Ever since sugar became a part of almost every product we purchase on a daily basis, the rates of diabetes and obesity have skyrocketed.
Gary Taubes in his book called “The Case Against Sugar”, argues whether sugar is a drug or food. He believes that sugar has an undeniably addictive nature that forces us to eat more. So, who is at fault? What should we do to avoid this outcome?
Our Body Needs Sugar
Even though our body needs sugar, there is no exact measurement for how much we eat on a daily basis. That is because most of us eat more than our bodies can take. What is most scary is the fact that we don’t even know if what we eat is really sugar-free.
Here is an example of how much sugar some of the most popular foods contain:
- Fruit-flavored yogurt can have up to 20 grams of sugar per serving;
- Sweet and sour chicken has 12 teaspoons of sugar;
- A regular soda can has 40 grams of sugar.
Furthermore, sugar can be a part of many less popular names like maltose, galactose, maltodextrin, and dextrose. But the foods that contain the most sugars are processed foods.
Americans Eat the Most Sugar
According to research in 2015, 10% of Americans eat 25% more sugars and calories per day than their body can process. Therefore, people who eat 21% more calories and sugars per day can have a significant risk of getting heart disease, twice more than any other person.
However, those who eat 25% more than their body can process can triple their risks of developing heart disease.
How Much Should We Eat?
According to the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association, 38 grams of sugar is enough for men, whereas 25 grams is enough for women. So, when it comes to children, they have to consider their age first, so around 12 to 25 grams per day.
Moreover, it is completely alright to limit our sugar intake by consuming fruits on a daily basis so that we can limit our fructose as well.
However, if we have leptin or insulin resistance, or we have metabolic diseases, and we are overweight, we should be careful because we need to limit our fructose to 15 grams per day. Evidence suggests that sugar is the cause of widespread obesity and diabetes.
Sugar as the Cause of Diseases
Sugar comes in two forms, sucrose, and fructose, also known as HFCS. Even though there are some researchers who believe that fructose is the harmful culprit behind diabetes, Taubes argues against it.
On top of that, in the US alone, there are 900% more people with this chronic condition than in the 1960s. This disease even affects the younger generation. Astonishingly, it occurred in the middle of the 1920s, but now those rates are 9,000% higher.
Thus, Taubes believes that health professionals still don’t understand the cause of the disease completely. Otherwise, they would have found a cure by now. Therefore, we should start with the children and educate them on how this condition can affect the body.
It is time to stop consuming processed foods and start focusing on healthier alternatives. Nevertheless, the majority of the population still believes that if we eat, we will get fat. But, they couldn’t be further from the truth.
What we should focus on is getting rid of the excess fat, balancing our diet, and deciding the amounts of sugars and carbs we are going to consume (not less than 50 grams of carbs per day and 1 kg of quality fat).
How Sugar Affects the Metabolism
Different types of carbs can have different hormonal and metabolic effects. Plus, they are processed differently than proteins and fats. The liver and the cells in the body process all the fructose.
Therefore, if we eat more than our liver can process, we gain fat. This is the reason why we need to control the necessary amount of sugar in the body. In addition, different nutrients in the system can force different hormones to react.
These hormones determine how much fat we gain. In addition, fructose can make the body gain the most weight as well as excess sucrose, so they can both promote insulin resistance.
Facts We Need to Know
Pre-diabetes is an early stage of diabetes. If a person suffers from a fasting blood sugar (100 and 125 mg/dl), in that case, he or she has pre-diabetes. However, we can improve our health if we find ourselves in this situation.
All we need to do is eat natural home-cooked meals instead of processed pre-cooked foods. Plus, if we exercise regularly we can achieve this effect even faster. However, if we don’t, eventually the sugar and fats will lead to weight gain and high triglyceride levels.
If we suffer from three or more groups of symptoms as a result of insulin, the condition we might have is called metabolic syndrome.
Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome:
- Low HDL;
- High blood pressure;
- Increased levels of blood glucose;
- High triglycerides.
Nevertheless, if we ignore these symptoms as well, we may soon develop diabetes type 2. In this case, the pancreas usually produces way too much insulin, also known as the stage of insulin resistance.
Moreover, the sugar can’t access our cells and stacks in our blood. As a result, the levels of blood sugar get higher and higher. The reason behind this is too many calories. If we eat more and exercise less, our bodies can’t get rid of unnecessary calories.
Lastly, the reason why the blame falls on sugar is that sugar makes us crave and eat more food. Eventually, it will cause not only this chronic disease but many others too.
The Rates of Diabetes and Obesity Rise
During the 1800s and 1900s, diabetes was only a rare disease. In America, aboriginal people had almost no access to sugar even though it was a popular ingredient for the west. According to Taubes, breast cancer appeared after this disease.
If that is true, what is the reason behind these diseases? Well, according to research, sugar is. One of the best diets to avoid consuming too much sugar is said to be the ketogenic one. This diet concentres on burning excess fat and a very low intake of sugars.
If the body reacts positively to this diet, it should solve the problem of insulin resistance, and patients do not need to maintain the diet afterward.
How to Reduce the Consumption of Added Sugars
All we have to do is to eat real food instead of processed. But there are also other ways we can change our diet like:
- Use fresh or canned fruit in meals;
- Replace sugar with spices;
- Avoid adding sugars to drinks like coffee or tea;
- Replace sugars and artificial sweeteners with Stevia or Lo-Han.
Cutting Down on Sugar Might Be Best for the Health
So far, researchers blame sugars for causing heart disease and many other health problems. That is why a diet with healthy fats and low sugars is popular.
According to Dr. Mercola, if we consume more than 50 grams of carbs and a lot of proteins daily, we have a higher risk of developing obesity. Therefore, if we reduce the intake of carbs, it will become impossible for our bodies to be overweight.
If we want to change our regular diet, it is time for us to:
- Try purchasing organic food directly from farmers, like fruits, veggies, raw dairy products, meat, and other produce;
- Try to purchase organic meat from farmers who feed their cattle grass.
It is time to change our lives and focus on healthy living, but we have to be willing to start from somewhere.
Source: Medibank | Reader’s Digest | Everydayhealth