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Are drugs made bitter artificially to prevent being mistaken for candy?

Are drugs made bitter artificially to prevent being mistaken for candy?


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All drugs I remember tasting (with the notable exception of Aspirin) have bitter taste. Is the taste due to the active substance, or is a bittering agent added to them, perhaps to prevent overdose?

Take Paracetamol for instance: adult pills taste bitter, while the syrup for babies is sweet without any noticeable bitterness. Or is the dosage simply so low that I couldn't distinguish the drug taste behind all that sugar they put in?


Short answer
A bittering agent may be applied to therapeuticals to prevent pediatric poisonings, but many drugs inherently taste bitter by themselves.

Background
Bitter taste is thought to have evolved as a way to decrease the risk of ingesting toxic substances, which may explain why many drugs taste bitter. In other words, classes of compounds that may harm the body often taste bitter (Menella et al., 2014). These include the often dangerous compounds like alkaloids and glycosides (source: University of Delhi). These include the familiar psychotropic compounds found in hallucinogenic plants, and the potentially deadly heart glycosides found in Digitalis species, respectively, among other classes of substances.

Paracetamol can be regarded as an alkaloid (Fig. 1), but not aspirin, as it lacks a nitrogen atom (Fig. 2). An alkaloid is defined as

any of a class of naturally occurring organic nitrogen-containing bases. Alkaloids have diverse and important physiological effects on humans and other animals. Well-known alkaloids include morphine, strychnine, quinine, ephedrine, and nicotine…

All of which are quite toxic. As cleverly noted in the comments, aspirin is not an alkaloid in its strictest sense, as it is not naturally occurring. However, it is chemically obtained by acetylation of salicylic acid (Mund et al., 2016), as shown in Fig. 2. Both of the reactants in themselves are naturally occurring; salicylic acid can be sourced from willow bark, and acetylation is a widely occurring biochemical reaction (Gibbs, 2017).

I myself have never had the chance to taste aspirin, unfortunately (although I performed the acetylation shown in Fig. 2 for my Organic Chemistry class :-). Originally, aspirin was developed from salicylic acid (Fig. 3) just because the taste of salicylic acid was so bitter. Acetylation diminished the bitterness, yet the anti-inflammatory action remained (Wu, 2000)). Besides reducing bitterness by chemical modification, masking the bitterness of drugs with, e.g.., sweeteners, can help to overcome the aversion to the bitter taste. This can aid in helping patients, especially pediatric ones, to take their medicine and adhere to their treatment regime (Chauhan, 2017).

Reversely, coming back to your question, adding bitter-tasting additives to drugs indeed seem to be an effective way to reduce pediatric poisonings (Menella et al., 2014)

References
- Chauhan, J stem cell Bio transplant (2014); 1(2): 12
- Gibbs, Trends Plant Sci (2015); 20(10): 599-601
- Menella et al., Clin Ther. 2013 Aug; 35(8): 1225-1246
- Mund et al., J Occup Med Toxicol (2016); 11: 32
- Wu, Circulation (2000); 102: 2022-3


Fig. 1. Paracetamol, or acetaminophen. source: Wikimedia Commons


Fig. 2. Synthesis of Aspirin, or acetylsalycilic acid, from salicylic acid. source: Imperial College, UK


  • Researchers created mini lungs and colon organoids and implanted in mice
  • Found three FDA approved drugs in circulation that prevent infection
  • They are imatinib, mycophenolic acid and quinacrine dihydrochloride (QNHC)
  • Imatinib is currently part of four ongoing COVID-related clinical studies
  • But mycophenolic acid (MPA) and QNHC are not currently being investigated by anyone in the world to see if they can prevent or treat COVID-19

Published: 17:50 BST, 28 October 2020 | Updated: 18:47 BST, 28 October 2020

Three drugs already in circulation have been found to be effective at preventing infection of human cells by the coronavirus, research published today reveals.

Experiments on lab-grown mini-lungs implanted in mice looked at which pre-existing drugs stop SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, infiltrating human cells.

It revealed drugs called imatinib, mycophenolic acid (MPA) and quinacrine dihydrochloride (QNHC) are effective at stopping the virus in its tracks.

Experiments on lab-grown mini-lungs implanted in mice looked at which pre-existing drugs can prevent infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19. One, called imatinib, is involved in four ongoing COVID-related trials and is normally used to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia and other cancers

Versatile human stem cells were used to make the miniature lungs and colons, called organoids.

'Organoids are mini-tissues grown in the petri dish,' Dr Shuibing Chen, co-author of the study published in Nature from Weill Cornell Medicine told MailOnline.

She adds they 'more faithfully recapitulate the complex cell types and structure' than other scientific models, such as monkey cell lines or human cancer cell lines.

Lungs and the colon were selected because the virus is known to thrive in these organs following infection.

Respiratory issues are almost always expressed in symptomatic infection and gastrointestinal issues are seen in approximately a quarter of patients, often the most dire cases.


Types of UA Tests

There are two types of UA drug tests. The first — and more commonly used — is called an immunoassay. The immunoassay screens for the presence of different classes of drugs, including amphetamines, marijuana, PCP, cocaine and natural opiates. But there are several downsides of this type of testing. One is that it doesn't test for synthetic opioids and another is that it doesn't break anything down specifically.

In other words, it may show a positive result, but it doesn't tell you why the result is positive. Because of this, immunoassay drug tests are more likely to show false positives than the other type of urinary drug testing: gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Unlike immunoassays, this test measures specific drugs. Instead of just giving a positive or negative result, it tells you exactly why the test showed positive and which drug or medication is causing that reading.

Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that gas chromatography/mass spectrometry tests are usually done to confirm (or refute) a positive immunoassay. This means that, if you think certain herbs, teas or beverages that you're consuming triggered a false positive drug test, you can request the more in-depth testing to pinpoint the cause of the positive and show that you're not partaking in any illegal substances.


How to Stop Using Food Like a Drug

You might be hard-pressed to find many people who never take advantage of the “elixir” effects food can have on us. For instance, I’d venture that the majority of us start our day with a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea. Some of us wind down after a long week with a glass of wine or a taste of our favorite bourbon. Even a small dose of sugar during times of excessive stress can lower cortisol (hence why some of us reach for an extra indulgence when things get rough). As long as we’re talking occasional or modest gratification, we can take advantage of these benefits without worry. But for some people, food becomes an ongoing coping mechanism or an unhealthy dependency to get them through their day. Where’s the line between normal indulgence and chronic “abuse” of food? And what do we do when we find ourselves sliding into risky territory?

