How is Sugar Linked to Heart Disease?
What happens to unburned calories? They turn to fat. What processes glucose and fat? The liver. What happens when the liver is overworked, stressed, or has too much unhealthy fat to process? Your LDL’s rise (bad cholesterol). Toxic sugar. That’s an oversimplification of the process, but it makes the point. Research showed this rise in cholesterol due to consumption of high fructose corn syrup. For those who need proof, here you go.
How is Sugar Connected to Cancer?
We’ve known that cancer cells are fast growing cells that feed on sugar. The more sugar, the faster they can grow. Why is this a sudden revelation? I read this theory years ago. But most of us pick sugar over health. And, being the doubting Thomas’ we are, we need someone important (60 Minutes) to say it for it to be true.
Is Sugar Addictive?
Duh, of course it is. Like the Type 2 Diabetes and obesity epidemics didn’t give it away. Or the fact that the average American eats 1/3 of a pound of sugar a day wasn’t a tip off? For those who still don’t believe, here’s how it was explained on 60 Minutes.
Are All Sugars the Same?
While I do believe all kinds of sugar should be limited in the diet for optimum health, I don’t believe all are created equal. Cane sugar and highly processed sugars have a greater impact on blood glucose levels (falling high on the glycemic index). This is bad for you, leading to Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
Natural, minimally processed sweeteners fall much lower on the GI index. Even though I recommend eating any sweetener in limited amounts, I don’t think it’s a far stretch to hypothesize that highly processed sugars have a greater negative impact on health on all levels. Know what you’re eating and choose wisely.
But, if you’re a doubting Thomas willing to throw yourself on top of your processed sugar bomb, be prepared for that bomb to explode in your body – in the form of some major illness that you had a direct hand in creating.
Is Some Sugar OK?
IMO, moderation is the answer. Sugar should be limited wherever possible. You don’t need to consume added sugar every day. But if you eat a healthy balanced diet (for real), the right sugar as an occasional treat, shouldn’t pose a major health risk.
1. Eliminate processed foods that hide sugar. (Canned and bottled drinks. Packaged, bagged, frozen, canned foods.)
2. Eat the whole fruit. Skins contains fiber. This slows digestion and the time it takes for the body to process sugar. Plus, there are great vitamins and minerals packed in there.
3. If you eat added sugar, make it a natural, minimally processed low glycemic sugar, or one that doesn’t affect blood sugar, like Stevia.
- Raw honey: GI can range from 32-69, depending on brand. Don’t buy commercial brands at the grocery store, like Clover.*
- High quality agave nectar: GI of 32, can range from 11 to 40 depending on brand.
- Palm sugar: GI of 35
- Maple syrup, maple sugar: GI of 54
*Foods with a GI under 55 are considered to be low glycemic. As with anything, research changes, and multiple factors affect the food you eat and how it’s processed in your body. Bottom line: choose the best sweetener and limit all sugar.
4. If you eat added sugar, make it a treat. It shouldn’t be a daily, much less a 5x/day occurrence.
5. Eat added sugar with high fiber or high protein foods. Combine it with whole grains or veggies, not refined carbs.
6. If you are a sugar addict, avoid it – at all costs.
Do you cling to sugar? Will you eat less knowing this info? Or do you still need more convincing that sugar directly impacts your health?