New York, Jul 25 (AP/UNB) — Fashion and lifestyle blogger Maui Bigelow has always been curvy and built a social media presence by embracing every pound.
Until the worst happened. At nearly 380 pounds, her health took a dive. She was diagnosed with a blood cancer and multiple uterine fibroids that couldn't be treated due to her weight. That's when she decided to have bariatric surgery, a weight loss procedure.
She hadn't yearned to be thinner, but she wanted to live at least long enough for her two children, ages 20 and 16, to make her a grandmother.
"For months I talked to my counselor about how I would share my truth with you," Bigelow told her followers at Phatgirlfresh.com after the weight loss surgery last year. "I was concerned about how you would receive it. I feared the plus-size and body positive communities wouldn't understand or respect my choice."
Bigelow, a former teacher in Albany, Georgia, with 67,500 monthly unique visitors to her site and nearly 40,000 followers on Instagram, was pleased her fans were resoundingly positive. That's not a small thing in her corner of the internet.
Fat-acceptance and body positive influencers like Bigelow are on the rise on social media and as fashion models as they fight back against the damaging pressures of idealized beauty peddled online and off. But what happens when, as in Bigelow's case, weight poses a serious health risk, or they decide to shed pounds for other reasons, turning their careers and social channels from fat acceptance to smaller sizes, dieting and fitness?
"The people who are having weight loss surgery in our community, they have the surgery, they go about their business and they shut up, for the most part. But it's important to share. There are women who are struggling with health issues who need this surgery," Bigelow said in an interview.
She's down to 240 pounds, but she's struggling to fully accept her future of fewer pounds, both personally and professionally.
"I was a bomb ass girl at almost 400 pounds," Bigelow said. "Some of these influencers, they talk about being fat and how they love their plus-size bodies and how they're so empowered in the space that they're in, and they have all of these women who support them, who are cheering them on. Then fast forward, they lose the weight and you see the before and after pictures: Oh, this is when I was 350 pounds. I was so depressed. I felt so ugly. And this is me now. I'm so happy. I'm so free. Wait a minute, girl. Didn't you say two years ago when you were 350 pounds that you loved your body and that you loved the size that you were? Me, I came into womanhood as a fat woman. I'm not as confident as I was."
Pia Schiavo-Campo, who posts from Los Angeles about style and culture on Instagram and blogs at Mixedfatchick.com, isn't a fan of dieting, before-and-after pictures or the lack of dialogue from fat-acceptance influencers about weight loss. As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder for the better part of 30 years, she's triggered by diet talk and conflicted about weight turnarounds, especially those not directly addressed.
It's the messaging, she said in an interview, especially when dieting or weight loss surgery transforms the online mission through photos and new collaborations focused on health and weight-loss products.
Schiavo-Campo's concerns are echoed by others in the anti-diet movement.
"Diet culture," she says, has been "basically imposed on us, mostly women. By the same token, I also believe that people should do what's best for their bodies."
JennyLee Molina in Miami did what's best for her body by losing 80 pounds in a year, trimming down to a size 8 after being told she was pre-diabetic. She did it without surgery, and lost one of her heroes, body-positive model Tess Holliday, in the process, after documenting her health and weight-loss journey on Instagram, where she has 11,900 followers.
Molina's feed includes before-and-after photos. She said she sought out Holliday through private messaging after realizing Holliday had unfollowed her.
"Your weight loss posts are too triggering for me, I'm sure you understand," Holliday explained in a private reply earlier this year. "It's not personal."
A representative for Holliday did not respond to requests for comment.
Molina recalled how much she loved Holliday's take-no-prisoners approach to fat acceptance as she gained popularity with a groundbreaking modeling contract and her "effyourbeautystandards" movement on Instagram in 2013. Molina, who has a 9-year-old son, was thrilled when she had a chance to meet Holliday in 2015, at a time when Molina had gained a significant amount of weight after knee surgery.
"She was a go-to for inspiration, someone I admired in terms of embracing your curves, embracing where you're at," Molina said. "The community is very divided between those who are more about fat pride, which is fine, and the ones who are all about wherever you're at, be comfortable in your own skin. That's where I feel like I am. I think everybody should embrace themselves at every step of the journey and we shouldn't shame people who decide to lose weight to feel better. There's nothing wrong with it."