The body is designed for us to enjoy eating. Lab animals that don’t produce dopamine die because they literally won’t eat without the internal motivation-reward boost. We’re naturally drawn to the scents and textures of food, along with the associations they offer. I sometimes think about certain meals as actual memories because they opened new territory of culinary delight.

Yet, other than a cup of coffee each day, I’m careful about how I use food. A few years ago I even kicked my nightly wine habit because I thought I might feel better without it. It wasn’t until I found a healthy workaround that I reintroduced it. I wanted to make sure I was getting the benefits, without the downsides.

And there’s the rub. When is an indulgence working against us, not for us?

Even if we glean some benefit from something (e.g., an energy boost from coffee or a drop in cortisol from a piece of chocolate), do we also experience a downside? And does our habit keep us from addressing the real lifestyle or emotional roots that are causing our discomfort? Are we relying on caffeine because we refuse to take responsibility for our poor sleep habits? Are we using sugar or any other kind of food to distract ourselves from circumstances we feel afraid or powerless to deal with?

In other words, are we using food as a stand-in for better lifestyle choices and/or honest psychological inventory?

Let me add one caveat before we dig in. The biology and psychology of full blown food addiction is beyond the scope of what I’m covering here. While some of these strategies may be similar to or part of a food addiction recovery plan, the picture is more complex at that level, and I’d refer anyone who thinks they’re beyond reining in their own behaviors to food addiction professionals.

Today I’m aiming for the “gray” area between normal eating and ongoing misuse/“abuse” of food, where I think many of us can find ourselves at one point or another.

That said, here are some tips.

Stop feeding the physiological cycle

It’s impossible to talk about using food as a drug without looking at the genuine neurological and hormonal impacts it has on the body. The fact is, certain foods affect us more like drugs than others.

With actual drug use, we’re not operating with innate satiation signaling. But with food, our bodies have a built-in system for telling us when to eat, how much to eat and when to stop.

In our paleolithic ancestors’ time, it worked great. Today, we’ve become our own saboteurs. We’ve known for years that sugary and processed foods (those that strategically combine sugar, salt and certain fats into a triple crown disaster) are intentionally designed to override our inherent satiation signals and hyper-trip our reward systems.

Unfortunately, our own body composition can work against us—leading us deeper into a cul-de-sac of poor eating choices and behaviors. Leptin is one key hormonal player in our satiety signaling. When we’re obese, we lose leptin sensitivity, and we’re drawn to eat despite being functionally full. This is where we get into trouble and the gate is open to food dependence—a phenomenon that looks strikingly similar to chemical drug dependence in neurological scans.

The physiology here could easily be its own post, and I’ve written about these issues in the past. Suffice it here to say that it’s time to kick sugar/high carb (same deal) and processed foods to the curb. You’ll be forever waging an uphill battle with these food products. Food chemists have you by the tail. Get the monkey off your back by going cold turkey or by gradually replacing these choices with healthier ones that won’t hijack your physiology. Regular readers, you know the drill. But for any newbies, take heed.

Assess your habits honestly

Coffee at 6:00, 8:00, 10:00, 1:00 and 3:00? Sweetened almond milk ice cream after dinner? Paleo-branded treat on your morning break? A superfluous energy drink after a regular intensity workout? Snacking after dinner?

Routine influences our desires. If we’ve done something again and again, we come to expect it. That little insistent voice inside us feels darn well entitled. It’s like establishing Wednesday night as movie night for the kids for six months, and then telling them this Wednesday is too nice to stick with the routine. Not that it isn’t worth shifting the schedule, but good luck handling the initial rebellion.

Acknowledge the crummy ruts for what they are, and come up with something new (and healthier) to put in their place.

Identify your psychological triggers

Identify what you’re feeling when you start raiding the cupboards or the candy machine. What’s really lacking when you pop the top off a soda? What are you trying to avoid when you’re reaching for that bag of chips?

Research shows that emotional awareness impacts our food choices. So when you start to fixate on the thought of a food or a lot of food, pay attention to what’s going on in your body, mind and environment. Observe and note for as long as you can. Get the whole 360º on that sensation. Write it down if you have to. Next time do the same thing. Keep doing it until you begin to catch that feeling before the craving hits. Then work on redirecting.

Ask where you’re stuck in life

You may find patterns in those psychological triggers. Maybe they’re the ones you’d anticipate, or maybe they surprise you. Who, what, and where tend to be associated with these triggers? This doesn’t mean you can blame your unhealthy behaviors around food on someone or something else. But it begs the question: if you’re using food to self-medicate, what exactly are you trying to medicate?

Sometimes our poor lifestyle choices are a half-conscious response to stressful or otherwise unfavorable life circumstances. The Primal strategies in these cases remain the same, but a bigger set of overarching choices come into play. We should ask the questions that feel too big to ask.

Make food substitutions (or not)

Sure, you can swap a sugar-laden “chocolate” bar for 80% dark chocolate squares, real cocoa nibs or a chocolate protein shake with a little extra pure cocoa powder mixed in. You can create Primal versions of just about every favorite comfort food you can come up with.

For some people, even eating anything close to the original can send them over the edge and balloon cravings rather than satiate them. These are foods where moderation has no meaning.

Be honest about all those good intentions that never stuck with a particular food or group of foods. Lose the guilt or the nagging voice that says you “should” be able to control how much of X food you eat. What’s the point? Admit that it isn’t good for you as an individual and move on. Case closed.

Call food advertisers’ bluffs

In Grok’s day, food was food. Beyond those involved in communal ritual or those that were simply harder to come by, food didn’t come with layers of marketing hype.

I like (real) chocolate as much as the next person, but let’s be honest. If you’d never seen an ad for chocolate of any kind and never heard a cultural reference about its “powers,” would it have the same appeal? What about chips and soda? And foods from certain mostly fast food restaurants? The list could go on here. What stories do we start to believe about certain foods that only make them seem more enticing?

