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Sugar has been, over the years, important to the Caribbean as it is one of our major exports, made from the sugar cane grown in many of our countries. In addition to using it in sweetening drinks and in cakes, puddings and pastries, we use sugar in our own Caribbean confectionary such as peppermint candy, tamarind balls, coconut, peanut or almond drops, among many other uses. In this issue of Nyam News we look at sugar in the diet and whether indiscriminate consumption of sugar leads directly to persons becoming obese.
You're in the gym and you  stroll over to the refreshment counter and say “Can I have a bottle of water please?” The seller asks “What kind?” You repeat, “Bottled!” He points to the wide variety of water bottles on display in the refrigerator – the colours are catchy, the labels are bold and you become confused when you are faced with the decision – plain water or water fortified with calcium, vitamin C or fibre? Sweetened with sugar or sugar substitutes? Grapefruit, lime, cucumber, mango or strawberry flavoured? The natural element from the earth is not as simple as it once was and our expectations of it have grown.

Garlic is a member of the lily family (Liliaceae). It is also closely related
to the onion, shallot, leek and chive. There are many varieties of garlic
but the most widely used variety is Allium sativum, which is the garlic
used as a spice. The majority of the plant is considered edible including
the leaves, stems and flowers. These are usually consumed while immature.
The most commonly used part is the underground bulb, which is comprised
of several cloves joined together and encased in a papery covering.

Strange as it may seem, the most widely consumed drug in the world is
not alcohol, marijuana or even cocaine – it is caffeine!  Caffeine is a
stimulant that is found in the leaves, fruits and beans of some plants.
The most popular caffeine containing plants are coffee (beans), the kola
nut and teas.  In this issue of Nyam News, we will examine the effect of
caffeine on health and well being and determine if there are any benefits
to be derived from the consumption of this naturally occurring alkaloid.

The health, growth and development of the foetus depend on the nutritional
status of the mother before conception and during pregnancy. Women who
are underweight or overweight at the time of conception are at a greater
risk of developing complications during pregnancy, labour and delivery and having premature and low birth weight infants. However, once pregnant, women should not try to lose weight but should have adequate nutrition throughout pregnancy as this is the time when the foetus requires extra nutritional requirements which can only be met by dietary intake and body stores.

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Caribbean Food & Nutrition Institute
Jamaica Centre

University of the West Indies Campus Mona, P. O. Box 140, Kingston 7, Jamaica
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Caribbean Food & Nutrition Institute
Trinidad Centre

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