Peggy Howell, vice chair and spokeswoman for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, posts on Instagram as FatAcceptanceWarrior. Her organization was founded in 1969 and has a paid membership of more than 11,000.
Howell, who lives in Las Vegas, thinks the fat acceptance and body positive movements have become muddled, with dieting and weight loss as a constant hot button.
"It seems like hypocrisy," she said of fat-acceptance influencers who shed weight and attempt to hang on to lucrative careers. "A lot of people clap back within the community. A lot of people get upset. We support people making choices that will help them be healthier, but dieting is a losing battle."
Atlanta, Jul 24 (AP/UNB) — As Sanjay Johnson describes it, his sexual encounter with James Booth on Oct. 2, 2015, was a one-night stand. But it would bind the men inextricably two years later, when Booth walked into an Arkansas police station and accused Johnson of exposing him to HIV.
Little Rock prosecutors pursued a criminal charge against Johnson even though a doctor said he couldn't have transmitted HIV to Booth because he was on medication that suppressed his virus.
"It really tested me just to keep going," Johnson said about his criminal case, which ended this year. "Last year, I thought of suicide."
Booth said he deserved to know about Johnson's HIV status regardless of any medical treatment.
"I could have protected myself," he said.
Roughly 20 states have laws like the one in Arkansas that make it a crime for people with HIV to have sex without first informing their partner of their infection, regardless of whether they used a condom or were on medication that made transmission of the disease effectively impossible.
Health experts and advocates for HIV patients say that rather than deterring behavior that could transmit the virus, such laws perpetuate stigma about the disease that can prevent people from getting diagnosed or treated.
North Carolina and Michigan recently updated their HIV policies to exempt HIV patients from prosecution if they're on medication that has suppressed their virus. A Louisiana law that took effect in August 2018 allows defendants to challenge a charge of exposing someone to HIV by presenting evidence that a doctor advised them they weren't infectious.
Many advocates say the new policies create an underclass of people who lack access to drugs and are therefore still vulnerable to prosecution. They say states should instead decriminalize HIV exposure altogether unless the person intends to infect someone.
"We shouldn't be creating laws that create additional strata and divisiveness among already marginalized populations," said Eric Paulk, deputy director of Georgia Equality.
The fight comes as the Trump administration aims to eradicate HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — by 2030.
The laws' defenders point to statistics showing tens of thousands of new HIV diagnoses each year and say that although the disease may not be a death sentence anymore, it still requires a lifetime of expensive medical treatment.
The Arkansas attorney general's office filed a brief last year in Johnson's case rejecting the argument that criminalizing HIV exposure no longer served any purpose.
"HIV remains a serious threat to public health," it wrote.
In Booth and Johnson's case, they met through a gay dating app.
According to Booth, Johnson denied he was HIV positive before they had unprotected sex. Johnson, 26, said he didn't remember discussing his HIV status.
A plea deal that prosecutors offered Johnson shows officials were mindful of advances in the science around HIV, said John Johnson, chief deputy prosecutor in Pulaski County. The deal allowed the accused man to avoid prison time and have his record expunged.
But prosecutors also wanted to promote the importance of disclosing HIV to potential sexual partners, he said.
"The flip side of this coin is that there is a victim to this crime," the prosecutor said.
People with HIV who are on antiretroviral drugs that keep their viral load below a specific threshold have "effectively no risk" of transmitting HIV, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But as of 2016, only a little more than half of the estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. were virally suppressed, the CDC says.
Sarah Lewis Peel, spokeswoman for North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services, said in an email that her state's new policy ensures HIV prevention and control strategies are "firmly rooted in science." Responding to criticism that the change leaves some people behind, she listed multiple programs that cover HIV medication.
Critics say states should decriminalize HIV exposure altogether unless there's intent to infect someone. That would reflect the reality that HIV is manageable and not easy to contract, dozens of advocacy groups said in a July 2017 consensus statement.
Georgia may be headed in that direction. Pending legislation would require intent to transmit HIV for a prosecution.