Stop subjecting yourself to commercials and other advertising that encourage you to think a food offers anything other than calories and nutrients (or not). And when they do come along, call them on their bluff. Contrary to what the ad made it seem like, eating a square of Dove chocolate didn’t send me into an unbridled state of euphoria.

Use routine to your advantage

Some people find it helpful to eat the same thing each day for a meal or two. Research shows habituation through exposure to less food variety can encourage people to eat less. Switch it up when you get entirely bored. But over time, your body will anticipate the taste of what it comes to expect. Make the routine healthy to make it work for you.

Eat mindfully

Eating for a “hit” of some kind means we come at food for an immediate feel-good outcome. Mindfulness reminds us the real action (and enjoyment) is in the process. How we eat can very well influence what we eat.

Consciously choose what you will eat, and bring your attention fully to the food—its preparation, its presentation and your enjoyment of it. For many people, it can feel like a ritual. Mindful eating puts us in a different relationship to what we’re eating and to the act of eating itself.

If you feel drawn to foods you know you’re trying to kick, use mindfulness to get curious about what is pulling you toward making that choice. What emotions are coming into play? Research tells us that our eating plans are dictated by rational thought, but our actual eating behaviors are driven by emotion.

Stay with the instinct and the feelings tied to it, but observe it rather than identify with it. Over time, this will help you detach from your instinct and offer some emotional room to make a better choice.

Pursue other means of feeling good

When’s the last time you did something that elicited real euphoria? How long has it been since your last vacation or weekend road trip, your last massage, your last afternoon with your best friend? Do you take substantive breaks in your day to sit in the sun or walk in the moonlight? How often do you listen (or make) live music or dance or have sex or make a fool of yourself just for the fun of it? Would you be good company for Grok, or do you bore yourself these days?

When we routinely keep ourselves on too short a leash—forgoing the thrill of unplanned/planned adventures, taking for granted or never leaving meaningful time for our closest relationships, neglecting to practice hobbies, visit the places or read the books we love—we’ll settle for that cheap substitute of a food craving.

So whether you’re looking to stop abusing clearly unhealthy foods, or even primal-approved indulgences, I hope these tips can help.

That’s it for today, everyone. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject, since I know most of us have some experience with it. How do you manage the healthy use of food?

Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.


ELI5: Why is medicine bitter, always, no matter the type?

I have trouble swallowing large pills and sometimes have to chew. Most if not all of the times, the medicine tastes bitter.

I searched. I found a few answer that isn't satisfying. Some says its because of the lack of sweetener but why isnt some chemical ingredients sweet, salty or simply having no taste? Instead the medicine is always bitter.

Some says its artificially made to be bitter so children won't take it but I never see the mention of the name of the additive. I find these answer unsatisfying.

I'm ashamed. I searched but not hard enough.

A common bittering agent is denatonium, if you're wonder about what the additive is.

Thanks. And TIL that antifreeze and windshield washer fluid originally taste sweet.

Check the posts posted earlier, they are really useful with good answers.

One reason that comes to mind that id like to stress is this: The presence of bitterers and/or lack of sweeteners to prevent chewing. The pills are in their dosage form for a reason. PLEASE make VERY sure the pills you chew are allowed to be chewed, destroying their structure can absolutely change the way the pills work. There can be controlled slow release from different layers. The pills can have coating to prevent them form dissolving in stomach, because they could damage it or be destroyed by the acids (this is very common actually). Do consult your doctor if the leaflet doesnt state if they are safe to chew, its really important, the treatment might be rendered useless or even dangerous.


Can a person overdose on hallucinogens?

It depends on the drug. An overdose occurs when a person uses enough of a drug to produce serious adverse effects, life-threatening symptoms, or death. Most classic hallucinogens may produce extremely unpleasant experiences at high doses, although the effects are not necessarily life-threatening. However, serious medical emergencies and several fatalities have been reported from 251-NBOMe.

Overdose is more likely with some dissociative drugs. High doses of PCP can cause seizures, coma, and death. Additionally, taking PCP with depressants such as alcohol or benzodiazepines can also lead to coma. Benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax), are prescribed to relieve anxiety or promote sleep.

However, users of both classic hallucinogens and dissociative drugs also risk serious harm because of the profound alteration of perception and mood these drugs can cause.

  • Users might do things they would never do in real life, like jump out of a window or off a roof, for instance, or they may experience profound suicidal feelings and act on them.
  • With all drugs there is also a risk of accidental poisoning from contaminants or other substances mixed with the drug.
  • Users of psilocybin also run the risk of accidentally consuming poisonous mushrooms that look like psilocybin. Taking poisonous mushrooms can result in severe illness or possible death.

Carbohydrate Basics: Sugars, Starches and Fibers in Foods and Health

Jacqueline B. Marcus MS, RD, LD, CNS, FADA , in Culinary Nutrition , 2013

Natural Sweeteners

Natural sweeteners, in comparison to nonnutritive sweeteners , contain calories and nutrients, are metabolized, and change as they pass through the body. They include agave nectar, brown rice syrup, date sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses and blackstrap molasses, sorghum syrup and stevia.

Agave nectar or syrup is from the agave plant, which is also the source of tequila. It is about 1½ times as sweet as white sugar. Agave comes in many flavors and colors, from light and mild to dark and strong. Blue agave is the most common.

Agave dissolves quickly, so it can be used to sweeten cold beverages. Some adjustments may be needed when using agave nectar in baking. These include increasing flour or cornstarch by about ¼ cup reducing other liquids in the recipe by about 1 ounce thoroughly oiling baking or muffin pans reducing oven temperature by about 25 F and increasing baking time by about 5 to 10 minutes. Cookies will not come out crispy but rather will have a cakelike texture, since agave retains moisture. About ¾ cup of agave syrup equals about 1 cup of white sugar in sweetening.

Agave is a vegan alternative for honey. Since agave has only a mild effect on blood sugar, it is favored in carbohydrate-restricted diets.

Brown rice syrup is made by heating brown rice with enzymes. In the process, about 50 percent of the rice starches are converted into sugars the liquid is strained and the syrup remains. Brown rice syrup is about half as sweet as white sugar. It has a mild, butterscotch flavor. Brown rice syrup can be used in cookies, muffins and puddings as a syrup for pancakes and waffles and as a sweetener for iced tea and rice milk.

