Agave: What’s the Scoop About this Sweetener?

Agave syrupOne of the most frequently asked questions I get is about agave, the honey-colored liquid that’s popular with many health-minded people.

Inevitably, the subject of agave comes up whenever I lecture or take on a new client.

Generally, these health-minded people have heard wonderful things about agave, especially that it’s low on the glycemic index.

You, too, as a health-minded person — I assume you are since you’re reading this blog — may want to know:

  • Is agave safe?
  • Can I use agave as a sugar substitute?

For those of you who are fans of agave, my short answer is this: I don’t recommend it.

Learn more about agave here.

SUGAR SHOCK! Defined

Overeating Since gingerbread cookies, eggnog, candy canes and chocolate geld (coins) abound at this time of year and you'll undoubtedly often be offered those and other tempting sweets this month, I invite you to start a process of self-discovery.

That's right, in my opinion, December is not the month to kick your sugar habit (unless you insist!)

Instead, I encourage you to learn what shock is and then do what I call "sugary soul searching" so you can learn if this applies to you.

Ask yourself such questions as:

When do sugary "treats" call out to you? Why do you cave into your candy cravings? How do you feel after eating sweets?

Then, just pay attention to how you behave all month. (Next month, we'll delve into the value of doing sugary soul searching and how it can help you to break free of your harmful habit.)

Now, let's revisit the definition of SUGAR SHOCK! — which I gave here on this blog, in October 2006.

The idea to do this hit me, because my new Facebook friend Terri asked me, "What do you mean by Sugar Shock Connie?? I love how it sounds!!"

So here's my definition of sugar shock, which is also included in my book of the same name. (You can get a sneak peek of my book SUGAR SHOCK! here.)

Please bear in mind that sugar shock is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, including some one-quarter to one-half of the U.S. population.

SUGAR SHOCK!™ defined – A mood-damaging, personality-bending, health-destroying, confusion-creating constellation of symptoms affecting millions of peoople worldwide, who often turn to processed sweets and much-like-sugar carbs, which send their blood sugar levels wildly soaring and plummeting.

The term SUGAR SHOCK! is intended to encompass the often-misdiagnosed and maligned condition of reactive hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), as well as other blood sugar disorders, from insulin resistance to diabetes.

Considerable research reveals that repeatedly overconsuming sweeteners, dessert foods, and culprit, quickie carbs (such as white rice, French bread, chips, etc.) wreaks havoc on your blood sugar levels, overstimulates insulin release, triggers inflammation, and could contribute to more than 150 health problems, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome, severe PMS, failing memory, depression, mental confusion or "brain fog," mood swings, Candida, sexual dysfunction, infertility, wrinkles, acne, and early aging.

Victims of SUGAR SHOCK! also may experience such baffling symptoms as excessive fatigue,  headaches, dizziness, cold sweats, anxiety, irritability, tremors, crying spells, drowsiness or the opposite (sleeplessness), forgetfulness, heart palpitations, nightmares, blurred vision, muscle pains, temper outbursts, suicidal thoughts, and more.

Ultimately, this insidious SUGAR SHOCK! roller-coaster effect brought on by eating too many inferior carbs hampers sufferers' ability to function at full throttle–or even half throttle.

Does this sound like something you or a loved one is going through? Would you like to learn more about sugar shock?

Grab a sneak peek now of my book SUGAR SHOCK! now.

Or just get your copy of SUGAR SHOCK! now to read during or after the holidays. This book is ideal to read in January so you can break free of your habit to lose weight, get energy, focus better, become happier and, of course, healthier.

Got Milk Full of Sugar?

Milk Parents and health advocates, are you OK with either your kids or our nation’s children regularly having 3 teaspoons of sugar added to one 8-ounce glass of milk?

Well, that’s basically what our youngsters all around the nation are being encouraged to do, starting this week as the National Dairy Council — creators of the “Got Milk? cammpaign — launches a new campaign to heavily promote sugar-filled chocolate milk in schools across the country.

Hemi Weingarten, a fellow blogger at the Huffington Post, alerted us to this development.

All that added sugar — over 3 teaspoons worth — has rightfully raised the ire of health advocates, points out AP writer Emily Fredrix

In fact, experts like Marlene Schwartz, Ph.D., deputy directory of the Rudd Center
for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, recommends tossing the chocolate milk. I agree with what she told Fredix — that kids already have too much sugar and chocolate milk
has no place in schools.