It's not clear how many people have faced prosecution under HIV laws around the country, but data from two states analyzed by a think tank at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law indicate they aren't isolated occurrences. Florida and Georgia authorities made nearly 1,500 arrests on suspicion of HIV-related crimes from the 1980s through 2017, hundreds of which resulted in convictions, according to the Williams Institute.
Booth said he tested positive for HIV after his encounter with Johnson. Johnson's doctor, Nathaniel Smith, told The Associated Press that Booth couldn't have contracted HIV from Johnson because a lab test around the time of their encounter showed Johnson's viral load was too low. Smith, who testified in Johnson's case, also directs the Arkansas Department of Health.
Johnson pleaded no contest in February to aggravated assault as part of his deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to five years' probation. He would have faced up to 30 years behind bars and the possibility of having to register as a sex offender had a jury convicted him of the HIV-exposure charge.
He has a new job helping people manage their diets but said his arrest and prosecution left a scar.
"It did make me more closed off," he said.
Booth said he has sympathy for what Johnson went through but stands by his decision to tell police.
"It was something that needed to be done," he said.
Space weather threatens high-tech life
Roger Dube Rochester Institute of Technology
(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)
Roger Dube, Rochester Institute of Technology
(THE CONVERSATION) Shortly after 4 a.m. on a crisp, cloudless September morning in 1859, the sky above what is currently Colorado erupted in bright red and green colors. Fooled by the brightness into thinking it was an early dawn, gold-rush miners in the mountainous region of what was then called the Kansas Territory woke up and started making breakfast. What happened in more developed regions was even more disorienting, and carries a warning for the wired high-tech world of the 21st century.
As the sky lit up over the nighttime side of the Earth, telegraph systems worldwide went berserk, clacking nonsense code and emitting large sparks that ignited fires in nearby piles of paper tape. Telegraph operators suffered electrical burns. Even disconnecting the telegraph units from their power sources didn’t stop the frenzy, because the transmission wires themselves were carrying huge electrical currents. Modern technology had just been humbled by a fierce space weather storm that had arrived from the sun, the largest ever recorded – and more than twice as powerful as a storm nine years earlier, which had itself been the largest in known history.
My seven years of research on predicting solar storms, combined with my decades using GPS satellite signals under various solar storm conditions, indicate that today’s even more sensitive electronics and satellites would be devastated should an event of that magnitude occur again. In 2008, a panel of experts commissioned by the National Academy of Sciences issued a detailed report with a sobering conclusion: The world would be thrown back to the life of the early 1800s, and it would take years – or even a decade – to recover from an event that large.
A solar explosion
Space weather storms have happened since the birth of the solar system, and have hit Earth many times, both before and after that massive event in 1859, which was named the Carrington event after a British astronomer who recorded his observations of the sun at the time. They’re caused by huge electromagnetic explosions on the surface of the sun, called coronal mass ejections. Each explosion sends billions of protons and electrons, in a superheated ball of plasma, out into the solar system.
About 1 in every 20 coronal mass ejections heads in a direction that intersects Earth’s orbit. Around three days later, our planet experiences what is called a space weather storm or a geomagnetic storm.
While these events are described using terms like “weather” and “storm,” they do not affect whether it’s rainy or sunny, hot or cold, or other aspects of what it’s like outdoors on any given day. Their effects are not meteorological, but only electromagnetic.
When the coronal mass ejection arrives at Earth, the charged particles collide with air molecules in the upper atmosphere, generating heat and light called aurora.
Also, as happens anytime moving electrical charges encounter a magnetic field, the interaction creates a spontaneous electrical current in any conductor that’s available. If the plasma ball is big enough, its interaction with Earth’s magnetic field can induce large currents on long wires on the ground, like the one that overloaded telegraph circuits in 1859.
On March 13, 1989, a storm only about one-fifth as strong as the Carrington event hit Earth. It induced a large surge of current in the long power lines of the Hydro-Quebec power grid, causing physical damage to transmission equipment and leaving 6 million people without power for nine hours. Another storm-induced power surge destroyed a large transformer at a New Jersey nuclear plant. Even though a spare transformer was nearby, it still took six months to remove and replace the melted unit. Some people worried that the bright auroral lights meant nuclear war had broken out.