In general, substitute 1¼ cups of brown rice syrup for 1 cup of white sugar and reduce the liquid in a recipe by about ¼ cup. Brown rice syrup is gluten-free and suitable for vegans.

Date sugar is made from pulverized dates. It contains some fiber and minerals. The date pieces do not dissolve in liquids or melt like other sugars, so the use of date sugar is limited.

One cup of date sugar equals about 1 cup of white or brown sugar, but the flavor of date sugar is strong and it is expensive.

Honey is made by honeybees from the nectar of flowers. It is sweeter and has more calories than white sugar. Honey contains some enzymes and minerals. If honey if used in baked goods, it may slightly add to the rising time of the dough.

Use about ¾ cup of honey for 1 cup of white sugar in recipes and reduce the amount of liquid by about 3 to 4 tablespoons. When baking, if baking soda is called for in a recipe, it may need to be reduced by about ½ of a teaspoon. Like agave nectar, cookies made with honey will have a soft texture.

Maple syrup is made by boiling down sap from maple trees until the sugars condense into thickened syrup. Natural maple syrup contains minerals, such as calcium and potassium. Maple syrup is also manufactured by combining corn syrup, maple flavoring and coloring. Manufactured maple syrup may not contain the same level of minerals as natural maple syrup.

Use about ¾ cup of maple syrup for each 1 cup of white sugar in recipes and reduce the amount of liquid by about 3 to 4 tablespoons.

Molasses is the thick syrup that remains after sugar beets or sugarcane is processed to make white sugar. The type of molasses depends on the maturity of the sugar beet or cane, the amount of sugar that is removed, and the extraction process.

About 1 1/3 cups of molasses can be substituted for 1 cup of white sugar in some recipes. Reduce the amount of liquid by about 5 tablespoons. Since molasses is more acidic than white sugar, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 cup of molasses in baking. In general, replace no more than half of the white sugar in recipes with molasses since it imparts a dark color and strong flavor.

Blackstrap molasses contains the least amount of sugar in the molasses group of sweeteners, with some vitamins and minerals. Blackstrap molasses is mild in sweetness and bitter-tart. It is used both to sweeten and color foods, particularly baked goods.

Sorghum syrup, sometimes mistaken for blackstrap molasses, is also a by-product of the sugar-making process. Sorghum syrup comes from sorghum cane. It contains calcium, iron and potassium.

Sorghum syrup can be substituted in equal quantities in recipes that call for honey, corn syrup, maple syrup or molasses, such as in baked beans, barbecue sauce or gingerbread. Sorghum syrup has a distinct taste that may not be a suitable substitute in some recipes.

Stevioside (stevia), a plant in the sunflower family (also known as sugarleaf and sweetleaf), is as much as 300 times sweeter than white sugar. Initially, stevia had a bitter, licorice-like aftertaste, but the sweetest parts of the plant are now used.

Stevia does not caramelize or crystallize. It is used to sweeten beverages, cereal, coffee and tea, fruit and yogurt and as a tabletop sweetener in PureVia® and Truvia®. Stevia has only a minor effect on blood sugar, so it is favored in carbohydrate-controlled diets. In general, ¼ teaspoon of powdered stevia extract, or 2 tablespoons whole-leaf stevia, equals about 1 cup of white sugar in sweetening.


RELATED ARTICLES

A group of scientists is pushing for man-made human genomes in the lab, calling for a huge international effort to launch this year

QUEST TO CREATE ARTIFICIAL LIFE

Building an entire lifeform from scratch is a daunting task, although many scientists believe it may be possible within the next ten years.

They believe that synthetic living systems could be made to order to solve a range of problems, from producing new drugs to creating biofuels.

Dr Craig Venter is among those who have been leading the way and in 2010 placed a basic DNA set synthesised in the laboratory into a bacterial cell.

However, while these cells could replicate they were not able to survive without crucial nutrients provided by the scientists.

This, they insist, is an important safety measure to stop synthetic cells from escaping and replicating in the environment.

His latest breakthrough provides a basic life form that can then be adapted and molded by adding new genes, allowing scientists to customise it.

Yet synthetic life will not necessarily have to be based on the same biochemical molecules as our own.

Researchers at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge used an entirely synthetic form of DNA, called XNA, to store genetic information and catalyse simple biochemical reactions.

These could eventually be used to evolve entirely new forms of life, the scientists believe.

Scientists at the University of Glasgow have also found it is possible to mimic evolution by creating successive generations of oil droplets.

'HGP allowed us to read the genome, but we still don't completely understand it,' Nancy Kelley, the coordinator of the new project, told CNBC.

The human genome consists of roughly three billion DNA base pairs.

There are four nucleotides bases found in DNA: adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T).

The order that these bases are found in our genome acts as a genetic 'blueprint' that dictates each person's unique physical and mental characteristics.

The goal of GP-write is understand how these bases work alongside each other.

They hope creating artificial human DNA could help us decipher to origins of the genetic code.

'If you do that, you gain a much deeper understanding of how a complicated apparatus goes,' Professor Boeke said.

The plan builds on the success of the Human Genome Project, which successfully deciphered the entire human genetic code in 2004. Stock image depicts a human chromosome

He said, like a machine, the genome can only fully be understood if it is taken apart and then put back together again.

'Really, a synthetic genome is an engine for learning new information.'

This new information could one day have a host of practical applications, including organs for transplant and developing immunity to viruses.

But it may also heighten public concerns over a fast-track to 'designer babies'.

Some groups fear that the creation of artificial DNA will one day lead to direct alterations being made to the human genome.

It's theorised that these 'alterations' could be used to create babies with specially selected traits including sex, outward appearance and intelligence.

Ethics experts have been quick to point out that the physical and mental health effects of this type of gene editing is still unknown.

And any changes made to the genome will be passed on to future generations through the germ line – in sperm and egg cells.

ARE DESIGNER BABIES ON THE HORIZON?

Improvements in genetics are causing designer babies to near '100 per cent efficiency' in trials using mice, a leading scientist has warned.

Dr Tony Perry, a geneticist at the University of Bath, said that society needed to be prepared for the day parents can choose certain traits in their children.

The warning follows a breakthrough last April in which scientists were able to cure a genetic liver disease in living, adult mice using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technique.

