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Food For Thought

  • Keep in mind that sugar is not the issue, per se. It is the overconsumption of sugar that causes metabolic disease.
    Sucrose is a glucose bonded to a fructose.

  • Adding fructose or sucrose to the diet can lead to the development of obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidaemia, and occasionally high blood pressure.

  • Strong associations between fructose sweeteners intake and insulin resistance, metabolic diseases, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, fatty liver, chronic kidney disease gout and overeating.

  • If you feed your gut bacteria with a low carb, low sugar diet, organic or spray free foods with ample vegetables and if you food is preservative and additive free, then good bacteria will thrive and help you overcome cravings and assist in weight loss and blood sugar control.

  • Taste buds can become more attuned to subtle and rewarding flavours. The desire and need for sweeteners ease.

  • Beware the sweetener trap: eating sweet-tasting foods and drinks may promote the craving for more sweet-tasting treats. Sweeteners tend to promote snacking and overeating because the body doesn’t recognise that it has just eaten. All sweet tastes, whether real sugar or sugar substitutes, act upon the same sweet taste receptors of the tongue and trigger similar brain neural reward pathways that according to researchers, “perpetuate their intake,” so they can maintain sugar addictions and cravings. This could be due to hormonal effects, other effects on satiety signals, or effects on gut microbiota.

  • Zero-calorie sweeteners’ impacts on pregnant women, the developing foetus and young children are unknown and could be potentially risky for long term metabolic health.

  • While some sweeteners may be better than others, the best strategy for achieving optimal health and weight loss may be learning to enjoy real foods in their unsweetened state.

  • Look up the lecture “The Bitter Truth” by Dr. Robert Lustig, MD. on Youtube.

The Pitfalls of Consuming Sugar: 

Potential health effects of sugar overconsumption include 

1) elevated blood sugar, insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia (Basciano, Federico, & Adeli, 2005), 

2) nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) (with high fructose intake being recognised as a contributor) (Ter Horst & Serlie, 2017), 

3) increased cardiovascular disease risk (Di Nicolantonio, Lucan, & O’Keefe, 2017) (with people consuming 25% or more of their calories from sugar were three times as likely to die from heart disease as those who consumed the least added sugar (Yang et al., 2014), 

4) increased inflammation around the whole body (Aeberli et al., 2011), 5) gut issues including irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (Dixon, Kabi, Nickerson, & McDonald, 2015) (which may be due in part to adverse changes in gut bacteria (Brown, DeCoffe, Molcan, & Gibson, 2012)), 

6) possibly increased Alzheimer’s disease risk (Moreira, 2013) (with special attention drawn to sugary beverages (Pase et al., 2017)) and a 

7) controversial link to ADHD where a major study found improvements in ADHD symptoms by excluding many foods, including reducing the intake of sugar and processed foods (Pelsser et al., 2011).


Many of our diseases are caused by poor nutrition due to the modern diet, which follows the Current (International) Dietary Guidelines. 

These are both skewed towards consumption of large quantities of grains in the form of bread, pasta and rice, damaged vegetable oils, hidden added sugar and a lack of good quality oils and good fats. 


Delicious, nutritious foods for eye health recipes the whole family will love!  Bought to you by our very own natural eye health expert, Dr Emma Sanford. 


Published in Retina NZ Newsletter - February 2017
By Dr Emma Sandford

I challenged Emma to create some recipes which will help us get our much-needed nutrients from real food, and specifically foods for eye health, and she has come up with the “Rock your Retina Food Challenge”. 

It's simple … just include as many of these recipes in your weekly meal plan and try to eat at least 50 different foods in 7 days. And the catch? For best results you need to repeat the 7 day challenge at least 520 times!  

The recipes that follow are enough to make anyone salivate and are not too difficult to make, so give it a try! Your eyes [and everything else] will thank you for it.

When you need advice on foods for eye health and other natural ophthalmologist services Emma is the person to speak to!


Published in Retina NZ Newsletter - November 2016
By Dr Emma Sandford

Good nutrition is an incredibly complex matrix of nutrients that must be present in just the right amounts. The digestion and absorption of a nutrient and then it’s onward participation in countless reactions throughout the body, depends intimately on the presence of other nutrients, again in the Goldilocks ‘just right’ proportions.  While I have focused on the eye-related nutrients that I mentioned in my last letter, there is no getting away from the fact that a broad array of plant based foods, with a little bit of good quality, organic/home kill meat, a glass of red wine, some fresh caught oily fish [canning destroys the omega 3 fatty acids] and abundant handfuls of herbs and spices, a bit of dairy here and there [not daily] cannot be replaced by taking handfuls of supplements. If however that is the best that can be managed or you prefer to be sure that you have what you need, spend the money on a reputable brand from your health shop and ensure that it has what you need and that it is in a usable form.


Published in Retina NZ Newsletter - May 2016
By Dr Emma Sandford

In this issue we will look at smoking, to extend on the reference to quitting in the February newsletter. It is a sticky subject… a difficult one to approach as a non smoker to smokers, a tricky addiction behaviour to break down and beat, a powerful chemical addiction, and a social hot potato.  Let’s start at the very beginning…


Published in Retina NZ Newsletter - February 2016
By Dr Emma Sandford

Strangely, I begin my first article for you talking about teeth!

In the 1930s there was an avant-garde dentist named Weston A. Price. He began to observe dental and gum disease, dental degeneration and deformity and questioned why it was happening. As part of this research, he embarked upon an epic, global study of native and modern cultures to ascertain the impact of the newly evolved Western diet. He noted that the impact occurred immediately, and in the first generation after, a society’s adoption of the modern Western diet. His focus was not on what was injurious, but on what was now lacking.  Weston A. Price published his work 'Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects' in 1939.


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