In my previous column, The Evils of Sugar, I covered some very important points on sugar and sweetener consumption, and some of the disastrous effects this has on our overall health. In my life and professional career I have tried to avoid over indulgence of sweets – but I do enjoy sweets and usually have a small sweet daily, whether it be a small piece of candy or half of a dessert.
Sugar is the Americans’ single largest source of calories on a daily basis!!! Most of these calories come from High FructoseCorn Syrup, with soda pop being the largest contributor. Don’t be fooled into the marketing ploy of all calories being equal – they simply are not. Low calorie and non-calorie artificial sweeteners, due to the way our bodies metabolize them, pose even greater dangers to our health.
Here are more startling facts to consider:
- Over half of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar EVERY day! This excess consumption is an underlying factor in obesity and chronic disease in America.
- Table sugar, or sucrose, is made up of half glucose and half fructose. Glucose is used by all living cells; without glucose available to cells there would be no energy.
- Fructose on the other hand is the ‘not so good half’…and has replaced sucrose as the sweetener of choice. When it occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables, there are phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes to buffer the ‘not so good’ aspects. Fructose, in the excess amounts we consume it via processed foods and beverages, causes problems – it is the amount we consume, not the fructose itself.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup, used in processed foods and beverages is much sweeter than table sugar and much cheaper to make…the key here is ‘cheaper to make’ without any consideration for the health issues. Even though this corn syrup contains the sugars, glucose and fructose, glucose accelerates the absorption of fructose, which is in chemical form, directly into the liver for metabolizing.
- When the body metabolizes fructose, one of the toxic effects is similar to metabolizing ethanol, potentially resulting is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Cells use glucose for energy unlike fructose that is turned into FAT and deposited on our bodies.
- Fat is not the only issue with fructose; it contributes to kidney damage by increasing the levels of uric acid. Increased uric acid causes other changes including smooth muscle cells contracting which raises blood pressure – which damages kidneys.
- Inflammation is also caused by raised uric acid levels. Long range effects of inflammation on your health include inflamed blood vessels that can lead to heart attack and stroke. Chronic inflammation has also been linked to some cancers.
- Weight gain is also a negative to fructose consumption by turning off your appetite suppression system; by not stimulating insulin production your body will not suppress your hunger hormone or your feeling of satisfaction resulting in eating more and eating more often causing weight gain.
- In turn, this weight gain contributes to a number of negative health issues; high blood sugar, high blood pressure, low HDL (Good cholesterol) and high (Bad) LDL, higher triglycerides, increased risk of diabetes.
Sugar and sweeteners do not cause diabetes directly; however obesity brought on by over consumption is one of the main factors in developing diabetes.
We are indulging ourselves and our children with these sweeteners every day, sometimes unbeknownst to us, as in baby formula with the equivalent sweeteners as present in a can of cola.
I refer you again to Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco. His work in the biochemical health field has provided us with understanding the way sugars are broken down and utilized by the body.
Next on Sugar: How we are putting our children at risk.
Until next time,
Oleda Baker is a former high fashion model with the famous Wilhelmina Agency in New York City. She is the author of ten books on beauty, health and anti-aging, and a novel, titled Reluctant Goddess. Oleda originally founded her company over forty years ago. Today, OLEDA Limited markets a full range of anti-aging products for Skin, Hair, Nutritional Supplements, Diet, and special makeup. For more of her tips and product information visit www.oleda.com.