our brains need sugar every day to function.  Brain cells require two times the energy needed by all the other cells in the body; roughly 10% of our total daily energy requirements.  This energy is derived from glucose (blood sugar), the gasoline of our brains. Sugar is not the brain’s enemy — added sugar is.

Research indicates that a diet high in added sugar reduces the production of a brain chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Without BDNF, our brains can’t form new memories and we can’t learn (or remember) much of anything. Levels of BDNF are particularly low in people with an impaired glucose metabolism–diabetics and pre-diabetics–and as the amount of BDNF decreases, sugar metabolism worsens.

This Is Your Brain onIn other words, chronically eating added sugar reduces BDNF, and then the lowered levels of the brain chemical begin contributing to insulin resistance, which leads to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which eventually leads to a host of other health problems.  Once that happens, your brain and body are in a destructive cycle that’s difficult if not impossible to reverse.”      More at:


This is your brain on sugar: This Is Your Brain On Sugar

UCLA study shows high-fructose diet sabotages learning and memory.

“A new UCLA study is the first to show how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning — and how omega-3 fatty acids can counteract the disruption. The peer-reviewed Journal of Physiology publishes the findings in its May 15 edition.

"Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think," said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. "Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain's ability to learn and remember information. But adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage."

While earlier research has revealed how fructose harms the body through its role in diabetes, obesity and fatty liver, this study is the first to uncover how the sweetener influences the brain.

The UCLA team zeroed in on high-fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive liquid six times sweeter than cane sugar, that is commonly added to processed foods, including soft drinks, condiments, applesauce and baby food. The average American consumes more than 40 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup per year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"We're not talking about naturally occurring fructose in fruits, which also contain important antioxidants," explained Gomez-Pinilla, who is also a member of UCLA's Brain Research Institute and Brain Injury Research Center. "We're concerned about high-fructose corn syrup that is added to manufactured food products as a sweetener and preservative."

"Insulin is important in the body for controlling blood sugar, but it may play a different role in the brain, where insulin appears to disturb memory and learning," he said. "Our study shows that a high-fructose diet harms the brain as well as the body. This is something new."

Gomez-Pinilla, a native of Chile and an exercise enthusiast who practices what he preaches, advises people to keep fructose intake to a minimum and swap sugary desserts for fresh berries and Greek yogurt, which he keeps within arm's reach in a small refrigerator in his office. An occasional bar of dark chocolate that hasn't been processed with a lot of extra sweetener is fine too, he said.

Still planning to throw caution to the wind and indulge in a hot-fudge sundae? Then also eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds, or take a daily DHA capsule. Gomez-Pinilla recommends one gram of DHA per day.

"Our findings suggest that consuming DHA regularly protects the brain against fructose's harmful effects," said Gomez-Pinilla. "It's like saving money in the bank. You want to build a reserve for your brain to tap when it requires extra fuel to fight off future diseases." More at:


Finally, Proof for My Assertion That Sugar is More Dangerous Than Cigarettes

“Among more than 9,500 Americans surveyed, obesity was associated with higher rates of chronic medical problems and a poorer quality of life than was alcohol abuse, smoking and poverty.

What's more, there are more overweight and obese adults in the US today than there are smokers or problem drinkers, according to findings published in the current issue of the British journal Public Health.

While 36% of respondents were overweight and 23% were obese, about 14% were poor, 6% heavy drinkers and 19% daily smokers.

These findings highlight the need for public programs that target obesity rates in America.  Americans haven't given overweight the same attention as other risks, like smoking, but it is clearly a top health problem and one that is on the rise in all segments of the population.

These findings reinforce prior recommendations that weight control become a higher national priority, especially given the dramatic increases in prevalence of overweight.

Researchers analyzed data from interviews with adults nationwide regarding their height, weight, income, smoking and drinking habits and chronic medical conditions.

People who smoked throughout their lives and lived in poverty were significantly more likely to have a chronic disease such as asthma, diabetes, arthritis or heart disease. But the effects of smoking and poverty were smaller than those of obesity on both a person's health and quality of life.  Obesity is highly prevalent and associated with at least as much morbidity in terms of chronic medical conditions and reduction in physical health-related quality-of-life as are poverty, smoking, and problem drinking.

Obesity has been shown to raise the risk of

  • heart disease
  • osteoarthritis
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure and certain types of cancer

But research also shows that while even modest weight loss can improve health, Americans continue to pack on the pounds.”     More at:


Attacks Your Liver Like Alcohol - Is Sugar What's Making You Flabby and Sick?
  • “Between 1985 and 2010, average daily caloric intake rose by eight percent, while diabetes rates rose by 727 percent. Clearly, total calorie consumption cannot explain the meteoric rise in obesity-related diseases.
  • Researchers discovered that it’s the increase in total fats and carbohydrates specifically that’s causing the massive weight gain in people around the world. It’s the combination of fat and carb that causes metabolic disruption.
  • The only food on Earth that is both a fat and a carbohydrate, is sugar, which includes both sucrose (regular table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup—both of which contain both glucose and fructose.
  • Your body metabolizes glucose and fructose in two distinctly different ways. Fructose is metabolized much like alcohol, and damages your liver and causes mitochondrial and metabolic dysfunction in the same way as ethanol and other toxins.”