Clearly, children already are in sugar shock with all the sweets they consume each year.

In fact, the additional sugar in flavored milk can add up to an extra 5 pounds of body weight over the course of a school year, Renegade Lunch Lady Ann Cooper told the AP.

What’s the matter with regular milk? You don’t need to make milk sweet to get kids to drink it!

Facebook Disabled My Account: Too Friendly too Fast?

Lindsay Lohan Facebook has disabled both my account, www.Facebook.com/ConnieBennett, and my public page, www.Facebook.com/SmartHabitsFans.

(Although I can't post to the latter fan page, I believe you can still join and post comments to previous posts.)

Suffice it to say that I was quite disappointed upon being told:

Your account has been disabled by an administrator. If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page here.

I finally discovered the error of my ways — my "violation" after carefully reviewing Facebook's Warnings.

I also absorbed such helpful blog posts as "13 Reasons Your Facebook Acount Will be Disabled" Facebook from Thor Muller of Get Satisfaction and "Facebook Account Deactivation — Can It Be Avoided" from Facebook guru Mari Smith.

Apparently, my offense was this: I wrote too quickly to people who'd
requested to be my friends before accepting them. At the same time, I did what thought was a smart time-saving move — I simply cut and pasted innocuous messages such as "Wow! Lots of friends in common. Look forward to your posts."

GuyTo put on my playful attitude (you have to in a case like this!), a fun way to describe my Facebook violation is this: I was too friendly too fast for Facebook! That, combined with cutting and pasting messages, was interpreted as being potentially "annoying or abusive."

As best as I can guess, Facebook erroneously assumed that I was a spamming machine instead of a health-oriented, flesh-and-blood lady, who often encourages people to get on the social networking site, which had 250 million followers as of July 15, 2009, according to CEO/founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook, I've now learned, limits the number of times a user can send the same
message or make the same post. (I've learned my lesson! So much for saving time!)

Clearly, Facebook needs to set limits to protect users from spam, but unfortunately in its zeal to do so, many of us innocents are wrongly tossed out of the site. If you're on Facebook, I would strongly advise reading all of Rights & Responsibilities so you don't suffer similarly. Anyhow, I hope to be back on Facebook soon to connect with you, but in the meantime, here's what I discovered about the unsettling experience of being booted off the social networking place to be.

Every day, about 6,000 people are banned for a variety of reasons, according a site that helps people, whose accounts have been disabled. (The Facebook Disabled site is not affiliated with Facebook.)

Although I can't vouch for these figures (trying to reach a Facebook rep to ask questions for a story), if you get on Google to do a search for "Facebook Robert_Scoble_(cropped) account disabled," you turn up a whopping 38,100,000 hits (as of today).

Among those who've been disabled are the renowned Internet marketers/social media gurus/authors Robert Scoble (to your left here) and Guy Kawasaki (above left), as well as actress Lindsay Lohan, who vented about her mistaken identity on MySpace.

You also can read about the travails of Jo-Anne Vandermeulen, author of Conquer All Obstacles, and artist Alyson B. Stanfield, author of I'd Rather Be in the Studio, as well as reporter Craig Daitch of Advertising Age.

Meanwhile, you can get enlightened by Computer World,  ("Disgruntled Facebook Users Look to Get Disabled Accounts Reactivated"). In addition, you can learn from the articles on TechCrunch "Facebook-Stirring Up Anger for Disabling Accounts") and the Sydney Morning Herald ("Facebook-Giveth, Facebook Taketh Away.")

Moving over to YouTube, you can watch Dark Angel, whose account was shut down twice because he wasn't using his real name, according to Facebook, that is. (He had his name legally changed.) You can even watch a parody from Internet strategist  Erin Blaskie. (See video below.)

Despite my challenges of being disabled, I'm still a huge fan of Facebook, which is why I invite you to still be active on it but be careful. Listen now to my radio show about Facebook with the following experts:

Karel Baloun 1265907798a4656712569ml Special thanks to Karel (left), a former Facebook engineeer, for being so nice to me since my account was disabled. Greg was also helpful.

Stay tuned for an upcoming Gab With the Gurus Radio Show –– date is being determined — that will teach you about Facebook's rules and regulations and help you avoid my fate and NOT to be disabled from the site.

