Some “health experts” still dole out ridiculous advice to cut saturated fats and salt as the keys to health. But all the scientific evidence points toward the very real dangers of sugars and carbs. And a large report published earlier this year in Mayo Clinic Proceedings sheds more light on the argument.
This comprehensive report shows sugar is far worse for you than fats or salt. It spikes your risk for developing Type II diabetes, nerve disease, and kidney diseases. It accordingly increases your risk of dying an early death.
It’s not as if informed experts don’t agree that Americans should cut back on sugar and processed foods.
But it’s not easy.
About three-quarters of all packaged foods and beverages sold in the U.S. contain added sugar. And experts estimate Americans eat up to 47 teaspoons of sugar every day, including all the sugar hidden in processed foods.
Most people don’t realize there are three main types of sugar…
1. Sugar found in Nature is called fructose or “fruit sugar.” You can safely consume fructose in fruit because it comes bound in the food biomatrix, which helps slow digestion and absorption. This mechanism also helps the body avoid spikes in blood sugar and insulin.
2. Sucrose or “table sugar” is a disaccharide that consists of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose. In Nature, you find sucrose in sugar cane and in beets.
3. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) comes from corn and consists of glucose with some fructose artificially added.
Food manufacturers artificially add both sucrose and HFCS to processed foods and beverages. And both these sugars lead to spikes in insulin.
But fructose behaves much differently.
In fact, in one study highlighted in the new Mayo Clinic report, researchers found men and women who received only isolated fructose (not bound in the biomatrix of a fruit) had a 25 percent decrease in insulin sensitivity compared with those who received glucose.
In another study from the report, for each 150-calorie increase per day in sucrose consumption, men and women had an 11-times higher risk of Type II diabetes.
A third study found a diet with the lowest sucrose levels may normalize fasting insulin levels.
Dr. Rachel Johnson of the University of Vermont said, “high intakes of added sugars, especially in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages, are associated with increased risk of Type II diabetes.” However, “people should not be concerned about limiting fructose found in whole foods such as fruits and vegetables.”
Some experts say you should limit your intake of added sugars to 10 percent of calories. So–a person who typically eats 2,000 calories per day should consume no more than 200 calories of added sugar (50 grams, or 12 teaspoons).
From my point of view, I know you can do better.
Strive to cut out as much added sugar as you can from your diet. I suggest trying to keep added sugars to just zero to five percent of your daily calories.
Unfortunately, most people in the U.S. get 20 percent or more of their calories from sugar. And the food industry helps to keep you in the dark. Many foods have hidden sugars, including some:
1. Canned spaghetti sauce
2. Flavored yogurts–instead buy plain yogurt and add blueberries or other berries
3. Bottled salad dressings, ketchup, and barbecue sauces
4. Protein bars & energy bars
Check the labels. Many advocates now want better food labels to warn consumers about added sugars. And we can only hope things start to head in that direction.
But until those changes happen, a good rule of thumb is to look at the protein and sugar content on packaged foods. If the sugar grams are higher than the protein grams, put any product back on the shelf.
Overall, added sucrose and HFCS represent serious health problems. Avoid processed, packaged foods and switch to whole foods such as eggs, meat, fruits, and vegetables. You’ll reduce your Type II diabetes risk and improve your glucose metabolism, the leading cause of cardio-metabolic heart disease.
Also–tell your cardiologists to cut their phony “debate” about cholesterol, fats and salt. Instead, they should start telling their patients to cut out sweets, the real culprit behind chronic diseases like obesity, Type II diabetes and heart disease!
1. “Added Fructose: A Principal Driver of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Its Consequences,” Mayo Clinic Proceedings March 2015; 90(3): 372–381
2. “The wrong white crystals: not salt but sugar as aetiological in hypertension and cardiometabolic disease,” Open Heart (www.openheart.bmj.com) 2015