“Dr. Robert Lustig illustrates the overabundance of sugar in today's processed convenience foods and explains how our bodies metabolize these sugars in the same way as alcohol or other toxins, causing damage to the liver and other organs.”    Complete article at:


On This Day:

Armstrong walks on moon, Jul 20, 1969:

“At 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.

At 5:35 p.m., Armstrong and Aldrin successfully docked and rejoined Collins, and at 12:56 a.m. on July 22 Apollo 11 began its journey home, safely splashing down in the Pacific Ocean at 12:51 p.m. on July 24.

There would be five more successful lunar landing missions, and one unplanned lunar swing-by, Apollo 13. The last men to walk on the moon, astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt of the Apollo 17 mission, left the lunar surface on December 14, 1972. The Apollo program was a costly and labor intensive endeavor, involving an estimated 400,000 engineers, technicians, and scientists, and costing $24 billion (close to $100 billion in today's dollars). The expense was justified by Kennedy's 1961 mandate to beat the Soviets to the moon, and after the feat was accomplished ongoing missions lost their viability.”


Viking 1 lands on Mars, Jul 20, 1976:

“On the seventh anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, the Viking 1 lander, an unmanned U.S. planetary probe, becomes the first spacecraft to successfully land on the surface of Mars.

Viking 1 was launched on August 20, 1975, and arrived at Mars on June 19, 1976. The first month of its orbit was devoted to imaging the surface to find appropriate landing sites. On July 20, 1976, the Viking 1 lander separated from the orbiter, touched down on the Chryse Planitia region of Mars, and sent back the first close-up photographs of the rust-colored Martian surface.

In September 1976, Viking 2--launched only three weeks after Viking 1--entered into orbit around Mars, where it assisted Viking 1 in imaging the surface and also sent down a lander. During the dual Viking missions, the two orbiters imaged the entire surface of Mars at a resolution of 150 to 300 meters, and the two landers sent back more than 1,400 images of the planet's surface.”


 Be Prepared

“What does the Boy Scout motto and a day mentioned in the Bible have in common?”

“When I was growing up, I was in the boy scouts. And the motto of the boy scouts is "Be Prepared". Little did I know that that also has a biblical significance. There's an interesting passage in Mark 15:42: Here's what it says, "Now the evening had come because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath." Now, you might say, well, what's the significance of that?”

Transcript at:



Jay cut the plywood out from under two more soffit vents, and Ray did some more painting.

This, amongst other tales about Spindletop, 1/2 a mile from my house, will haunt me for a long time:

“Mass death at Spindletop Refuge: the story of Stella

Stella looking skyward with hope

Willis, TX: Stella was a pit bull. She was abandoned last summer with Amber in the hot Houston, Texas heat. Her ears had been butchered off with dried blood running down the sides of Stellaher face.

Stella and Amber were left noosed to a fenced vacant lot. After all of the horror that Stella and Amber have experienced, the worst was only yet to come.

A kindly Samaritan found the girls and contacted Reunion Rescue. An article was written about Stella and Amber and a Facebook page was created for them. After establishing a chip in, money was raised to board the dogs at Spindletop Rescue in Willis.  View slideshow: Stella looking skyward with hope



Almost $9,000 had been raised and sent to Spindletop for the care and boarding of Stella, Amber and two other dogs. Throughout the past year, Reunion Rescue was informed that Stella and Amber were ‘unadoptable’ and ‘aggressive’.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 a raid on the Spindletop facility resulted in the confiscation of 298 dogs. Stella was not one of these dogs.

According to a former employee, Stella was one of 38 dogs who died of heat suffocation and were buried on the property. The young man confirmed her death and added, “Stella was an amazing dog. She was one of many that I looked forward to working with every day when I came to work.”

When told of Stella’s horrible death, her Samaritan broke down. “She was my little pot bellied pig.” When asked about Stella, her benefactor told about Stella playing with her little dogs. This is the same dog deemed too ‘aggressive’ to be adopted by Spindletop director, Leah Purcell.

Everything about this horrible affair is wrong. Stella and Amber could have been adopted. How many others at this place died who could have been in homes instead of literally tortured to death and secretly buried in a filthy mass grave.”    From:   RIP Stella.

Today’s post was written long before I read about Stella, and I am too choked up to write any more today.


Dizzy-Dick said...

The only sugar I get is in my Blue Bell Ice Cream. I do put both vinegar and honey on my salads, but honey is good for you, right?

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Hi DD, thank you for your comment.

I hardly ever eat ice cream, I just forget to put it on the list!!

Honey is a food, not just empty calories like sugar.

Happy Tails and Trails, Penny.