What could be more comforting that sugar? We love it in our drinks, deserts and have even come to expect it in our salad dressings and soups. Sugar conjures up happy memories, warm feelings and satisfies our cravings. But is that brownie poisoning you?
Yes, it is. The research is indisputable: sugar is bad for you. Really bad for you.
First, the facts: we love sugar. And we seem to love it more with each passing year. In 1700, an average person consumed about four pounds of sugar each year. By 2009, more than half of all Americans consumed one-half pound of sugar per day! That’s 180 pounds per year, per person.
The truth is it is hard to avoid eating sugar if you eat the standard American diet. Sugar is found in almost all processed foods, from bread to spaghetti sauce to infant formula. In fact, to reduce your sugar, you have to go out of your way and take radical steps. It’s everywhere.
But what is all that sugar doing to us?
For one thing it is making us fat. Today, two-thirds of all Americans are overweight. It is also making us sick. Diabetes has risen exponentially in the recent decades. In the late 1800’s, fewer than 3 people out of 100,000 had diabetes. Today, that number has reached 8,000 per 100,000 people. It is no accident that the rates of obesity and diabetes are rising along with our sugar consumption.
The main culprit in the sugar saga is fructose, which we are consuming in massive doses. High-fructose corn syrup is one the biggest players in our over consumption of fructose. This tasty syrup is added to most processed foods.
Fructose is dangerous because of the way it is metabolized by the body; it is particularly hard on your liver. It also elevates your uric acid levels, which results in higher blood pressure and possible kidney damage. Fructose also causes chronic inflammation. Inflammation is thought to be at the root of many of the chronic diseases that are plaguing our country, including heart disease, auto immune diseases, cancer and depression.
The effect of fructose on the metabolism is particularly sinister. It essentially disrupts your body’s appetite control system. When you eat fructose, it causes an inappropriate insulin response. But a proper insulin response is necessary for the suppression of ghrelin (high levels of ghrelin make you feel hungry) and the increase of leptin (high levels of leptin make you feel full). The result is that you feel hungry and eat more.
Reducing the amount of sugar, namely fructose, is one of the best decisions you can make for your overall health.
Share your tips and tricks for reducing sugar in the comments below or on my facebook page!