This blog post is for people who want to motivate themselves to stop overeating and eat healthier.
Sugar brings pleasure. When does sugar become “a poison?” It all depends on the amount of sugar eaten, if a person is “sugar sensitive” (sometimes addicted to sugar) and the kinds of sugar eaten. In the 1700’s the average American intake of sugar was 1 teaspoon a day. Today the average American intake of sugar is 22 teaspoons of sugar a day.
Dr Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, has decoded sugar metabolism. He explains this in a youtube video called Sugar-The Bitter Truth, viewed by over 7 million people, which I HIGHLY recommend everyone watch from beginning to end. He tells how in the 1970’s the food industry learned to process sugar into HFCS, High Fructose Corn Syrup, which is 20 percent sweeter, cheaper and much more addictive. He explains the bio chemistry of why sugar is harmful in clear scientific terms.
This new form of sugar, HFCS, High Fructose Corn Syrup, is used most in soda pop and processed foods. Dr Mercola states HFCS is more metabolically risky than sucrose due to its chemical form. He writes, “The fructose and the glucose are not bound together in HFCS, as they are in table sugar, so your body doesn’t have to break it down. Therefore, the fructose is absorbed immediately, going straight to your liver… Too much fructose creates a metabolic disaster in your body.” Dr Lustig states that 80 percent of HFCS has to be metabolized in the liver. The liver is already over worked detoxing toxins in the water, air and food we take in.
Processed sugar fools your metabolism by turning off your body’s appetite-control system. This kind of fructose does not stimulate insulin, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) or stimulate leptin (the “satiety hormone”). People don’t feel full, get hooked to processed sugar, eat more and often develop insulin resistance.
Dr Lustig states “Fructose is a chronic toxin. The liver does not get sick after one meal of fructose, it gets sick after 1000 meals of fructose but that is how many meals people eat”. He states that 30 percent of fructose ends up as fat in the body.
Dr David Reuben, author of Everything You Wanted to Know about Nutrition, writes “White refined sugar is not a food. It is a pure chemical extracted from plant sources, purer in fact than cocaine, which it resembles in many ways. It’s true name is sucrose and it’s chemical formula is C12H22O11. It has 12 carbon atoms, 22 hydrogen atoms, 11 oxygen atoms and absolutely nothing else to offer”. The chemical formula for cocaine is C17H21NO4, which basically is the same as sucrose except it has nitrogen instead of oxygen. This information relates to a University of Berkley you tube video that showed how rats in a study addicted to cocaine chose sugar before they chose cocaine.
The fructose in processed foods increases uric acid, which can increase your blood pressure and potentially damage your kidneys. Too much uric acid over time increases low-level inflammation, which affects health in many ways. For instance, when blood vessels have too much inflammation, this can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Mercola writes there is “a good deal of evidence that some cancers are caused by chronic inflammation”. Mark Hyman, MD, writes “The inflammation triggered by sugar leaves in its wake a sea of diseases beyond the brain-heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, and rapid aging. The evidence is overwhelming and irrefutable.”
Dr Mercola also writes, “Fructose rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity (“beer belly”), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure—i.e., classic metabolic syndrome.”
Lustig states “chronic fructose exposure” over years of consuming create 8 of the same major health problems that alcohol abuse does, which he lists as: hypertension, myocardial infarction, dyslipidemia, pancreatitis, obesity, hepatic dysfunction, fetal insulin resistence, habitation if not addiction. He states that fructose is alcohol “without the buzz.” Lustig believes that metabolic syndrome, largely caused by too much processed sugar consumption, uses 75 percent of all health dollars.
Processed sugar is usually made from sugar can or sugar beets. Through chemical processing these natural foods, 64 food elements are destroyed. The minerals and vitamins are destroyed. Proteins, fats and enzymes are removed. At the end of the process, the sugar is bleached snow-white, usually with the use of pork or cattle bones.
Lustig reports 80 percent of the foods in grocery stores are “laced” with process sugar.
Processed sugar harms the nervous system, which affects emotional and physical health.When people eat processed sugar, the bacteria in the intestines that manufacture B vitamin complexes, begin to die. As the B Vitamin complex decreases, glutamic acid, is not processed. This leads to decrease in short term memory and brain functioning. The B vitamins are needed for healthy myelin sheath that is the protective covering for nerves. Maybe this partly explains when people say “my nerves are raw”.
Sugar intake can be related to mental problems. Brains are very sensitive. As sugar consumption decreases vitamin B, insulin production decreases. This causes high glucose levels in the bloodstream, which can lead to a confused mental state or negative moods. Dr Alexander B. Schauss, wrote in Diet, Crime and Delinquency that many people in the psychiatric inpatient ward and prison are “sugarholics”. He observed erratic emotional outbreaks often followed a sugar binge for people he observed in these settings.
When refined sugar is eaten, the body has to use vital nutrients such as calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium from other parts of the body, to process the sugar. Many times so much calcium is used to neutralize the effects of sugar that people develop osteoporosis and have more tooth decay. Some chiropractors believe lack of minerals/nutrients may be related to increase in back problems due to weak bone structure.
A documentary called “The Secrets of Sugar” examines sugar addiction. It explains how Dr Suzanne De La Monte from Brown University did research where she fed healthy rats the equivalent of the North American diet with the same sugars and kinds of fat. All of the rats in her study developed dementia. She said sugar resistance can occur in any organ. Dr De La Monte believes alzheimer’s is insulin resistance in the brain.
” Secrets of Sugar” also tells about a University of California study run by Dr Kimber Stanhope, when college students were fed fructose sugar in drinks (soda pop) for 2 weeks to test for risk markers. Every time she ran the tests, the results were the same: risk markers for cardiovascular disease in the blood increase. Other kinds of sugar did not get these results. She said if she was testing a new food additive and got the same results when she tested fructose sugar, that food additive would be pulled quickly.
A favorite quote in Dr Mark Hyman’s book The Ultramind Solution: “The most powerful tool you have to change your brain and your health is your fork…Food contains information that talks to your genes, turning them on and off and affecting their function moment to moment. Food is the fastest acting and most powerful medicine you can take to change your life.”
In my opinion there is no safe amount of processed sugar. For years I had bad head aches and was more tired than I should have been for my age. When I cut out eating sugar the head aches went away and my energy increased. I know many people in a self help program that helps people abstain from addictive foods who share at meetings how much better they feel physically and emotionally once they get off sugar. I often wonder how many of my clients who are depressed and/or anxious would feel if they stopped eating sugar and ate real food instead.
Sugar in fruits and vegetables are balanced by fiber, vitamins, enzymes and other properties that help the body deal with it. Dr Christine Kaczmar, a Natural Digestive Health Specialist, urges people to eat more “real food”. In a blog post, Kaczmar writes “Health is a choice. Every day you have the opportunity to improve your health ‘What choice will you make today’?”
Often having enough knowledge such as the information given in this blog post is not enough to motivate someone to stop eating sugar and processed food. I understand this as years ago I myself would eat too much sugar knowing the next day I would have a sugar hang over. I sought support and help until I was able to give up sugar in 1989. I know how to use methods EMDR and EFT to help reduce sugar cravings and reduce the emotional pain that can trigger people to over eat. I know resources to direct people to if they need additional help. If you are interested in working with me, just call or text me at 586-799-2399.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, prescribe for, treat or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human disease. They are intended for education only.