The Last of the Newsbites 7-14 volume 3: Sucrose vs. HFCS, Walk to School | The Family Fork

The Last of the Newsbites 7-14 volume 3: Sucrose vs. HFCS, Walk to School

Phew! This is the last installment of foodie news for the week!

Sugar (sucrose) no better at controlling appetite or energy intake than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) - HFCS has been blamed for the rising obesity epidemic, but the true culprit is over consumption of calories, no matter where it comes from. Researchers report drinking a soda sweetened with sugar isn't any better for you than a soda sweetened with sucrose (table sugar to you and me). This shouldn't come as a surprise because both sucrose and HFCS contain a similar ratio of the monosaccharides glucose and fructose; about 50% glucose and 50% fructose. (Incidentally, honey has about the same profile and contains more calories per tablespoon than either sucrose or HFCS). (For more on this study go to American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).

Kids aren't walking or biking to school - I don't think we need to see a study to find this out.. just observe all the cars dropping off and picking up kids at the beginning and end of the school day. It's crazy. In a study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, only half of children who live within a mile of their school walk or ride a bike to get there. The rest are driven or take a bus. Kids are really missing a built in opportunity to increase their daily physical activity. A mile to school and a mile back is about 30 minutes (depending on how fast you walk.. the littler kids will take longer) of the 60 minutes of physical activity recommended a day for children. Interestingly enough, parents with college educations were more likely to drive their kids to school than parents with just a high school education. (The study is not on their website yet, so check back in a few days).

So why aren't kids walking to school more? The argument I hear most is 'safety'. Parents are worried their kids will get hit by a car or accosted by a stranger. Absolutely valid reasons. But let's work to make our communities more walkable and safer rather than deciding they will never be safe. And have kids walk to school in groups, there is safety in numbers. What other ideas do you have to make our neighborhoods safer for kids to walk to school? I'd like to hear more.

How did I do with the 'headlines'?
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.