And in October 2003, a rapid series of solar storms affected Earth. Collectively called the Halloween solar storm, this series caused surges that threatened the North American power grid. Its effects on satellites made GPS navigation erratic and interrupted communications connections during the peak of the storm.
Larger storms will have wider effects, cause more damage and take longer to recover from.
Geomagnetic storms attack the lifeblood of modern technology: electricity. A space weather storm typically lasts for two or three days, during which the entire planet is subjected to powerful electromagnetic forces. The National Academy of Sciences study concluded that an especially massive storm would damage and shut down power grids and communications networks worldwide.
After the storm passed, there would be no simple way to restore power. Manufacturing plants that build replacements for burned-out lines or power transformers would have no electricity themselves. Trucks needed to deliver raw materials and finished equipment wouldn’t be able to fuel up, either: Gas pumps run on electricity. And what pumps were running would soon dry up, because electricity also runs the machinery that extracts oil from the ground and refines it into usable fuel.
With transportation stalled, food wouldn’t get from farms to stores. Even systems that seem non-technological, like public water supplies, would shut down: Their pumps and purification systems need electricity. People in developed countries would find themselves with no running water, no sewage systems, no refrigerated food, and no way to get any food or other necessities transported from far away. People in places with more basic economies would also be without needed supplies from afar.
It could take between four and 10 years to repair all the damage. In the meantime, people would need to grow their own food, find and carry and purify water, and cook meals over fires.
Some systems would continue to operate, of course: bicycles, horse-drawn carriages and sailing ships. But another type of equipment that would keep working provides a clue to preventing this type of disaster: Electric cars would continue to work, but only in places where there were solar panels and wind turbines to recharge them.
Preparing and protecting
Geomagnetic storms would affect those small-scale installations far less than grid-scale systems. It’s a basic principle of electricity and magnetism that the longer a wire that’s exposed to a moving magnetic field, the larger the current that’s induced in that wire.
In 1859, the telegraph system was so profoundly affected because it had wires stretching from city to city across the U.S. Those very long wires had to handle enormous amounts of energy all at once, and failed. Today, there are long runs of wires connecting power generators to consumers – such as from Niagara Falls to New York City – that would be similarly susceptible to large induced currents.
The only way to reduce vulnerability to geomagnetic storms is to substantially revamp the power grid. Now, it is a vast web of wires that effectively spans continents. Governments, businesses and communities need to work together to split it into much smaller components, each serving a town or perhaps even a neighborhood – or an individual house. These “microgrids” can be connected to each other, but should have protections built in to allow them to be disconnected quickly when a storm approaches. That way, the length of wires affected by the storm will be shorter, reducing the potential for damage.
A family using solar panels and batteries for storage and an electric car to get around would likely find its water supply, natural gas or internet service disrupted. But their freedom to travel, and to use electric lights to work after dark, would provide a much better chance at survival.
When will the next storm hit?
People should start preparing today. It’s impossible to know when a major storm will hit next: The most we’ll get is a three-day warning when something happens on the surface of the sun. It’s really only a matter of time before there is another one like the Carrington event.
Solar astrophysicists are also studying the sun to identify any events or conditions that might herald a coronal mass ejection. They’re collecting enormous amounts of data about the sun and using computer analysis to try to connect that information to geomagnetic storms on Earth. This work is underway and will become more refined over time. The research has not yet yielded a reliable prediction of a coming solar storm before an ejection occurs, but it improves each year.
In my view, the safest course of action involves developing microgrids based on renewable energy. That would not only improve people’s quality of life around the planet right now, but also provide the best opportunity to maintain that lifestyle when adverse events happen.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here: http://theconversation.com/space-weather-threatens-high-tech-life-92711.
Washington, Jul 24 (AP/uNB) — Two veteran senators — a Republican and a Democrat — unveiled compromise legislation Tuesday to reduce prescription drug costs for millions of Medicare recipients, while saving money for federal and state health care programs serving seniors and low-income people.
Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden said the bill would for the first time limit drug copays for people with Medicare's "Part D" prescription plan , by capping patients' out-of-pocket costs at $3,100 a year starting in 2022. They're hoping to have it ready soon for votes on the Senate floor.
