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Toxic Sugar

I watched "60 Minutes" tonight and it reinforced my evolving understanding that refined sugar is toxic for the human body.  Dr Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF, was interviewed along with other researchers and the evidence strongly confirms just how bad sugar is for us.  We know about its contribution to obesity and diabetes, but now research shows sugar raises LDL cholesterol, the culprit in heart attacks and stroke.  To add to the "sugar is toxic" message, research also shows that certain cancers have sucrose receptors and sugar makes cancer grow.

You may be saying, "Hey, refined sugar has been around for centuries and it was never a problem before. What's the big deal now?"

 The big deal is just how much sugar and high fructose corn syrup are hidden in our foods and the vast quantities that are now consumed.

 According to Whole Health Source, in 1822, the average American ate the amount of sugar found in one 12 ounce soda every 5 days.  Now we eat that much every 7 hours. We know that candy, soda and junk food are loaded with sugar.  But did you know that crackers, yogurt, ketchup, Popsicles, low fat salad dressing, white bread and buns, and spaghetti sauce are also loaded with sugar?  In fact you have to really read the label to find a food product that does not contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

Here is a mind boggling fact.  Four grams of sugar equals one teaspoon.  A can of regular soda (12 oz) contains 40 grams of sugar.  That is 10 teaspoons of sugar in one soda!  The next time you are at the market, notice the rows and rows of soft drinks offered.  Most of the containers are 64 oz size!  The average male between  ages 12-29 drinks 1/2 gallon a day.

What does all of this mean?  Well for me...I'm starting a sugar free diet.  Yes, that means I am eliminating all (yes all) refined sugar from my diet.  I will eat fruits that are naturally sweetened but I'll be checking labels and if it has sugar...I'm not eating it.

I encourage all of you reading this to join me.  This will mean consciously drinking more water and having it with me where ever I go. For a sugar craving I will use Stevia natural sweetener and  fruit.  Increasing foods high in B vitamins and whole grains will also help reduce sugar craving.

I always thought I ate healthily but sugar has got to go.  Join me? 


Kathleen MD said…
I'm there. Let's all boycott refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.

Dates and other naturally dried food are great for the sweet tooth if you miss the sugar fix. Just be careful, because even some dried fruit is coated with refined sugar. !
gradydoctor said…
Wow. Thanks Dr. B. While I can't say that I'm ready to completely cut (yes all) refined sugar, I have been much more conscious of having it in moderation. Good post.
Anonymous said…
Yes. But I think real progress here is going to require a tobacco-like approach - not only massive education, but taxation to both discourage consumption and fund anti-sugar work. We've passed a CMA resolution in favor, but it will be a huge political battle:

anyway, good post, and nice cup of coffee too!
Anonymous said…
The problem stares me in the face everytime I walk down the soft drink aisle - an entire, long aisle filled with sugar water bottles ! It feels so good to not even pick one up. I'm with you, tho I will still have my one tsp per day in my one cup of coffee. Aren't we also getting sugar in alcohol....?
sherri said…
I absolutely agree that sugar is toxic. I have followed a gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free diet since 2007. Not only do I feel better, but I've lost a significant amount of weight(150 lbs. to be exact). I also believe the dietary changes have kept me mobile since I have MS.

Great post!
Bruce said…
In my pilates practice people are almost always asking me about weight loss. I always start with sugar; drop it out of your diet completely, and that's all forms of any sweetener unless completely natural given to us by Mother Nature (and in small amounts), and watch the weight come off. Not an easy thing to do either I warn them! The 60 Minutes piece should be mandatory classroom study in our school systems, shouldn't it? Is there still a health class for our nations children? I hope so! Bruce G.
GuinnessDrinker said…
The problem is why refined sugar (and also processed fats) is so cheap and abundant in the first place. Without addressing this refined sugar & fats are going to be ever present in our food as a "filler" to dilute and cheapen. Switching diets is good on an individual basis and boycotting would need an unrealistic following to have any effect. Plus, manufacturers are prepared for alternative diets; if you don't want to eat my product A loaded with refined sugar then buy my product B with natural sugar that is more expensive. It's an odd market dynamic when the highly processed becomes cheaper than the unprocessed.
Anonymous said…
When the guidelines came out a while back about women reducing their refined sugar consumption to 25 grams/day and men to 30 grams/day, I've tried hard to just do that. It requires constant vigilance to just stick with that. We have 3 teenagers who all do school and club sports, so I'm consistently looking for foods that are NOT high in fat, sugar, salt, but have enough calories to meet their needs for growth and sports. One of my colleagues, who had gained 80 (!) lbs. at his desk job as an accountant, completely cut out all sugar and the weight fell off. I need to do the same to get rid of this 20 lbs. After 3 March bdays including mine, I am ready. Also, the "feast holiday" season is now Halloween to Easter, a full 6 months of crazy and overdoing. THANKS - sent this post around to my list.

Lisa K. said…
Do you have any evidence that stevia is any healthier than sugar? In your situation where you are cutting out large quantities of sugar and adding in small quantities of stevia, I image it is healthier. But if people ate stevia in the same quantities they currently eat sugar, would it make any difference?

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