But first listen to the fun Facebook radio show with all the experts cited above. Meanwhile, if you're a journalist, here's another great radio show about Facebook with Sree Sreenivasan, Dean of Student Affairs and Columbia University digital media professor.

Now, get entertained by Erin Blaskie's parody, "I was Banned From Facebook — Game Show Parody."

Speak Out Against Ill-Advised Coke-Doctors Partnership

Coke with polar bear Please pass this post — which also appears on the Huffington Post — to your friends, family members, colleagues and, in particular, your physician friends and contacts.

Recently, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)–in a move away from pharmaceutical funding–accepted a "strong six-figure" grant for a new "consumer alliance partnership" with the Coca-Cola Company, the world's largest beverage company, to create content about beverages and sweeteners for its consumer website.www.FamilyDoctor.org.

The academy–which represented 94,614 family physicians, residents and medical students nationwide as of Dec. 2008–should be ashamed of itself for accepting a six-figure sum from a soda company that sells empty-calorie, sweet drinks–usually with fructose–which numerous peer-reviewed medical studies link to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes and even premature death.

Fat kids In my opinion, it's a conflict of interest for the AAFP — whose vision is "to achieve optimal health for everyone" — to allow Coke to "educate" visitors to its website in how nutrient-lacking, obesity-generating beverages can fit into a "healthy" lifestyle.

Furthermore, it's hard to fathom how www.FamilyDoctor.org can offer "credible information on beverages and enable consumers to make informed decisions," as a Coca-Cola spokesperson now maintains on the AAFP website.

For a doctors' group to take a high six-figure sum from Coke is like accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from Big Tobacco to create physician-approved website content that claims smoking cigarettes can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

(more…)

Candy-Chomping Kids Commit Crimes as Adults

Candy and kids Can eating too much candy on a daily basis make you commit crimes? 

If you're planning on passing out candies to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, read this first.

Kids who eat candy and other sweets daily may be more likely to be arrested for violent crime  as adults, according to a new British study, which you can read about on MSNBC and other organizations.

Curiously, this startling study was published soon before this widely accepted sugar-giving holiday, in the October issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Researchers from Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, headed up by Simon Moore, Ph.D., a senior lecturer in the Violence and Society Research Group, looked at data from the British Cohort Study of more than 17,000 children born in 1970 in the U.K.

Studying the data of four decades, Dr. Moore and his colleagues found that 69 percent of those children who ate candies or chocolates daily at age 10, were later arrested for a violent offense by age 34, the AP reported. Of those who didn't commit any crimes, 42 percent ate sweets daily.

Dr. Moore, who has been studying children to commit serious crimes,
discovered that "kids with the worst problems tend to be impulsive risk
takers, and that these kids had terrible diets — breakfast was a Coke
and a bag of chips," he says, according TIME

To be sure, experts are critical of these conclusions, this sugar-crime connection is nothing new. In fact, you can read about other related, eye-opening studies that arrive at similar conclusions in my book SUGAR SHOCK!

(more…)

Sugar: The Bitter Truth With Dr. Robert Lustig

If you haven't quit indulging in sugar and refined carbs, then you must see this informative, eye-opening, scary presentation from the nationally renowned Robert H. Lustig, M.D., professor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology Director
of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF).

I predict that you'll get shocked into taking action — i.e., removing sugar from your life for good.

Watch now and learn why he rightly believes that "high fructose corn syrup and sucrose are both equally bad — they're both poison."

Incidentally, as I posted here, on the Sugar Shock Blog back in 2006, Dr. Lustig is a forward-thinking researcher, who made the news (in the San Francisco Chronicle) for his theories about our poisoned food supply.

Get ready for some fascinating information about:

  • What he calls "The Coca-Cola Conspiracy."
  • How we have an epidemic of obese six-month olds.
  • How the average person is consuming way too much sugar. (FYI, his figure of 141 pounds of sugar per year is too low — it's really closer to 170 to 190 pounds per person.)
  • The amount of sugar found in baby formula.
    (A lot! Of Similac Isomil, which contains 43.2% corn syrup solids and
    10.3% sugar (sucrose), Dr. Lustig says, "It’s a baby milkshake.”

See his replies here to some questions.Listen now or anytime.

Britney Spears: Does She Have Low Blood Sugar & a Sugar Addiction?

