Health Buzz: Sugar in What's Considered 'Safe' Doses Still Risky

'Food Network Star' winner Damaris Phillips on southern cooking; what Papa John's doesn't want you to know about its food

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A Study of Mice Suggests Drinking Three Sodas Per Day Could Cause Serious Health Problems

To analyze the effects of sugar on humans, researchers at the University of Utah provided mice with a diet of 25 percent extra sugar and ran a sensitive toxicity test. (Twenty-five percent extra sugar in a mouse diet is the equivalent of a healthy human diet plus three cans of soda daily.) While the mice didn't become obese, the females on the sugar-added diet died at twice the rate of the control group, and the males on the sugar-added diet produced 25 percent fewer offspring than the control group and acquired fewer territories, according to a University of Utah news release.  "These findings represent the lowest level of sugar consumption shown to adversely affect mammalian health," states the study abstract, published today in the journal Nature Communications.

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  • 'Food Network Star' Winner Damaris Phillips on Southern Cooking

    The "Southern spitfire" took home the cake – or the fried chicken, as the case may be.

    On Sunday, Damaris Phillips, 32, a culinary instructor from Louisville, Ky., topped Russell Jackson and Rodney Henry on the ninth season of "Food Network Star." The victory comes after a 10-week season that required Phillips and 11 other chefs to compete in culinary challenges and show off their TV presentation skills. Phillips won her own show on the Food Network, which will debut this fall.

    Phillips spoke to U.S. News about how she's celebrating and what we can expect to see from her in the future. Her responses have been edited.

    Congratulations! How are you feeling?

    Just awesome. I'm a little overwhelmed right now and so excited I can't stand it. And I'm a little shell-shocked – I just cannot believe it. You hope that everybody gets an opportunity like this in life, to have people that excited and cheering for them. [Read more: 'Food Network Star' Winner Damaris Phillips on Southern Cooking]

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    • What Papa John's Doesn't Want You to Know About Its Food

      Food companies understand that Americans are increasingly interested in buying food that actually seems worth eating, writes U.S. News blogger Melanie Warner. We want food that's some degree of fresh, healthy, natural or otherwise of higher quality. It's for this reason that you see images of plump fruit decorating packages of cereal bars and the greenest broccoli you've ever laid eyes upon appearing on boxes of frozen dinners. At Burger King, you don't order a mere salad – it's a Chicken Caesar Garden Fresh Salad. Those chips aren't just cheese-flavored – they're Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips, with "harvest cheddar" an entirely meaningless term.

      Few companies have applied this appeal more literally than Papa John's, which for years has boasted "Better pizza. Better ingredients." Printed on every Papa John's pizza box is a little story: "When I founded Papa John's in 1984, my mission was to build a better pizza," says "Papa" John Schnatter. "I went the extra mile to ensure we used the highest quality ingredients available – like fresh, never frozen original dough, all-natural sauce, veggies sliced fresh daily and 100 percent real beef and pork. We think you'll taste the difference."

      After all, who wouldn't want fresher, better ingredients in their pizza? A great deal of the food we currently eat, both from the supermarket and at chain restaurants, is comprised of ingredients created as cheaply as possible (tomatoes chosen for their shipability, not flavor; chicken as bland as a pizza box because the bird only lived for 10 weeks and ate a monotonous diet) and highly processed additives, many of them not even technically edible. [Read more: What Papa John's Doesn't Want You to Know About Its Food]

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