The legislation would also require drugmakers to pay a price-hike penalty to Medicare if the cost of their medications goes up faster than inflation. Drugs purchased through a pharmacy as well as those administered in doctors' offices would be covered by the new inflation rebates.
Political compromises over health care are rare these days. The bill reflects efforts by lawmakers of both parties to move beyond the rancorous debates over the Obama-era Affordable Care Act and focus on ways to lower costs for people with health insurance. Separate legislation to address "surprise medical bills" has already cleared the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.
The senators said preliminary estimates from the Congressional Budget Office show that the Medicare program would save $85 billion over 10 years, while seniors would save $27 billion in out-of-pocket costs over the same period, and $5 billion from slightly lower premiums. The government would save $15 billion from projected Medicaid costs.
CBO also projected that Medicare's inflation rebate would have ripple effects, leading to prescription drug savings for private insurance plans sponsored by employers or purchased directly by consumers.
The senators announced a Thursday vote on the package by the Finance Committee, which oversees Medicare and Medicaid. Grassley is the panel's chairman, while Wyden serves as the senior Democrat.
"Pharmaceutical companies play a vital role in creating new and innovative medicines that save and improve the quality of millions of American lives, but that doesn't help Americans who can't afford them," Grassley and Wyden said in a joint statement. "This legislation shows that no industry is above accountability."
The White House encouraged the Senate negotiations, and spokesman Judd Deere said the Trump administration stands ready to "work with senators to ensure this proposal moves forward and advances the president's priority of lowering drug prices."
Democrats controlling the House want to go farther by granting Medicare legal authority to directly negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies. Direct negotiations are seen as a nonstarter in the Republican-controlled Senate, but the bill's drug price inflation penalty may yet find support among Democrats in the House.
Grassley's office said the bill will force drugmakers and insurers to take greater responsibility for keeping Medicare prescription prices in line, instead of foisting increases on taxpayers and beneficiaries.
The lack of a cap on out-of-pocket costs for Medicare's popular prescription benefit has left some beneficiaries with bills rivaling a mortgage payment. That's because with Medicare's current protection for catastrophic costs, patients taking very expensive drugs are still responsible for 5% of the cost, with no dollar limit on what they pay. For example, 5% of a drug that costs $200,000 a year works out to $10,000.
The Grassley-Wyden bill does not directly address the problem of high launch prices for new medications, but its inflation rebates could put the brakes on price hikes for mainstay drugs such as insulin.
The bill drew a rebuke from the pharmaceutical industry, while AARP praised Grassley and Wyden.
Other provisions of the legislation would:
— Change an arcane Medicaid payment formula through which drugmakers can avoid paying rebates on certain drugs, depending on fluctuations in prices.
— Allow state Medicaid programs to pay for expensive gene therapy treatments on the installment plan, spreading out the costs over several years.
— Require drugmakers to provide public justification for new high cost drugs or steep hikes in the prices of existing medications.
— Require middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers to disclose details of the discounts they are negotiating and how much they are passing on to consumers. The benefit managers negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of insurers and consumers.
— Provide doctors with new computer tools they can use to estimate out-of-pocket medication costs for patients with Medicare.
Dhaka, July 23 (UNB) - A new research has suggested that one can fall asleep quicker and experience better quality sleep if a hot water birth is taken 90 minutes before bedtime. Biomedical engineers at University of Texas-Austin reached this conclusion after analysing thousands of studies linking water-based passive body heating, or bathing and showering with warm/hot water, with improved sleep quality, reports The Indian Express.
“When we looked through all known studies, we noticed significant disparities in terms of the approaches and findings,” said Shahab Haghayegh, lead author on the paper.
“The only way to make an accurate determination of whether sleep can, in fact, be improved was to combine all the past data and look at it through a new lens.”
In collaboration with the UT Health Science Center at Houston and the University of Southern California, the researchers reviewed 5,322 studies.
Meta-analytical tools were used to assess the consistency between relevant studies and showed that an optimum temperature of between 104 and 109 degrees Fahrenheit (40-42 degrees Celsius) improved overall sleep quality. The paper explaining the method was recently published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews.
When scheduled one-two hours before bedtime, it can also hasten the speed of falling asleep by an average of 10 minutes.