The CRISPR technology precisely changes target parts of genetic code and could be used to create designer babies.

'We used a pair of molecular scissors and a molecular sat nav that tells the scissors where to cut,' Dr Perry told James Gallagher at the BBC. 'It's a case of 'you shoot you score'. On the human side, one has to be very cautious.'

Unlike other gene-silencing tools, the CRISPR system targets the genome's source material and permanently turns off genes at the DNA level.

At the end of 2015, this led scientists to call for a moratorium on the tinkering with the DNA of any cell which can be inherited by the next generation.

But the group has outlined security measures for ‘ultra-safe’ cells with edited genomes, making it impossible for them to pass on changes down the germ line.

Professor Boeke added that these practical developments may still be years or even decades away.

A large challenge facing the team is to cut the cost of synthesising human DNA.

At this current time, scientists estimate it costs 23 cents to synthesise a single base pair.

The human genome is made up of three billion base pairs.

'If we can get that [cost] down to one cent per base pair, it would really make a difference,' Dr Kelley said.


The bitter truth about fast food

Pull open the glass door, feel the rush of cool air, walk in, get in line, study the backlit colour photographs above the counter, place your order, hand over a few dollars. Watch teenagers in uniforms pushing various buttons, and moments later take hold of a plastic tray full of food wrapped in coloured paper and cardboard. The whole experience of buying fast food has become so routine, so thoroughly unexceptional and mundane, that it is now taken for granted, like brushing your teeth or stopping for a red light. It has become a social custom as American as a small, rectangular, hand-held, frozen and reheated apple pie.

Over the past three decades, an industry that began with a handful of hot dog and hamburger stands in southern California has spread to almost every corner of the globe. Fast food is now served at restaurants, stadiums, airports, zoos, schools and universities, on cruise ships, trains and aeroplanes, at supermarkets, petrol stations and even in hospital cafeterias. Americans now spend more money on fast food - $110bn last year - than they do on higher education. They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos and recorded music - combined.

What people eat (or don't eat) has always been determined by a complex interplay of social, economic and technological forces. The early Roman Republic was fed by its citizen-farmers the Roman Empire, by its slaves. During a relatively brief period of time, the fast food industry has helped transform not only our diet, but also the landscape, economy, workforce and popular culture. Fast food and its consequences have become inescapable, regardless of whether you eat it twice a day or have never taken a single bite. In some cases (such as the malling and sprawling of the west), the fast food industry has been a catalyst and a symptom of larger economic trends. In other cases (such as the rise of franchising and the spread of obesity), fast food has played a central role.

Hundreds of millions of people buy fast food every day without giving it much thought, unaware of the subtle and not so subtle ramifications of their purchases. They rarely consider where this food came from, how it was made, what it is doing to the community around them. I think people should know what lies behind the shiny, happy surface of every fast food transaction. They should know what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns. As the old saying goes: You are what you eat.

During my research for the book, I ate an enormous amount of fast food. Most of it tasted pretty good. That is one of the main reasons people buy fast food it has been carefully designed to taste good. The taste of McDonald's French fries, for example, has long been praised by customers, competitors and even food critics. James Beard, the legendary American gourmet, loved McDonald's fries. Their distinctive taste does not stem from the type of potatoes that McDonald's buys, the technology that processes them, or the restaurant equipment that fries them. Other chains buy their French fries from the same large processing companies, use Russet Burbanks and have similar fryers in their restaurant kitchens. The taste of a fast-food fry is largely determined by the cooking oil. For decades, McDonald's cooked its French fries in a mixture of about 7% cottonseed oil and 93% beef tallow. The mix gave the fries their unique flavour - and more saturated beef fat per ounce than a McDonald's hamburger.

Amid a barrage of criticism over the amount of cholesterol in its fries, McDonald's switched to pure vegetable oil in 1990. The switch presented the company with an enormous challenge: how to make fries that subtly taste like beef without cooking them in tallow. A look at the ingredients now used in the preparation of McDonald's French fries suggests how the problem was solved. At the end of the list is a seemingly innocuous yet oddly mysterious phrase: "natural flavour". That ingredient helps to explain not only why the fries taste so good, but also why most fast food - indeed, most of the food Americans eat today - tastes the way it does.

Open your refrigerator, your freezer, your kitchen cupboards, and look at the labels on your food. You'll find "natural flavour" or "artificial flavour" in just about every list of ingredients. The similarities between these two broad categories are far more significant than their differences. Both are man-made additives that give most processed food its taste. The initial purchase of a food item may be driven by its packaging or appearance, but subsequent purchases are determined mainly by its taste. About 90% of the money that Americans spend on food is used to buy processed food. But the canning, freezing and dehydrating techniques used to process food destroy much of its flavour. Since the end of the second world war, a vast industry has arisen in the US to make processed food palatable. The names of the leading fast-food chains and their bestselling menu items have become famous worldwide, embedded in our popular culture. Few people, however, can name the companies that manufacture fast food's taste.

The flavour industry is highly secretive. Its leading companies will not divulge the precise formulas of flavour compounds or the identities of clients. The secrecy is deemed essential for protecting the reputation of beloved brands. The fast-food chains, understandably, would like the public to believe that the flavours of their food somehow originate in their restaurant kitchens, not in distant factories run by other firms.

The New Jersey Turnpike runs through the heart of the flavour industry, an industrial corridor dotted with refineries and chemical plants. International Flavours and Fragrances (IFF), the world's largest flavour company, has a manufacturing facility in Dayton, New Jersey. The plant is a huge, pale blue building with a modern office complex attached to the front. It sits in an industrial park, not far from a BASF plastics factory, a Jolly French Toast factory and a plant that manufactures Liz Claiborne cosmetics.

Dozens of tractor-trailers were parked at the IFF loading dock the afternoon I visited, and a thin cloud of steam floated from a roof vent. Before entering the plant, I signed a non-disclosure form, promising not to reveal the brand names of products that contain IFF flavours. The place reminded me of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Wonderful smells drifted through the hallways, men and women in neat, white lab coats cheerfully went about their work, and hundreds of little glass bottles sat on laboratory tables and shelves. The bottles contained powerful and fragile flavour chemicals, shielded from light by the brown glass and round plastic caps shut tight. The long chemical names on the little white labels were as mystifying to me as medieval Latin. They were the odd-sounding names of things that would be mixed and poured and turned into new substances, like magic potions.

