Sugar: The Bitter Truth

sugar cubes The low-fat diet for the last 30 some odd years has not only been all the rave, but in fact endorsed by health institutions and nutritionists alike. The one thing that has been overlooked, however, could be the one reason we have the highest obesity and  other metabolic syndrome (hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes) rates than ever before.

Dr. Robert Lustig, author of The Real Truth About Sugar is an advocate of bringing the truth about our "low-fat" diets to light. The truth is that even though our foods have been scientifically manipulated to have lower amounts of fat (whatever type it may be), they (the food industry) are replacing those fats with carbohydrates or fructose, which doubles as fat and sugar. What's more? He's come to prove that the effects of fructose have nothing to do with calories, and everything to do with our body's aversion to it.

Dr. Lustig's research shows that the major problems with fructose as a posed to glucose (the main source of energy for life of all living things) has to do with its inability to communicate with the brain, and its properties that, just like alcohol, are metabolized in the liver and act more as a poison to our bodies than a source of energy.

Why he says its okay to eat fructose from whole fruits: Mother nature cleverly packaged its fructose in much more fiber so that the insulin response is better regulated and the sugar metabolizes more quickly than if you ate the fructose alone, not to mention the additional benefit of micronutrients that are in natural fruits.

The scary bit: We don't realize it or even think to check, but sugar is in everything! From hamburger buns to pretzels, some form of sugar slips its way in, and no one's the wiser (of course not, who would think high fructose corn syrup would be the 3rd leading ingredient in most store bought whole wheat bread, a supposedly healthful food).

high fructose corn syrup in whole wheat bread

Some Solutions? 

Get rid of sugary liquids: They are the main source of over sugar overdose; even fruit juice strips whole fruits of their fiber, leaving only high amounts of fructose behind.

Eat carbohydrates with fiber: Fiber helps to slow down the absorption of the carbohydrates in your body, moves the food through your system faster, and also tells you  you are full sooner.

Wait 20 minutes for 2nd portions: Often times we immediately reach for a second helping that are bodies don't have enough time to tell us that we have had enough. Give yourself sometime in between helpings, more times than not, you'll feel full and realize you don't need or even want that second portion. Save any leftovers and enjoy them again when your actually hungry.

Buy your screen time minute-by-minutes with physical activity: If you plan on watching T.V. for 30 minutes, try to schedule in a walk or some sort of exercise for 30 minutes as well.

For more tips to reduce sugar consumption, read Food Republic's The Great Sugar Debate.

Why is exercise important? Unlike many people think, it's not about burning more calories than you consume (if this was the case, we'd all need to be Forrest Gumping our way through life). It is about:

  • Improving skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity: Insulin works better at the muscle, therefore bringing the need for high insulin levels down.
  • Reducing stress: Exercise is the most natural way for us to release stress, and when stress reduces, appetite reduces.  And as many of us know, stress is another major player in weight gain and obesity.

So while Americans thought they were safe in sticking to a recommended "low-fat" diet, the high numbers of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease say otherwise; the culprit has secretly slipped in to almost everything we eat leaving us all quite confused.

To learn more about Sugar's bitter truth, watch Dr. Robert Lustig's video below:

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