It is understood that both sleep and our body’s core temperature are regulated by a circadian clock located within the brain’s hypothalamus that drives the 24-hour patterns of many biological processes, including sleep and wakefulness.
The average person’s circadian cycle is characterised by a reduction in core body temperature of about 0.5 to 1 Fahrenheit around an hour before usual sleep time – dropping to its lowest level between the middle and later span of night-time sleep. It then begins to rise, acting as a kind of a biological alarm clock wake-up signal.
The researchers found the optimal timing of bathing for cooling down of core body temperature in order to improve sleep quality is about 90 minutes before going to bed.
“If baths are taken at the right biological time – 1-2 hours before bedtime – they will aid the natural circadian process and increase one’s chances of not only falling asleep quickly but also of experiencing better quality sleep,” read the findings.
Dhaka, Jul 23 (UNB)- While most of us happily consume anything that says “sugar-free”, assuming that it doesn’t have sugar at all, what we don’t realise is that “sugar-free” doesn’t mean ‘no sugar’. Like we add white table sugar or brown sugar to our cakes, coffee, cookies and even fruits, food manufacturers are also known to add artificial sweeteners, a form of sugar, or typically high-fructose corn syrup to foods and beverages including crackers, tomato sauce and salad dressing. Even low-fat foods like flavoured yogurt are considered to be high on sugar reports the Indian Express.
Pune-based diabetes researcher Dr Pramod Tripathi, founder, Freedom from Diabetes center, tells indianexpress.com, “Sugar-free and no added sugar labelled products do not mean the same thing”. “According to United States’ Food and Drug Administration guidelines ‘no added sugar’ means no sugar-containing ingredient is used during processing and ‘sugar free’ means a food must have 0.5 gram of sugar (naturally occurring or any sugar ingredient) per serving. Both these terms do not say anything about artificial sweeteners.”
Either added by consumers themselves or found in processed foods, such sugars are called free sugars, and include glucose, dextrose, fructose, household sugar (sucrose), malt sugar (maltose) and also sugars that are found in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
Why is added sugar a concern? Sugar in all forms is a simple carbohydrate that the body converts into glucose and uses for energy. But the effect on the body and your overall health depends on the type of sugar you are eating. Since added sugars are easily broken down by once’s body, sugar levels tend to rise very rapidly unlike natural sugars.
Aside from adding calories to your body, added sugar provides no nutrition which is why it is often referred to as ’empty calories’ that causes weight gain and obesity. Having too much sugar can lead to many problems, ranging from trouble in concentration, mood swings, sudden drop and rise in blood sugar level, inflammation in the body to chronic illnesses like heart problems and diabetes.
According to FDA, the added sugar-intake recommendation should not be more than 10 per cent of one’s daily calorie intake. But World Health Organisation (WHO) reduced this percentage from 10 to five per cent. For an adult who has a normal BMI, WHO recommends no more than five teaspoons of sugar.
But the guideline does not refer to naturally occurring sugar that is found in fresh fruits, vegetables, milk and whole grains as these food items are known to have less amount of sugar and also have other additional health benefits. Even doctors are concerned about added sugars and not the naturally occurring sugar.
In fact, accumulating evidence also suggests that frequent consumers of these sugar substitutes may also be at increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease as per a Purdue University study in the US.
Since the generally accepted definition of sugar includes just glucose and sucrose, these sugar-free products are laden with FDA-approved artificial sweeteners, suggests Dr Mayank Uppal, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science & Research, Delhi.
“Neotame, Saccharin, Aspartame, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose and Advantame are some of the artificial sweeteners. When people end up using these products, it not only adds to their calories but makes the product very sweet due to the use of high-intensity artificial sweeteners. As consumers gorge on these products, they tend to develop a distaste for healthier options like fruits that are mildly sweet. This makes them add a large amount of calories to their diet,” he tells indianexpress.com.
So what is the way out? Dr Uppal recommends that while looking for sugar-free products, consumers should also be aware that products that claim to be sugar-free may not necessarily be low in calories and carbohydrates as perceived. “Consumers should not be satisfied with the conventional definition of sugar but also stay away from products that may contain ingredients like corn syrup extract, maple syrup and honey,” he says.