Britney Spears may be a victim of the blood sugar blues, according to the National Enquirer, which attributes a source stating that she collapsed while rehearsing..

The 27-year-old singer suffers from low blood sugar, according to the Enquirer source, who revealed that Britney’s father has been trying to keep her condition a secret.

I’m baffled. Why would Britney’s father want to keep it hush-hush that the singer has low blood sugar?

Having low blood sugar or hypoglycemia is not a condition you want to hide, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

Millions of Americans have low blood sugar, including Nichole Richie, as I also mentioned back in 2007.

In fact, more people have low blood sugar than have diabetes, but many experts believe that low blood sugar can lead to type 2 diabetes.

The good news for people with low blood sugar is that you can have a perfectly normal life, but you will need to take good care of yourself.

If you have low blood sugar, you should quit sweets and refined carbs, eat frequent meals and get plenty of rest, among other things, as I explained in Sugar Shock! (I learned all of this myself in 1998, when I was deep in the throes of my sugar addiction and suffered from many confusing ailments, including feeling faint and low on energy.)

If Britney Spears does have low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, this might explain her alleged interest in sweets, diet pills and alcohol.

Back in 2007, I posed the idea on this Sugar Shock Blog that Britney might be a sugar addict. I even posted a press release about it. I raised the issue again here.

Again, I posted about Britney’s reported sugar interest here, and the year before, in 2006, I raised the questions as to whether or not Britney was relying on wine, diet pills and cigarettes to peel off her post-baby pounds or whether she was dancing off the weight.

I also wrote about a rumor that Britney was feeding her babies sugary foods and drinks.

The
Enquirer cites sources stating that the singer doesn’t
often eat right or get enough rest. Plus she’s under a lot of stress.

All of these can exacerbate conditions of low-blood sugar, as I’ve personally experienced.

But, as I pointed out in Sugar Shock!, you can prevent mystifying hypoglycemia symptoms such as fainting, weak spells and vertigo by:

• Eating moderate portions of high-quality foods every three to four hours (or about five to six times a day).

• Completely cutting out sugar and refined carbs such as white bread, most crackers, white rice and white pasta.

• Getting ample protein, slow-acting carbohydrates (such as vegetables and low-sugar fruits) and healthy fats.

• Never skipping meals, especially breakfast.

• Exercising regularly, if possible. (Light snacks before and aftewards may also be helpful.)

• Working with a qualified nutritionist or health care professional.

Here are 9 of many warning signs of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
(These symptoms also could mean that you’re in sugar shock or have a
sugar addiction.)

1. Feeling unexplained faintness, dizziness or weak spells (such as those experienced by Britney Spears and Nicole Richie).

2.
Experiencing such baffling symptoms as staggering, lack of
coordination, abnormal weight (loss or gain) and mental confusion or
“brain fog.” .

3.
Suddenly becoming wiped out and spacey. (Usually, people with
hypoglycemia or low blood sugar wrongly grab quick, sugary snacks or
drinks, which only make matters worse.)

4. Flipping from wired to tired, at a moment’s notice.

5.
Getting abnormal, almost insatiable cravings for candy, soda and other
sweets or fast-acting, refined carbs such as chips, white flour bread
or white rice.

6. Suffering from ferocious headaches, the shakes or heart palpitations.

7. Displaying unpredictable cranky behavior, temper outbursts or crying spells.

8. Having excessive fatigue—so much so that extra sleep even doesn’t seem to help much.

9.
Hearing unconvinced loved ones or doctors falsely assuming that your
symptoms are “all in your head.”

Remember, if you have low blood sugar, you can lead a perfectly normal life. You just need to take good care of yourself which is what I’m doing this week. (I’m still on vacation but took some time out to post this.)

One other important fact to remember: If you have low blood sugar, relying on candies, cookies and other sweets is NOT the way to resolve your condition. It only makes it worse.

But if you cut out the offending sugary “treats,” you will ultimately experience a renewed energy, zest for life and much more.

Need help with your sugar addiction? I’m happy to help you.

Lakers’ Lamar Odom: Is His Candy Habit Triggering His Uneven Performance on the Basketball Court?

Lamar Odom 34519670 Why does the Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom have an uneven performance on the basketball court such as this flagrant foul?

