The Deadly Truth About Sugar
The summer of 2016 I finally watched a documentary I was avoiding ‘That Sugar Film’, we all know sugar is bad for you and will make you fat if you eat too much. I didn’t want to hear just how bad sugar is for us, I love cookies and chocolates and I have never given it up for more than a few days! I was afraid I would want to give up sugar if I watched it, and I did. This documentary helped open my eyes to the truth about sugar and how poisonous it really is. Sugar is cheap, addictive, and found in almost everything! There is a study by Dr. Sege Ahmed that found, when cocaine addicted rats were given sugar, they chose the sugar over cocaine! Another study by Dr. Bartley Hoebel found that sugar can act on the brain in ways similar to drugs of abuse. So it’s not in my head, I can’t give it up because I’m addicted. My name is Linda and I’ve been addicted to sugar since I was an infant. I was not aware of how much sugar I was eating, and NO, I was not eating ice cream and chocolate everyday. The average person eats 26 teaspoons of sugar per day!
When you eat sugary food, your blood sugar levels spike, and your body releases Dopamine and insulin (which triggers your body to store the sugar as fat). Then comes the “crash”, your sugar level plummets and you feel tired, hungry, and you start to crave sugar again. These physical urges completely override your willpower and desire to eat healthy.
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The Technical from the sugar industry
Sugar (sucrose) is made naturally in all green plants through photosynthesis, a process that converts energy from sunlight into food energy in the form of sugar. What we know as white sugar or table sugar is the simplest form of carbohydrate and is typically derived from sugar cane or sugar beets. Other types of simple sugars join together 2 and 3 sucrose molecules, called fructose, galactose or lactose and are found in fruits, some vegetables and milk. Whether it is naturally occurring (from fruits or vegetables) or added to foods in the form of sucrose, our bodies use sugar in the same way, as a carbohydrate energy source for the body.
The US Government began reviewing the safety of sugar for the first time back in the 1970s. So the Sugar Association paid scientists, hired a PR company and they put out a document called Sugar in the Diet of Man. There was no sign that it was paid for by the sugar industry, it looks like an official document, and it’s published in a journal. The sugar industry sent out 25,000 copies. The government used this report to determine its findings! Sugar was determined to be safe and the rest of the world followed in its findings. The sugar industry also pushed this idea that a calorie is a calorie, and yet these calories do dramatically different things in the human body, and they always have. They have insisted that obesity is caused by too many calories and not enough exercise. Which implies that anyone overweight is simply lazy or greedy.
We started blaming our rising health problems on the fat we consume. We introduced ‘fat free’ and ‘low calorie’, did it help the problem? Nope! It increased the problem, when you take fat out of food, it tastes awful, so you replace it with sugar to make it taste better.
Dr. Robert Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist, he has a video on YouTube called Sugar The Bitter Truth. He says that our body doesn’t use sugar the same way as other carbs because the fructose goes right to our liver. The glucose circulates throughout our body feeding our muscles and our brain. But when you metabolize fructose in excess, your liver has no choice but to turn that energy into liver fat, and that liver fat then causes all of the metabolic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Dr. Lustig also says too much fructose, shuts down the part of your brain that tells you when you’re full.
Sugar is found in most packaged foods we buy. It’s found in some foods we wouldn’t think of like condiments and bread. Here are some things we think are ‘healthy’ but are usually full of sugar!
- Cereals, including flavored oatmeal
- Sweetened dairy products like yogurt, frozen yogurt and flavored kefir
- sports drinks, fruit juice, and energy drinks
- Protein bars, snack and granola bars
- dried fruit and fruit snacks
- Condiments and sauces like ketchup, jam/jelly, and spaghetti sauce.
People also seem to think honey, agave and coconut sugar are healthy sugar because they have nutrients in them, but it has the same effect on your body as table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
By reading the label you can see how much sugar is in a product,(4grams of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon) however sometimes you may think they are just naturally occurring sugars. Take a look at the ingredients and watch for syrups, concentrated fruit juice, malt, there are about 60 or more different names for sugar.
Give up Sugar??
The World Health Organization recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of added sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. “A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.” The American Heart Association also recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar for most women and no more than 9 teaspoons for most men! For an average 2000 calorie diet, 10% is 48 grams or 12 teaspoons of added sugar. One can of pop is 10 teaspoons of sugar! A TBSP of ketchup is 1 teaspoon of sugar!
There is new research out from the leading health organizations in Canada that says over the next 25 years, sugary drink consumption alone will be responsible for:
- More than 1 million cases of overweight and more than 3 million cases of obesity
- Almost 1 million cases of type 2 diabetes
- Almost 300,000 Canadians with ischemic heart disease
- More than 100,000 cases of cancer
- Almost 40,000 strokes
Giving up added sugar is definitely hard, but it can be done. I have given up a lot of added sugars, I’ve lost weight and feel great! Read how I did it here. I’m trying to get my kids to cut down too, but my son is usually over the 5% by the time lunch rolls around! We need to get the food industry to stop adding the sugar to packaged foods, but that’s a battle not going to be won anytime soon!
“When society finally discovers that refined sugar is just another white powder, along with pure cocaine, it will change its mind and attitude toward refined food addiction.” Dr. Serge Ahmed