Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sugar, Sugar, You Got Me Wanting You

I'm not talking about the song Sugar, Sugar sung by The Archies, but rather the sugar sweet-tooth we are all  guilty of that for most of us needs to be constantly satisfied.  Like the unquenchable thirst of an addict for the next hit, sugar has become our drug of choice.  Our love affair with sugar is found in foods such as candy, fruit, salt, peanut butter, canned vegetables, medicines, toothpaste, almost all processd "fat-free" products and many more.  Added refined sugar also appears in foods you may not suspect, so always read food labels.

Scientific research has been done showing all of the ways in which refined sugar destroys our health. Over the last 20 years Nancy Appleton, PhD, has compiled a list of risks associated with sugar consumption.  It has grown to include 140 points. Below is a small sampling of the entire list that can be found on her blog.

  • Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, lung, gallbladder and stomach.
  • Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose and can cause reactive hypoglycemia.
  • Sugar can cause many problems with the gastrointestinal tract, including an acidic digestive tract, indigestion, malabsorption in patients with functional bowel disease, increased risk of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Sugar can interfere with your absorption of protein.
  • Sugar can cause food allergies.
  • Sugar contributes to obesity.

    But not all sugar is created alike. White table sugar (sucrose) is composed of two sugars: glucose and fructose. Glucose is an important nutrient in our bodies and is healthy, as long as it’s consumed in moderation. Fructose is a different story.  Fructose is found primarily in fruits and vegetables, and sweeteners like sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). A recent USDA report found that the average American eats 152 pounds of sugar each year, including almost 64 pounds of HFCS.

    Unlike glucose, which is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and taken up by the cells, fructose is shunted directly to the liver where it is converted to fat. Excess fructose consumption causes a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is directly linked to both diabetes and obesity.  A 2009 study showed that shifting 25% of dietary calories from glucose to fructose caused a 4-fold increase in abdominal fat.  Tummy/waistline fat is an independent predictor of insulin sensitivity, impaired glucose tolerance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and several other metabolic diseases.

    In a widely popular talk on YouTube, Dr. Robert H. Lustig explains that fructose has all of the qualities of a poison. It causes damage, provides no benefit and is sent directly to the liver to be detoxified so that it doesn’t harm the body.  For more on the toxic effects of fructose, see The Perfect Health Diet and Robert Lustig’s YouTube talk: Sugar, The Bitter Truth.

    It's going to take a  LOT of discipline and persistence to ditch your addiction to sugar. Headaches, cravings for weeks, lethargy, and mild depression are all common side effects you may go through as you reduce and eliminate added sugar from your diet. This article, Sugar Detox Addiction 101 from the Team Beachbody Newsletter has the scoop on what you need to know and and more important what you need to do to take back control of your life!

    If you want the straight dope on fueling your body with nutritious food and what to avoid, I'm here to help and it won't cost you a penny for the free advice based on my own experience and what has worked for me.  I hope you'll follow my blog and provide me with some feedback on my posts.  I'll be catering good choices that include both dietary and lifestyle changes.  So if you could use a boost to your engine, buckle up for the ride of your life and let's get started!

    Note:  Many foods contain hidden sugar or chemically-constructed sweeteners, which can be found listed on product labels under names you may not recognize. Read labels to avoid hidden sugar and artificial sweeteners such as those listed below.
    • Granulated sugar
    • Confectioner’s sugar
    • Honey
    • Molasses
    • Maple syrup
    • Brown sugar
    • Corn syrup
    • High-fructose corn syrup
    • Evaporated cane juice
    • Cane sugar
    • Turbinado sugar
    • Raw sugar
    • Beet sugar
    • Invert sugar
    • Sucrose
    • Fructose
    • Glucose
    • Dextrose
    • Galactose
    • Lactose
    • Maltose
    • Sorbitol
    • Mannitol
    • Xylitol
    • Maltodextrin
    • Polydextrose
    • Fruit juice concentrate
    • Erythritol
    • Aspartame
    • Saccharin
    • Sucralose
    • Neotame
    • NutraSweet
    • AminoSweet
    • Splenda


    1. Hey David

      This is a good post! I think a lot of people need to realize the dangers in not only in HFCS but also just too much sugar in general. People have been so concerned with keeping fat intake to a minimum that they have not been concerned with the amount of sugar they have consumed. A study done by a professor at the Stanford, called the A TO Z study showed that while on a low carb diet blood lipid profiles improved on all levels compared to the other three diets that were studied. keep up the good info.

      Daniel C Stephens

    2. Thanks Daniel! Sugar, be it refined, artifical or otherwise added to food, is one of the first things I removed from my healthy diet. Read my blog post Fuel for the Race of Life to see the foods I eliminated and avoid as well as the healthy foods I focus on.