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Posted on 10-21-2015

Posted: May 11, 2015
By: Dr Peter Clark

Today we are eating sugar like never before. Individually, we consume an average of 150 pounds a year (that is EACH person!!!) That is more than 40 teaspoons a day…. did you get that? 40 teaspoons a day! In the early 1800’s the average person consumed only 9 pounds a year.

We like things sweet. And to accommodate our tastebuds (and big biz pockets) there is sugar hidden in everything. Toothpaste, crackers, sauces, even things that you would think were good for us like fruit juice.

Sugar is seriously bad for us.

1. Sugar can damage your heart affecting the pumping mechanism and increasing the risk of heart failure.
2. Sugar is making us fat. Obesity is on the rise. Adolescent obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years.
3. Sugar is the true silent killer. Excess fructose consumption is linked to an increase in a condition called leptin resistance. Leptin tells you when you've had enough food. Leptin resistance leads to over eating and being overweight.
4. Sugar may be linked to cancer. Insulin is sugar's chaperone to the cells, and when too much of it is consumed, or our insulin doesn’t work. This produces a domino effect including our ability to avoid and fight cancer.
5. Sugar and alcohol have similar toxic liver effects on the body And if you think that your slim stature keeps you immune from fructose causing liver damage, think again. Liver damage could occur even without excess calories or weight gain.
6. Sugar accelerates the aging process. Sugar may affect the aging of your brain as well. Excess sugar consumption was linked to deficiencies in memory and overall cognitive health. (not to mention, all the wrinkles)
7. An overload of sugar (specifically in beverages) may shorten your life. Too much sugar can lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
8. Sugar is addictive.

Sorry to say, there is no easy fix like switching to artificial sweeteners. Sugar is actually one of the more palatable sweeteners… in moderation.

The BIG idea is to cut back on sugar. But another thing to consider is what type of sugar you are consuming…. Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose. It can be confusing.

Glucose is the body’s preferred energy source. Look for simple non refined foods like: raw fruits and vegetables, berries, mushrooms, molasses, beans and whole grains.

Fructose is a highly refined sugar that is cheap and since it is in liquid form, it mixes well with most anything. Therefore it is found in very large amounts in the American diet. (again, we like things sweet and manufacturers have found ways to sweeten our products with fructose). However, fructose can only be metabolized in the liver and does not give us sustained energy and can lead to all kinds of health issues. Avoid anything containing high fructose corn syrup, soft drinks, highly processed foods.
    •    Fructose elevates uric acid, which may lead to inflammation and a number of diseases including hypertension and kidney disease.
    •    Fructose leads to insulin resistance, an underlying factor in Type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and many cancers.
    •    Fructose deceives your metabolism and tricks your body into gaining weight! Fructose doesn’t appropriately stimulate insulin, which, as a result, fails to suppress ghrelin (hunger hormone) and to stimulate leptin (satiety hormone).
    •    Fructose Rapidly leads to metabolic syndrome, or weight gain and abdominal obesity (beer belly), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure.
    •    Fructose Metabolizes like ethanol, causing toxic effects like non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD).

Sucrose is the typical white table sugar made from sugar can or sugar beets. Sucrose is half fructose and half glucose. Because both sugars are combined, the body can use the glucose and eliminate the fructose. (when it is only fructose and not combined, the body cannot eliminate the fructose and has to process in the liver.) Sucrose is found in baked goods, some fruits, certain cereals, peanut butter, candy etc. Eat smart, minimize intake of sucrose.

What to do?

1. Read ingredients. Find better options and simple changes that can affect your families health.
2. Cut back. Really, just cut back. If you like 3 spoons of sugar in your coffee, ween yourself back to 2 spoons, then 1 spoonful. At some point you might just realize that coffee is pretty good without the sweetness. Bake your cookies with a little less sugar. Don’t have that second donut. etc.
3. STOP drinking soda! Again, STOP drinking soda! Switching to diet is NOT THE ANSWER, the artificial sweeteners in diet are worse than the sugars in regular soda. If you want a quick pick me up (even better than coffee), drink a glass of water with a bit of squeezed lemon juice.
4. Avoid Fructose. (Fructose can be found in many vegetables and  fruits. In smaller quantities and combined with the benefits of fruit, it is fine. But avoid fruit juices and especially if it is labeled “cocktail” that is even higher concentrates of sugar)
5. Avoid sugar substitutes.
6. Eat something sour. Things that taste sour trick our taste buds lessen cravings for sweets.

By cutting out sugar bit by bit, you will find that you are more satisfied with less cravings and your body will love you.

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