I was not invited to see the manufacturing areas of the IFF plant, where it was thought I might discover trade secrets. Instead, I toured various laboratories and pilot kitchens, where the flavours of well-established brands are tested or adjusted, and where whole new flavours are created. IFF's snack and savoury lab is responsible for the flavour of crisps, corn chips, breads, crackers, breakfast cereals and pet food. The confectionery lab devises the flavour for ice cream, biscuits, sweets, toothpastes, mouthwashes and antacids. Everywhere I looked, I saw famous, widely-advertised products sitting on laboratory desks and tables. The beverage lab is full of brightly coloured liquids in clear bottles. It comes up with the flavour for popular soft drinks, sport drinks, bottled teas and wine coolers, for all-natural juice drinks, organic soy drinks, beers and malt liquors.

In one pilot kitchen I saw a dapper food technologist, a middle-aged man with an elegant tie beneath his lab coat, carefully preparing a batch of biscuits with white frosting and pink-and-white sprinkles. In another pilot kitchen I saw a pizza oven, a grill, a milk-shake machine, and a French fryer identical to those I'd seen behind the counter at countless fast-food restaurants.

In addition to being the world's largest flavour company, IFF manufactures the smell of six of the 10 bestselling perfumes in the US, including Est*e Lauder's Beautiful, Clinique's Happy, Lancªme's Tr*sor and Calvin Klein's Eternity. It also makes the smell of household products such as deodorant, dishwashing detergent, bath soap, shampoo, furniture polish and floor wax. All of these aromas are made through the same basic process: the manipulation of volatile chemicals to create a particular smell. The basic science behind the scent of your shaving cream is the same as that governing the flavour of your TV dinner.

Scientists now believe that human beings acquired the sense of taste as a way to avoid being poisoned. Edible plants generally taste sweet deadly ones, bitter. Taste is supposed to help us differentiate food that's good for us from food that's not. The tastebuds on our tongues can detect the presence of half a dozen or so basic tastes, including: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, astringent and umami (a taste discovered by Japanese researchers, a rich and full sense of deliciousness triggered by amino acids in foods such as shellfish, mushrooms, potatoes and seaweed). Tastebuds offer a limited means of detection, however, compared with the human olfactory system, which can perceive thousands of different chemical aromas. Indeed, "flavour" is primarily the smell of gases being released by the chemicals you've just put in your mouth. The aroma of food can be responsible for as much as 90% of its flavour.

The act of drinking, sucking or chewing a substance releases its volatile gases. They flow out of the mouth and up the nostrils, or up the passageway at the back of the mouth, to a thin layer of nerve cells called the olfactory epithelium, located at the base of the nose, right between the eyes. The brain combines the complex smell signals from the epithelium with the simple taste signals from the tongue, assigns a flavour to what's in your mouth, and decides if it's something you want to eat.

Babies like sweet tastes and reject bitter ones we know this because scientists have rubbed various flavours inside the mouths of infants and then recorded their facial reactions. A person's food preferences, like his or her personality, are formed during the first few years of life, through a process of socialisation. Toddlers can learn to enjoy hot and spicy food, bland health food, or fast food, depending upon what the people around them eat. The human sense of smell is still not fully understood. It is greatly affected by psychological factors and expectations. The mind filters out the overwhelming majority of chemical aromas that surround us, focusing intently on some, ignoring others. People can grow accustomed to bad smells or good smells they stop noticing what once seemed overpowering.

Aroma and memory are somehow inextricably linked. A smell can suddenly evoke a long-forgotten moment. The flavours of childhood foods seem to leave an indelible mark, and adults often return to them, without always knowing why. These "comfort foods" become a source of pleasure and reassurance, a fact that fast-food chains work hard to promote. Childhood memories of Happy Meals can translate into frequent adult visits to McDonald's, like those of the chain's "heavy users", the customers who eat there four or five times a week.

The human craving for flavour has been a largely unacknowledged and unexamined force in history. Royal empires have been built, unexplored lands have been traversed, great religions and philosophies have been forever changed by the spice trade. In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail to find seasoning. Today, the influence of flavour in the world marketplace is no less decisive. The rise and fall of corporate empires - of soft-drink companies, snack-food companies and fast-food chains - is frequently determined by how their products taste.

The flavour industry emerged in the mid-1800s, as processed foods began to be manufactured on a large scale. Recognising the need for flavour additives, the early food processors turned to perfume companies that had years of experience working with essential oils and volatile aromas. The great perfume houses of England, France and the Netherlands produced many of the first flavour compounds. In the early part of the 20th century, Germany's powerful chemical industry assumed the lead in flavour production. Legend has it that a German scientist discovered methyl anthranilate, one of the first artificial flavours, by accident while mixing chemicals in his laboratory. Suddenly, the lab was filled with the sweet smell of grapes. Methyl anthranilate later became the chief flavouring compound of grape Kool-Aid.

After the second world war, much of the perfume industry shifted from Europe to the US, settling in New York City near the garment district and the fashion houses. The flavour industry came with it, subsequently moving to New Jersey to gain more plant capacity. Man-made flavour additives were used mainly in baked goods, sweets and soft drinks until the 50s, when sales of processed food began to soar. The invention of gas chromatographs and mass spectrometers - machines capable of detecting volatile gases at low levels - vastly increased the number of flavours that could be synthesised. By the mid-60s, the American flavour industry was churning out compounds to supply the taste of Pop Tarts, Bac-Os, Tab, Tang, Filet-O-Fish sandwiches and thousands of other new foods.

The American flavour industry now has annual revenues of about $1.4bn. Approximately 10,000 new processed food products are introduced every year in the US. Almost all of them require flavour additives. And about nine out of every 10 of these new food products fail. The growth of IFF, in fact, has mirrored that of the flavour industry as a whole. IFF was formed in 1958, through the merger of two small companies. Its annual revenues have grown almost fifteenfold since the early 70s, and it now has manufacturing facilities in 20 countries.