In a blog post, entitled “The Lakers’ Lamar Odom, Sweet Tooth and Erratic Play,” Dr. Daniel Amen, a Lakers fan since a child, presents a compelling theory — the basketball player’s compulsive candy
habit is to blame.

After interviewing hundreds of experts for my book SUGAR SHOCK! and suffering my own horrific, sugar-induced nightmare, the physician’s concept makes perfect sense.

Dr. Amen, author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life and Magnificent Mind at Any Age, writes that Odom “is
unbelievably talented, but often acts like a space cadet during games.

“He can play great, and be worth his
14 million-dollar salary, or he can act like he is `missing in action.'”

Indeed, acting like a space cadet or have brain fog is clearly a manifestation of low blood sugar, which can be triggered by eating too many sweets.

Kudos to Dr. Amen for pointing out that “Odom’s massive consumption of candy leads to a
sugar high and then a crash, evidence of which can be seen on the
basketball court.”

Dr. Amen writes: “I’ve been telling my patients for years that sugar acts like a drug in
the brain. It causes blood sugar levels to spike and then crash,
leaving you feeling tired, irritable, foggy, and stupid. Eating too
much sugar impairs cognitive function, which may explain why Odom
doesn’t always make the smartest decisions on the court.”

Do you think Dr. Amen’s theory is hogwash? Bet you’ll change your mind after watching the Candy Confessions of the 6’10” Lakers forward, as revealed in this ESPN video, dubbed, “Lamar Odom: The Candy Man.”

My head is shaking in both sympathy and worry upon learning about Odom’s sweet tooth, which has to be called a sugar addiction.

“I’m the supplier of candy on that team. If you need that candy fix, I’ve got it,” he admits.

Why doesn’t his doctor alert him to the dangers of his candy ways? And why does it take a doctor who’s a fan to warn him?

Clearly, Odom doesn’t realize that his obsessive candy habit could pave the way not only to fuzzy thinking and brain fog, but to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and much more. Even though he’s doing lots of exercise on the basketball court, he still can be setting himself up for ailments galore.

Folks, let’s help him! Someone who says, “I’m like a chocolate freak at night,” needs our support.

My heart goes out to him when he admits, “It’s bad. We all got our vices, and sugar is just one of mine.”

Oh my goodness, no offense meant, but Odom, you need HELP now! Your sugar habit could do you in!

Sounds like you could benefit from both my book SUGAR SHOCK!, as well as from Dr. Amen’s books, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life and Magnificent Mind at Any Age.

Special thanks to Los Angeles Times reporter Mike Penner for sharing this candy concept.

FYI, in deference to my sugar-addict fans and because I’m dedicated to helping people break free of their sugar addiction so that they can concentrate better, lose weight, relieve depression, boost their libido and more, I’m deliberately not naming Odom’s many candy preferences by name.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Some Scary Facts to Consider Before You Gulp Down Soda

Oreos hfcs Did you know that consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the U.S. — which can be found in a plethora of cookies, candies and fast-foods — has increased by a a whopping 10,673 percent between 1970 and 2005? So reports the USDA Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption report.

Are you one of millions, who,  according to the USDA report, consume one-quarter of your calories from added sugars, most of which comes from high fructose corn syrup, as mercola.com pointed out?

Meanwhile, have you heard about the a recent study, which reveals that a diet high in high fructose corn syrup may be partly to blame for insulin resistance?

And did you learn here on the Sugar Shock Blog about the health-harming mercury that’s been found recently in foods containing high fructose corn syrup?

What’s more, are you aware that in the past decade, as people’s consumption of HFCS has soared unabated, diabetes has increased by a staggering 90 percent and 8 percent or 24 million Americans now have diabetes?

You’ve just heard ample reasons to eliminate high fructose corn syrup from your diet, right?

Are you getting motivated to kick the sweetener despite the misleading pro-HFCS propaganda you’ve been subjected to recently, as I’ve pointed out here and also here, when I was interviewed for the 3 Minute Advertising Age piece, “A Sour Review of Corn Refiners’ Sweetener Ads.”

For those of you still hooked on soda, candies and other foods laced with HFCS, I hope this will prompt you to realize how important it is to cut out the high fructose corn syrup so you can become healthy!

Stay tuned about my upcoming program to help you break free of this and other unhealthy habits.

Special thanks to Babble.com for the artwork used here.