The War on Sugar: The Use and Abuse of Sugar on American Diets

Sugar was historically, like so many popular foods and illegal substances, once used as a medicine. Sugar was first officially given medical status from St. Thomas Aquinas, but its medicinal use can be tracked back to popular cures during the Middle Ages and before. Similar cases include ketchup, methamphetamine, and cigarettes. Ketchup was based on a Chinese condiment made with fish oils and used as a medicine until the late 19th century. Methamphetamine got approval from the FDA for the treatment of such things as seasonal allergies and alcoholism, and wasn’t made unavailable to the majority of the public until the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Though cigarettes have since been found to have harmful and even fatal side effects, they were commonly used in the 19th and 20th centuries to aid digestion.

It’s no surprise then, despite the fact that sugar is an American staple, that sugar has been found to have side effects similar to illegal drugs and alcohol. Sugar is addictive and can have extreme side effects when cut from the diet entirely. Sugar has been worked into almost every food and drink in the United States, and the US leads the world in a detrimental focus on sweetness.

The FDA has categorized sugar as a food additive and GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe). The average American consumes about 60-65% more sugar than what the human body can process correctly — that’s about 20-30 teaspoons of extra sugar. Margaret Hamburg, former FDA Commissioner discussed the war on sugar in a recent Freakonomics podcast.

When the impact of sugar on the body is considered, it has been found to cause insulin resistance in organs like the liver, in a way comparable to alcohol. There has been a severe increase in the number of people with diabetes in America, as well as in Europe and Asia. This has been thought to be linked to the high sugar levels in foods designed for cost-effectiveness and enjoyment. Drinking a bottle of soda with the average amount of sugar puts excess strain on the liver, which leaves leftover sugars to be converted into liver fat — a key contributor to type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and issues regulating metabolism. Sugar itself is not necessary in the human diet, and excessive sugar is known to cause similar symptoms to those found in substance abuse.

The regulation of sugar has already begun. Taxes on sugary drinks is just the beginning. But what will it take to effectively reduce sugar consumption?

This entry was posted in Health.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Makes Heart Care More Available

The Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has now been officially declared the center for cardiac issues. All individuals experiencing chest pain will now be taken care of at the clinic’s emergency room and heart disease consultants will give medical care to all patients at this early stage.
Increase in Patients

In 2016, the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi registered a large demand for heart patients in the emergency room. Some 2000 more people visited the emergency room than the previous year.
Individuals came in from nearby countries with chest pain, heart failure, and heart attacks. The hospital now has the capabilities and the staff to help a large number of patients from the region.

Citizens, residents and patients will all receive urgent specialized care from expert physicians who have years of experience in heart disease. The physicians will be on duty to care for anyone coming into the emergency room, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The clinic is equipped with the latest technologies such as advanced imaging, examination tools, and artery stents.

Teamwork with Specialists Now Available

The physicians will treat patients using hybrid robotic heart equipment for heart surgeries. There will also be teams of cardiovascular medicine and cardiothoracic physicians that can be consulted to discuss cases and plan the proper solution for each patient. Specialist doctors from other fields will also be called in when needed for consultation.

Do Not Neglect Chest Pain

At the Cleveland Clinic, Cardiologists have been warning people about neglecting chest pain. Since chest pain could be the first warning sign of a heart attack, getting treatment too late for this pain could do severe damage or cause death. Dr. Edris, a well-respected Cardiology and Cardiovascular Specialist in the United Arab Emirates says individuals are having heart attacks at a much earlier age. In the US, the average age of patients is between 50 and 60, but in the UAE it is between 40 and 50.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

All individuals should be aware of the symptoms of having a heart attack. Many people experience symptoms that start out slowly and seem like it is nothing, but people need to pay attention to their body language. Once there is any kind of chest pain that lasts more than just a couple of minutes, you should seek proper medical care.

Symptoms that require medical care would include:

  • the feeling of pressure in the chest
  • pain that lasts for over a few minutes
  • pain that increases
  • pain that is causing tightness and extends to the upper limbs or neck
  • nausea accompanied by the tightness of breath

If you have such symptoms and cannot get to the hospital immediately, call for an ambulance. Time is of the essence when dealing with chest pain.

This entry was posted in Health.

A New Coiffure for a Cancer Cure

Most people are not willing to shave their heads without a good reason. Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) has provided that reason for hundreds of willing participants with their Be Brave and Shave campaign, which raises both awareness and much-appreciated funds for CNMC in their ongoing fight against childhood cancer. Participants in the program register for personal fundraising pages through DonorDrive and then invite family, friends, and businesses to donate money to the cause. The effort culminates with the participants shaving their heads to show their solidarity with those children who lose their hair because of chemotherapy.

Be Brave and Shave events have been taking place throughout the Washington, DC metro area since 2009. The program appeals to all makes and models of philanthropists, from young private school students, local firefighters, and patients’ families, to high-ranking political officials. One such notable official was able to raise the staggering sum of nearly $550,000 dollars in one effort. H.E. Yousef Al Otaiba (, the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States, volunteered to have his head shaved for the cause in January of 2010. He raised more than $274,000 from his relatives, acquaintances, and colleagues and then very generously matched the donations himself, accounting for about 72% of the program’s donations for the entire year.

Yousef Al Otaiba was inspired to support the Be Brave and Shave initiative by fellow humanitarian Joseph E. Robert, Jr. Robert had endured a battle with brain cancer himself and had lost his own hair as a result of his cancer treatments. After months of growing his hair back, Robert decided to shave it off again for a good cause, and he personally raised $114,025 for Children’s National Medical Center.

After following Robert’s example, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba expressed his support for the hospital and the fundraising system: “Thank to the tireless work of the team at Children’s National, countless kids around the world have the support, care and attention they need to push through very challenging circumstances. I am proud to personally contribute to the hospital’s continued success.”

Although not everyone can raise $550,000 for children’s cancer research, anyone can contribute meaningfully to the success of the Be Brave and Shave campaign. Children’s National serves approximately 300 cancer-stricken children every year, and every dollar raised through this program brings them a dollar closer to finding a cure.

This entry was posted in Health.