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Sugar: The Sweet Poison

In the early 1820’s people were consuming about 4 pounds of sugar per year. The sugar came mostly from honey and fruits. By World War II, sugar consumption went up to 60 pounds annually. Today, according to the Journal of Clinical Investigations, we are consuming 141 pounds of sugar annually 63 pounds of which comes from High Fructose Corn Syrup. Today, if someone asked you what you’d consider as the best beverage in the world, you would probably answer, “water” which has no calories. And, yet, 37% of our calorie consumption, today, comes from the beverage. Why?

What drives this “love affair” with sugar?
In 2009, The American Heart Association (AHA) recommended UPPER limits of added sugars:

For men: 9 teaspoonful of added sugar per day or 36 grams or 150 calories
For women: 6 teaspoonful of added sugar per day or 24 grams or 100 calories
For children: 3-6 teaspoonful of added sugar per day or 12 to 24 grams or 50 to
100 calories per day

One serving of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios breakfast cereal has 3 teaspoonful of sugar or 12 grams. One glass of orange juice or apple juice has 7.2 teaspoonful of sugar or 30 grams of sugar or 120 calories. One 12 oz can of Coke 150 calories and 9 teaspoonful of sugar, which equal to the recommended added sugar intake per day.

In 2001, 6000,000 kids were overweight in this country. With all the national interventions, today, 24,000,000 kids are overweight and most of them suffer from metabolic dysfunction (type II diabetes, fatty liver disease). Robert Lustig, MD, a pediatric neuroendocrinologist, demonstrated that with intervention, the metabolic dysfunction shows definite improvement within ten days. And that intervention was ONLY taking fructose away from the diet keeping everything else intact including the number of calories.

Metabolic syndrome, which includes visceral obesity, fatty liver disease, hypertriglyceridemia, type II diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance, muscle insulin resistance, hypercholesterolemia is caused by fructose and fructose alone. Take fructose containing foods (80% of the processed food contain fructose) and you are on you way to recovery!

There are 600,000 processed food items on the shelves of the grocery stores across the country and 80% of these foods contain added sugar ½ of which is fructose). Processed is any agricultural commodity that has been subjected to washing, cleaning, washing, cutting, chopping, heating, pasteurizing, blanching, cooking, canning, freezing, drying, dehydrating, packing and adding preservatives, flavors, salt, sugar and fats and taking out ingredients like fiber. 

One important ingredient that the processed foods lack in its original form which the fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains have. Examples of phytochemicals are carotenidos, chlorophyll, curcumin, fibler, flavonoids, isothiocyanates, ligans, phytosterols, resveratrol, and soy isoflavons. The phytochemicals are complex mixtures bioactive compounds founds in fruits, nuts, vegetables and grains. These are in precise and complex combinations that are meant for our health and wellbeing.

CARET study (Beta-Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial) tested the efficacy combination of beta-carotene and vitamin A taken daily on men and women at high risk of developing lung cancer vs use of placebo on the control group. It was going to be a ten-year trial but the study was stopped early since the intervention group had 28% more lung cancers and 17% more deaths than the high-risk group that got placebo. Processed foods could be harming us much more than we realize!

Now, what makes sugar so bad? Sugar has two components: glucose and fructose, 50 % each. Glucose is the fuel of life for every living thing on this earth. There is NO biological need for dietary fructose. There is none. And fructose outside of fruits is the cause of the metabolic syndrome. And fructose is a poison. If sugar were given a sweetness index of 100, glucose would be 74, fructose would be 120 and crystalline fructose would be 173. High fructose corn syrup is cheap and is found into most of the processed food. Today, as a people, we are consuming 63 pounds of this poison yearly. No wonder, we are getting sicker.

It is interesting that in sugar (glucose and fructose) is both life and death. Consumed the way it was meant to be, through intake of fruits, sugar (glucose) is life. However, taking sucrose in its popular form, sugar, it is death. And death is in most of what is being sold everywhere and is being called, food.

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