UC Garden Blogs
three times the recommended amount of sugar every day, and about half the U.S. population consumes sugary drinks on any given day.
Excess sugar consumption contributes to obesity, tooth decay, early menses in girls, and chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease. To add to the damage, doctors are now attributing too much dietary sugar to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver.
It's enough to make you sit up and listen to the warnings about too much soda, sugary drinks, and sugar-laden processed foods.
What is a sugary drink? It's any beverage, more or less, with added sugar or other sweeteners, including high-fructose corn syrup. The long list of beverages includes soda, lemonade, fruit punch, powdered fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened coffee and tea drinks, and many flavored milk products.
People are becoming aware of the concerns of too many sugary drinks, and steps are being taken to reduce their consumption. Some K-12 school districts across the nation are limiting sales of soda, and the City of Davis will soon require that restaurants offer milk or water as a first beverage choice with kids' meals.
UC Cooperative Extension, the county-based outreach arm of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, is partnering with health agencies and conducting public service programs for youth and families about sugary drinks. UC ANR Cooperative Extension in San Joaquin County recently presented a "Rethink Your Drink" parent workshop in conjunction with the county's Office of Education, and Solano County Cooperative Extension is working with the California Department of public health to engage youth in "Rethink Your Drink" programs.
Lucia Kaiser, UC ANR Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist, co-authored a policy brief about California's rural immigrants who have poor-quality tap water, or perceive tap water to be bad. Kaiser, who is also a nutrition faculty member at UC Davis, noted that studies have found a link between water quality and consumption of sugary drinks, which is a concern in low-income communities that don't have resources for clean water.
As of this month (July 2015), UC San Francisco is no longer selling sugary beverages on its campus, and UCSF has launched a Healthy Beverage Initiative. UC Berkeley held a Sugar Challenge this year, and UC Davis is conducting a Sugar Beverage Study on women.
Scientists at UC San Francisco, UC Davis, UC ANR's Nutrition Policy Institute, and other universities are studying the health effects of sugar and implementing health outreach programs. And UC's Global Food Initiative is building on the momentum of excessive sugary-drink consumption.
A healthy alternative to sugary drinks? Water, of course. Many universities and public places are replacing traditional drinking fountains with water stations so that students and others can fill their own bottles and have water “on the go.” And UC President Janet Napolitano is working with the Nutrition Policy Institute on a bold and sensible request to place water on the USDA's MyPlate nutrition guidelines.
The next time you're thirsty, drink wisely to your good health.
- Sugary drinks are hiding under a 'health halo'; UC ANR Food Blog, Aug. 6, 2014
- Nutrition Policy Institute, UC ANR
- UCSF Launches Sugar Science Initiative, a national initiative
- Learn the Facts about Sugar: How Sugar Impacts your Health, UCTV Video, May 2015
- The Hidden Costs of Sugar; UCSF news release, Nov. 2014
- Why Sugar? Why Now?, blog article by Laura Schmidt, UCSF
Author: Ann Filmer
There is such a thing as a free lunch. And a free breakfast. And a free dinner. And a free snack. That is, if you're a freeloader fly. If you've ever watched a spider snare a bee or other insect in its web, and wrap it like a fit-to-be-tied...
A freeloader fly dines on a bee freshly killed by a garden spider. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of a freeloader fly, family Milichiidae. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."--John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra Muir said it well. Muir (1938-1914), the naturalist and conservationist known as "The Father of Our National...
Three's company! Three juvenile Cooper's hawks, as identified by Andrew Engilis, Jr. curator of the UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology,cooling off in an urban birdbath in Vacaville. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A Gulf Fritillary gets ready to lay an egg. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Gulf Fritillary caterpillars defoliating the passionflower vine. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Just got the following announcement today.
For the inaugural Do No Harm workshop: Considerations of pathogens, pests, and plant disease in restoration activities at the UC Palm Desert Campus.
Check out: http://donoharm.ucdavis.edu/ - registration is open! Discounted student registration is available.
We invite restoration practitioners, native plant nurseries, researchers and agencies to learn how to identify and address issues of unintentional pests, pathogens and disease spread through ecological restoration activities.
In addition to presentations and networking opportunities, this one-day workshop will host a poster session. We invite poster submissions focus on a restoration and pathogen/pest theme.
Sponsorship opportunities are available – for more information, check out the website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to seeing you in Palm Desert in November!
Elise Gornish & Travis Bean
Oh, what a (moth) night! Saturday, July 18 marked the beginning of National Moth Week and the Bohart Museum of Entomology obliged with an indoor and outdoor open house, its first-ever evening open house. The event took place from 8 to 11 p.m....
Moth Night at the Bohart Museum of Entomology was the first-ever evening open house. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The Moth Night crowd at the Bohart Museum of Entomology awaiting moths. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
"Moth Man" John DeBenedictis of Davis explains the backlighting system to a youngster. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis entomology student Wade Spencer (center, n black shirt) talks bugs to an enthusiastic crowd. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Entomologist Jeff Smith, a Bohart Museum associate, explains how to spread a moth's wings to Lauren Mitchell, a UC Davis student majoring in ecology, evolution and diversity. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The Nansen sisters (from left) Emma, 12, Molly, 6, and Miriam, 15, of Davis display entomology buttons. They helped visitors create buttons. Their mother, Maria, is a volunteer at the Bohart, and their father, Christian, is a UC Davis entomologist. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)