The quality that people seek most of all in a food, its flavour, is usually present in a quantity too infinitesimal to be measured by any traditional culinary terms such as ounces or teaspoons. Today's sophisticated spectrometers, gas chromatographs and headspace vapour analysers provide a detailed map of a food's flavour components, detecting chemical aromas in amounts as low as one part per billion. The human nose, however, is still more sensitive than any machine yet invented. A nose can detect aromas present in quantities of a few parts per trillion. Complex aromas, such as those of coffee or roasted meat, may be composed of volatile gases from nearly a thousand different chemicals. The chemical that provides the dominant flavour of bell pepper can be tasted in amounts as low as 0.02 parts per billion one drop is sufficient to add flavour to the amount of water needed to fill five average-size swimming pools.

The flavour additive usually comes last, or second to last, in a processed food's list of ingredients. As a result, the flavour of a processed food often costs less than its packaging. Soft drinks contain a larger proportion of flavour additives than most products. The flavour in a 12oz can of Coke costs about half a cent.

The colour additives in processed foods are usually present in even smaller amounts than the flavour compounds. Many of New Jersey's flavour companies also manufacture these colour additives, which are used to make processed foods look fresh and appealing. Food colouring serves many of the same decorative purposes as lipstick, eye shadow, mascara - and is often made from the same pigments. Titanium dioxide, for example, has proved to be an especially versatile mineral. It gives many processed sweets, frostings and icings their bright white colour it is a common ingredient in women's cosmetics and it is the pigment used in many white oil paints and house paints. At Burger King, Wendy's and McDonald's, colouring agents have been added to many of the soft drinks, salad dressings, cookies, condiments, chicken dishes and sandwich buns.

Studies have found that the colour of a food can greatly affect how its taste is perceived. Brightly coloured foods frequently seem to taste better than bland-looking foods, even when the flavour compounds are identical. Foods that somehow look off-colour often seem to have off tastes. For thousands of years human beings have relied on visual cues to help determine what is edible. The colour of fruit suggests whether it is ripe, the colour of meat whether it is rancid. Flavour researchers sometimes use colured lights to modify the influence of visual cues during taste tests. During one experiment in the early 70s people were served an oddly tinted meal of steak and French fries that appeared normal beneath coloured lights. Everyone thought the meal tasted fine until the lighting was changed. Once it became apparent that the steak was actually blue and the fries were green, some people became ill.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require flavour companies to disclose the ingredients of their additives, so long as all the chemicals are considered by the agency to be GRAS (generally regarded as safe). This lack of public disclosure enables the companies to maintain the secrecy of their formulas. The ubiquitous phrase "artificial strawberry flavour" gives little hint of the chemical wizardry and manufacturing skill that can make a highly processed food taste like a strawberry.

A typical artificial strawberry flavour, such as that found in a Burger King strawberry milk shake, contains the following ingredients: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl acetate, ethyl amyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethlyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphenyl-2-butonone (10% solution in alcohol), a-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylactophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, g-undecalactone, vanillin and solvent.

A single compound often supplies the dominant aroma, providing an unmistakable sense of the food. Ethyl-2-methyl butyrate, for example, smells just like an apple. Today's highly processed foods offer a blank palette: whatever chemicals you add will give them specific tastes. Adding methyl-2-peridylketone makes something taste like popcorn. Adding ethyl-3-hydroxybutonoate makes it taste like marshmallow. The possibilities are almost limitless. Without affecting the appearance or nutritional value, processed foods could even be made with aroma chemicals such as hexanal (the smell of freshly cut grass) or 3-methyl butanoic acid (the smell of body odour).

The 60s were the heyday of artificial flavours. The synthetic versions of flavour compounds were not subtle, but they did not need to be, given the nature of most processed food. For the past 20 years, food processors have tried hard to use only natural flavours in their products. According to the FDA, these must be derived entirely from natural sources - from herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, beef, chicken, yeast, bark, roots, etc. Consumers prefer to see natural flavours on a label, out of a belief that they are healthier.

But the distinction between artificial and natural flavours can be somewhat arbitrary and absurd, based more on how the flavour has been made than on what it actually contains. "A natural flavour," says Terry Acree, a professor of food science technology at Cornell University, "is a flavour that's been derived with an out-of-date technology". Natural flavours and artificial flavours sometimes contain exactly the same chemicals, produced through different methods. Amyl acetate, for example, provides the dominant note of banana flavour. When you distil it from bananas with a solvent, amyl acetate is a natural flavour. When you produce it by mixing vinegar with amyl alcohol, adding sulphuric acid as a catalyst, amyl acetate is an artificial flavour. Either way, it smells and tastes the same. The phrase "natural flavour" is now listed among the ingredients of everything from Health Valley Blueberry Granola Bars to Taco Bell Hot Taco Sauce.

A natural flavour is not necessarily healthier or purer than an artificial one. When almond flavour (benzaldehyde) is derived from natural sources, such as peach and apricot pits, it contains traces of hydrogen cyanide, a deadly poison. Benzaldehyde, which is derived through a different process (by mixing oil of clove and the banana flavour, amyl acetate) does not contain any cyanide. Nevertheless, it is legally considered an artificial flavour and sells at a much lower price. Natural and artificial flavours are manufactured at the same chemical plants, places that few people would associate with Mother Nature. Calling any of these flavours "natural" requires a flexible attitude toward the English language and a fair amount of irony.

The small and elite group of scientists who create most of the flavour in most of the food now consumed in the US are called "flavourists". They draw upon a number of disciplines in their work: biology, psychology, physiology and organic chemistry.

A flavourist is a chemist with a trained nose and a poetic sensibility. Flavours are created by blending scores of different chemicals in tiny amounts, a process governed by scientific principles but demanding a fair amount of art. In an age where delicate aromas, subtle flavours and microwave ovens do not easily coexist, the job of the flavourist is to conjure illusions about processed food and, in the words of one flavour company's literature, to ensure "consumer likeability".

The flavourists with whom I spoke were charming, cosmopolitan and ironic. They were also discreet, in keeping with the dictates of their trade. They were the sort of scientist who not only enjoyed fine wine, but could also tell you the chemicals that give each vintage its unique aroma. One flavourist compared his work to composing music - a well-made flavour compound will have a "top note", followed by a "dry-down", and a "levelling-off", with different chemicals responsible for each stage. The taste of a food can be radically altered by minute changes in the flavouring mix. "A little odour goes a long way," one flavourist said.

