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EATING HEALTHY

The Real Scoop on Sugars

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There’s a lot of confusion out there about sugars—here’s what you need to know.

Maybe you’ve sworn off refined “white” sugar and think that sweetening a latte with, say, agave nectar, is better because, “it’s natural.” Truth is, most health experts agree that the best move you can make when it comes to added sugars (those added to foods by consumers or manufacturers) is to eat less of them. All of them. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons) for women and 150 calories a day (about 9 teaspoons) for men. But Americans’ average per capita daily sugar consumption is a whopping 28 teaspoons, and too much sugar can increase risk for obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

You don’t have to ditch sugars altogether. Get to know the types you’re seeing, learn how to spot added sugars on labels and then… sweeten sparingly. Here’s help:

Granulated Sugar

Granulated sugar (aka, sugar, table sugar) is composed of 50 percent glucose, a so-called simple sugar found in all foods with carbohydrate, and 50 percent fructose, a simple sugar found naturally in fruit, honey and agave nectar. This pure white sugar has been processed and so has few minerals and antioxidants. Table sugar is good for making sugar cookies, meringue toppings and delicate, fluffy cakes.

1 teaspoon = 16 calories, 4 g carbohydrate

Agave Nectar

This sweetener has a glycemic index (measure of how high a food raises blood-glucose levels after eating) that’s significantly lower than that of table sugar; it is also up to 90 percent fructose. Agave is good for giving smoothies and iced drinks a touch of sweetness.

1 teaspoon = 21 calories, 5 g carbohydrate

Brown Sugar

Made by adding molasses back to white sugar, brown sugar is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose. It has more calcium and iron than white sugar (but only trace amounts) and is best for adding caramel flavor to cookies and brownies and darker cakes like carrot cake and for topping oatmeal and fruit crisps and crumbles.

1 teaspoon = 17 calories, 5 g carbohydrate

Corn Syrup

Not the same as high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup contains less fructose and isn’t as processed as HFCS. It’s best for setting up pecan pie, peanut brittle, popcorn balls and homemade candies.

1 teaspoon = 21 calories, 6 g carbohydrate

Honey

Honey delivers slightly more fructose than glucose. Its antioxidant quantity varies greatly based on type; buckwheat honey typically delivers the most. Honey provides a delicate, sweet flavor to dressings, marinades and slaws.

1 teaspoon = 21 calories, 5 g carbohydrate

Maple Syrup

A go-to for drizzling over pancakes and waffles, maple syrup is about 50-50 glucose and fructose (depending on grade) and contains small amounts of polyphenols—antioxidants that help quell inflammation.

1 teaspoon = 17 calories, 4 g carbohydrate

Molasses

About 50 percent each glucose and fructose, dark molasses has the highest antioxidant levels of all sweeteners (per serving). It’s great for adding a hint of sweetness to baked beans, homemade BBQ sauces and ginger cookies.

1 teaspoon = 19 calories, 5 g carbohydrate

Turbinado (Raw Sugar)

Like granulated sugar, turbinado is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose. The brown color comes from small amounts of molasses that haven’t been stripped out. It’s good for topping cookies with a sugary crackle.

1 teaspoon = 18 calories, 5 g carbohydrate

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What is BELVIQ®/BELVIQ XR®?

BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR is an FDA-approved prescription weight-loss medication that, when used with diet and exercise, can help some adults (body mass index [BMI] 27 kg/m2) living with extra weight, with a weight-related medical problem, or adults living with obesity (BMI 30 kg/m2), lose weight and keep it off. It is not known if BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR when taken with other prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal weight-loss products is safe and effective. It is not known if BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR changes your risk of heart problems, stroke, or death due to heart problems or stroke.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR BELVIQ®/BELVIQ XR®:

  • Pregnancy: Do not take if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, as weight loss offers no benefit during pregnancy and BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR may harm your unborn baby.
  • Hypersensitivity reactions: Do not take if you are allergic to lorcaserin or any of the ingredients in BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR.
  • Serotonin Syndrome or Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)–like reactions: Before using, tell your Healthcare Provider about all the medicines you take, especially medicines that treat depression, migraines, mental problems, or the common cold. These medicines may cause serious or life-threatening side effects if taken with BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR. Call your Healthcare Provider right away if you experience agitation, hallucinations, confusion, or other changes in mental status; coordination problems; uncontrolled muscle spasms; muscle twitching; restlessness; racing or fast heartbeat; high or low blood pressure; sweating; fever; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; or stiff muscles.
  • Valvular heart disease: Some people taking medicines like BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR have had heart valve problems. Call your Healthcare Provider right away if you experience trouble breathing; swelling of the arms, legs, ankles, or feet; dizziness, fatigue, or weakness that will not go away; or fast or irregular heartbeat. Before taking BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR, tell your Healthcare Provider if you have or have had heart problems.
  • Changes in attention or memory: BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR may slow your thinking. You should not drive a car or operate heavy equipment until you know how BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR affects you.
  • Mental problems: Taking too much BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR may cause hallucinations, a feeling of being high or in a very good mood, or feelings of standing outside your body.
  • Depression or thoughts of suicide: Call your Healthcare Provider right away if you notice any mental changes, especially sudden changes in your mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings, or if you have depression or thoughts of suicide.
  • Low blood sugar: Weight loss can cause low blood sugar in people taking medicines for type 2 diabetes, such as insulin or sulfonylureas. Blood sugar levels should be checked before and while taking BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR. Changes to diabetes medication may be needed if low blood sugar develops.
  • Painful erections: If you have an erection lasting more than 4 hours while on, stop taking BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR and call your Healthcare Provider or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
  • Slow heartbeat: BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR may cause your heart to beat slower.
  • Decreases in blood cell count: BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR may cause your red and white blood cell counts to decrease.
  • Increase in prolactin: BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR may increase the amount of a hormone called prolactin. Tell your Healthcare Provider if your breasts begin to make milk or a milky fluid, or if you are a male and your breasts increase in size.
  • Most common side effects of BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR: Headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, constipation, cough, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in patients with diabetes, and back pain.
  • Nursing: BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR should not be taken while breastfeeding.
  • Drug interactions: Before taking BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR, tell your Healthcare Provider if you take medicines for depression, migraines, or other medical conditions, such as: triptans; medicines used to treat mood, anxiety, psychotic or thought disorders, including tricyclics, lithium, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or antipsychotics; cabergoline; linezolid (an antibiotic); tramadol; dextromethorphan (an over-the-counter [OTC] common cold/cough medicine); OTC supplements such as tryptophan or St. John’s Wort; or erectile dysfunction medicines.

BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR is a federally controlled substance (CIV) because it may be abused or lead to drug dependence.
For more information about BELVIQ/BELVIQ XR talk to your Healthcare Provider and see the full Product Information.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.