Is Sugar Really that Bad?
Fructose: What happens when you remove it from your diet?
By now most of you know to avoid and minimize your sugar intake. But do you really know why it is so important and what type of sugar should you be removing from your diet?
Fructose: Reasons why you should Avoid Processed Sugar
- There is a link between a processed food diet and disease-most processed foods are high in refined carbs, void of nutrients, and these carbs convert rapidly into sugar in your blood stream
- Sugar is the underlying factor in diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and obesity, not saturated fats like you led to believe
- Healthy weight-some people think that because they are not overweight it is okay to eat as much sugar as they want. Even if you don’t gain weight, sugar will raise triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, and increase blood pressure
- Fructose-this is the worst kind of sugar because it has to be metabolized in your liver instead of in your intestines like glucose.
o Your liver turns fructose into liver fat which causes metabolic problems.
o Excess fructose shuts down the part of your brain that tells you when you are full; thus making overeating likely. Your Liver can only handle small quantities of fructose at any given time so excess fructose is stored as body fat instead of being burned as energy.
o When you consume fructose in liquid form such as a soda, the effects not only speed up but are also magnified.
o Fructose is not the preferred energy source for muscles or the brain
- It is more fat producing than glucose: basically fructose will pack on the pounds!
- Elevated insulin levels (caused by consuming too much processed sugar) give cancer tumors a boost by directing cancer cells to consume glucose.
- Some cancers actually contain insulin receptors, harnessing glucose to grow and spread. For these cancers, eating sugar is like putting fuel on the fire.
- If you have cancer it is wise to remove all excess sugar from your diet: do your homework on this subject as hospitals will still give cancer patients foods loaded with sugar. Yes, Ensure ( a common product given to cancer patients) is filled with “crap” ingredients including sugar. Read labels!
- Sugar is related to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
o There is still some debate however among neurologists and other medical professionals but research shows that sugar and other high refined carb type foods in excess age the brain and can increase the risk of dementia.
o When you consume sugar in excess, it forms toxic compounds called advanced glycations end products (AGES) Yes, sugar ages you!
o Too much of the fast releasing glucose (which happens when you eat the refined carbs and sugary processed foods) overloads the brain cells which are less capable of handling this overload than the muscle cells. (A high sugar, processed food diet can cause or contribute to depression)
o So the more sugar and refined carbs you eat, the higher your insulin levels will be and then more peaks in your blood sugar levels.
o These swings from high to low in your blood sugar will leave you tired, unable to concentrate and eventually over time it can lead to fading memory.
- Over time your body will become less responsive to its own insulin and will develop insulin resistant which is the precursor to diabetes
- And many are calling Alzheimer’s “type 3” diabetes.
- If trying to eliminate sugar from your diet rather try to reduce your processed sugar intake. If you eliminate sugar completely from your diet you will also be eliminating very healthy choices such as some vegetables and fruits. These are the foods that you do want in your diet! You do need some sugar in your diet to fuel your muscles and keep your brain active. So choose whole foods for your sugar source! Beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, berries, apples and bananas are a few examples.
- Fruit is still the better option than processed food because it contains fiber and other vital nutrients needed for our health. Because of the fiber and additional nutrients, it does not cause the immediate spike in blood sugar that say a donut would that is void of additional nutrients. However it is easy to go overboard on the fruit-2 servings per day only unless you are a very active person!
- Stevia Leaf to use as a sweetener. Not Truvia or PureVia which are processed products and not stevia in its pure form.
- Small amounts of raw honey and pure grade B Maple syrup. Again, small amounts. But these do contain some nutrients. Use these in meals and snacks that are not cooked or cooked below 115 degrees as the heat will destroy the beneficial nutrients in these products.
Benefits of a Sugar Free Lifestyle
- Just read the “effects of sugar” to know the benefits of a processed sugar free lifestyle
- decreased cancer risk
- improved triglyceride levels
- manage weight/lose weight
- reduce diabetes risk
- healthy brain function
- reduce heart disease risk
- have more energy
- clearer more vibrant skin
Want to know more about how to stop those sugar cravings? Stay tuned for an article on herbs and supplements to help when those cravings hit.
Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Therapeutic Nutrition. Pengrove, CA: Bauman College
Ellison, S. (Set/Oct. 2015) Sugar. Why it sabotages our health. Onfitnessmagazine.com, vol. 16, no. 2.
Sboros, M. (10/1/15)Love Sugar? You May Hate What It does to your Brain!
Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, owner of Tru Foods Nutrition LLC and author of the Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide E book believes in getting to the root of your health issues instead of symptom management. For more information, visit her site at www.trufoodsnutrition.com