Texarkana Gazette

Sugar vs. Non-nutritive sweeteners; clarity on COVID-19 vaccines

- Dr. Michael Roizen Health Advice King Features Syndicate

Q: Every once in a while, I am going to drink a sugar-loaded soda or a sugar-free version — but which should I choose? Both have been blasted for what they do to everything from cognition to blood sugar levels. Any suggestion­s? — Florence F., Boston

A: Short answer. Drink water, black coffee, tea (hot or iced). The lesser of two evils is still evil, and both sugar-added drinks and non-nutritive sweeteners come with well-researched health risks.

Sugar is highly inflammato­ry and disrupts your gut biome, which damages your immune system, affects your metabolic health, stresses your cardiovasc­ular system, lessens brain power and causes protein dysfunctio­n, which is associated with damage to your organ systems. It also fuels chronic pain, early aging, poor oral health, diabetes, and bad moods.

Now, a new study reveals yet one more way added sugar harms your health. The research, published in The Journal of Nutrition, looked at intake of regular sodas, lemonade, fruit drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages of 29,000 people involved in two long-running studies. It shows drinking more than one 12-ounce serving per day is associated with increased levels of lousy LDL cholestero­l, triglyceri­des, and other lipids that up the risk of cardiovasc­ular disease.

Non-nutritive and artificial sweeteners do damage, too. A 2014 study in mice found that two of the sweeteners, saccharin and sucralose, significan­tly altered glucose tolerance, causing metabolic changes they were meant to prevent and fueling insulin resistance, a precursor of diabetes. A follow-up to that in 2022 found that the damage happened in the gut biome — and we know once you disrupt the gut a whole cascade of problems may result.

I acknowledg­e that fanaticism rarely leads to healthy behavior — even when it’s fanaticism about better health. So, if you must, once a month, have less than 12 ounces of one or the other. But learn to cultivate a taste for a sweet treat from fresh fruit and drink water, black coffee and tea.

Q: I am confused. Suddenly the MRNA booster vaccine is being criticized by the very people — you included — who heralded its arrival. What are the objections or problems and who should or should not get it? — Steven H., New York City

A: Last week, I shared some conclusion­s about the bivalent booster, so now let me get specific about what is being found. But first, I want to stress that receiving the basic vaccine and the first two monovalent boosters is absolutely the right thing to do to protect yourself and others.

So, here’s the scoop: It seems that if you get the initial vaccine and boosters and then add on the bivalent MRNA booster, that there is a risk that your immune system will get triggered to ignore the pathogen (SARSCOV-2) instead of react to it. That is risky business.

A study by doctors from the Cleveland

Clinic finds that “among 51,011 working-aged Cleveland Clinic employees, the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster was 30% effective in preventing infection …” That’s not very powerful, but even more shocking, if it was received after having been vaccinated and boosted with the monovalent vaccine it substantia­lly INCREASED the risk that a person would be infected by the Omicron variant — more than tripling the risk in some instances.

Then there’s a study in Nature that suggests multiple vaccinatio­ns may spur the COVID-19 virus to mutate and develop resistance to the vaccine’s effect — like antibiotic resistance.

Bottom line: Dr. Paul Offit of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelph­ia, wrote in NEJM that bivalent booster dosing “is probably best reserved for the people most likely to need protection against severe disease — specifical­ly, older adults, people with multiple coexisting conditions that put them at high risk for serious illness, and those who are immunocomp­romised.” So, ask your doctor if your risks of hospitaliz­ation and death from COVID-19 outweigh the potential risks of the MRNA booster and follow the advice.

Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestseller­s. His next book is “The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow.” Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email questions@greatagere­boot.com.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States