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Thursday, February 26, 2015

I REPEAT, SUGAR IS BAD, BUT EATING HIGH CHOLESTEROL FOOD, MIGHT, ACTUALLY, NOW BE OKAY

Every five years the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health/Human Services revise diet guidelines.  Yesterday, we heard that sugar was bad for your health.  Nothing new, but now the matter of taxing sugar products is being advanced.  The next step to is to sock it to, especially, fructose.  Get ready for some resistance from the corn industry, which, to a much lower degree, is where tobacco was  half a century ago.

As someone whose first job as a chemical engineer was a sugar factory engineer for C. Brewer in the southernmost community in the USA, Naalehu, the fall of this sweet toxin has been like a bad dream.  Fortuitously, that same half a century ago I essentially left sugar processing for research and graduate school, which resulted in a Biochemical Engineering PhD and a lifelong tenure with the University of Hawaii.

I still have an office on the Manoa Campus and almost can't believe my luck, for instead of having to suffer through the tribulations of life in a sugar factory if I never left Kau on the Big Island, I instead went on to  laser fusion with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence with NASA, helping draft original legislation for hydrogen, ocean energy, wind power and more for the U.S. Senate, and a professional lifetime developing renewable energy and sustainable ocean resources.  All this while traveling more than 2 million miles with United Airlines and taking a dozen around the world trips, dining at Michelin 3-Star and Pellegrino Best 100 restaurants.  Was this pure luck, or by design?

So today, I shift to the latest U-turn of the medical profession:  you now can essentially go back to eating foods with high cholesterol, like eggs, steaks, butter, lobster and shrimp.  The truly embarrassing part to all this is that our best scientific minds actually confused dietary cholesterol and serum (what is in your blood) cholesterol.  Incredibly, this same panel seems also to be backtracking on the dangers of salt (sodium) and eating read meat, in the sense that those current limits were left vague and uncertain.  Wow, it's a good thing I never listened to them and maintained a diet high in cholesterol and salt, while enjoying my steak, now and then.

Mind you, a high cholesterol count in your blood is not good at all.  It's just that, not the food you eat, but the following factors are to blame:
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Genetic inheritance
  • Diabetes
Ironically enough, FRUCTOSE, a sugar, can induce diabetes, which raises your cholesterol, leading to heart attacks and strokes.  So, enjoy your morning egg, but watch out for those corn syrup sweeteners.

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