In order to give a processed food the proper taste, a flavourist must always consider the food's "mouthfeel" - the unique combination of textures and chemical interactions that affects how the flavour is perceived. The mouthfeel can be adjusted through the use of various fats, gums, starches, emulsifiers and stabilisers. The aroma chemicals of a food can be precisely analysed, but mouthfeel is much harder to measure. How does one quantify a French fry's crispness? Food technologists are now conducting basic research in rheology, a branch of physics that examines the flow and deformation of materials. A number of companies sell sophisticated devices that attempt to measure mouthfeel. The TA.XT2i Texture Analyser, produced by the Texture Technologies Corporation, performs calculations based on data derived from as many as 250 separate probes. It is essentially a mechanical mouth. It gauges the most important rheological properties of a food - the bounce, creep, breaking point, density, crunchiness, chewiness, gumminess, lumpiness, rubberiness, slipperiness, smoothness, softness, wetness, juiciness, spreadability, springback and tackiness.

Some of the most important advances in flavour manufacturing are now occurring in the field of biotechnology. Complex flavours are being made through fermentation, enzyme reactions, fungal cultures and tissue cultures. All of the flavours being created through these methods - including the ones being synthesised by funguses - are considered natural flavours by the FDA.

The new enzyme-based processes are responsible for extremely lifelike dairy flavours. One company now offers not just butter flavour, but also fresh creamy butter, cheesy butter, milky butter, savoury melted butter and super-concentrated butter flavour, in liquid or powder form. The development of new fermentation techniques, as well as new techniques for heating mixtures of sugar and amino acids, have led to the creation of much more realistic meat flavours. The McDonald's Corporation will not reveal the exact origin of the natural flavour added to its French fries. In response to enquiries from Vegetarian Journal, however, McDonald's did acknowledge that its fries derive some of their characteristic flavour from "animal products".

Other popular fast foods derive their flavour from unexpected sources. Wendy's grilled chicken sandwich, for example, contains beef extracts. Burger King's BK broiler chicken breast patty contains "natural smoke flavour". A firm called Red Arrow Products Company specialises in smoke flavour, which is added to barbecue sauces and processed meats.

Red Arrow manufactures natural smoke flavour by charring sawdust and capturing the aroma chemicals released into the air. The smoke is captured in water and then bottled, so that other companies can sell food that seems to have been cooked over a fire.

The Vegetarian Legal Action Network recently petitioned the FDA to issue new labelling requirement for foods that contain natural flavours. The group wants food processors to list the basic origins of their flavours on their labels. At the moment vegetarians often have no way of knowing whether a flavour additive contains beef, pork, poultry or shellfish. One of the most widely used colour additives - whose presence is often hidden by the phrase "colour added" - violates a number of religious dietary restrictions, may cause allergic reactions in susceptible people, and comes from an unusual source.

Cochineal extract (also known as carmine or carminic acid) is made from the desiccated bodies of female Dactylopius coccus Costa, a small insect harvested mainly in Peru and the Canary Islands. The bug feeds on red cactus beries, and colour from the berries accumulates in the females and their unhatched larvae. The insects are collected, dried, and ground into a pigment. It takes about 70,000 of them to produce a pound of carmine, which is used to make processed foods look pink, red, or purple. Some strawberry yoghurt gets its colour from carmine, and so do many frozen fruit bars, sweets and fruit fillings, and Ocean Spray pink-grapefruit juice drink.

In a meeting room at IFF, Brian Grainger let me sample some of the company's flavours. It was an unusual taste test - there wasn't any food to taste. Grainger is a senior flavourist at IFF, a soft-spoken chemist with greying hair, an English accent and a fondness for understatement. He could easily be mistaken for a British diplomat or the owner of a West End brasserie with two Michelin stars. Like many in the flavour industry, he has an old-world, old-fashioned sensibility which seems out of step with our brand-conscious, egocentric age.

When I suggested that IFF should put its own logo on the products that contain its flavours - instead of allowing other brands to enjoy the consumer loyalty and affection inspired by these flavours - Grainger politely disagreed, assuring me that such a thing would never be done. In the absence of public credit or acclaim, the small and secretive fraternity of flavour chemists praises one another's work. Grainger can often tell, by analysing the flavour formula of a product, which of his counterparts at a rival firm devised it. And he enjoys walking down supermarket aisles, looking at the many products that contain his flavours, even if no one else knows it.

Grainger had brought a dozen small glass bottles from the lab. As he opened each bottle, I dipped a fragrance-testing filter into it. The filters were long, white strips of paper designed to absorb aroma chemicals without producing off-notes. Before placing the strips of paper before my nose, I closed my eyes. Then I inhaled deeply, and one food after another was conjured from the glass bottles. I smelled fresh cherries, black olives, saut*ed onions and shrimp. Grainger's most remarkable creation took me by surprise. After closing my eyes, I suddenly smelled a grilled hamburger. It smelled like someone else in the room was flipping burgers on a hot grill. But when I opened my eyes, there was just a narrow strip of white paper and a smiling flavourist.

© Eric Schlosser These are edited extracts from Fast Food Nation: What The All-American Meal Is Doing To The World, by Eric Schlosser, published by Allen Lane The Penguin Press, at £9.99.


Conclusion

As you can see, eating sugar is not just about gaining weight or blood sugar imbalances it creates problems for our whole body. Many of the risks are also compounding and amplify each other further. It is time, therefore, to take back your health and wake up to the bitter truth about sugar. Why risk so much when there are much healthier and better ways to treat ourselves.

The above summary list and explanations that I provided above are just the tip of the iceberg too. Sugar causes damage to literally every system or organ in our body, including ones not even mentioned like the liver and kidneys. It is also linked to learning disorders in kids, such as ADD/ADHD, and sugar is directly related to cancer. The higher the sugar consumption, the greater the risks.

My hope is that you don’t just brush this information aside or try to pretend that you never heard it. Ignorance does not bode well in the long-run. Take responsibility for your health based on what you choose to eat and take steps to remove sugar from your diet. If you need more information, motivation, or inspiration, then I recommend to follow-up with Dr. Olson’s book Sugarettes, which is a nice little book with a sobering message. You deserve better and you hold the power to choose how you will create your health by the food choices you make each day.