I sat and listened to medical writer Michael Pollan at the University of Portland with 4,000 others last weekend and he struck a chord within me. He spoke about how nutrition experts became so good at demonizing food elements over the last 30 years. The perfect example is how fat was considered bad for you in the 1980’s and was heavily promoted by medical folks (AMA and American Heart Association). This resulted in Americans switching over to simple carbs and sugars to replace the fat in food and this switch was heavily marketed by food manufacturers. Today the consequences of this shift is the frightening rise of diabetic disease not just in adults but more so in young children – out next generation.
The high percentage of sugar found in almost all processed and packaged foods is now known to result in diabetes, heart disease and cancer – the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S.
But you may ask: don’t we need sugar for energy? Doesn’t the brain require sugar to work? Emphatically yes to both questions. To further explain this confusion have we have to look at the type of sugar being consumed. Sugar in the form of glucose is the preferred body fuel. With the rise of fast foods, packaged and prepared foods other types of sugars have been used. The real problem sugar is fructose. Its cousin high fructose corn syrup (HFC) structurally similar is even more problematic due to its intense sweetness. But the most concerning factor is the way fructose and high fructose corn syrup metabolizes in the body. As this sugar is digested excess amounts are stored in the liver and then become trapped if we consume more that we burn up. Then two things occur: the liver becomes a storage bin for fat and eventually cannot function normally; the high sweetness does not allow a satiety level to be stimulated therefore we just eat more and more sweetened foods.
The metabolism of food is complex, but the intake of too much sugar without fiber normally found in fresh fruits is the real issue. To maintain health create a healthy balance of sugars with the right kind of sugars. The big issue is excess sugar intake that needs to be stored somewhere if calories are not burned. The confusion for many people is that we were told to eat less fat yet America has become fatter over these last 30+ years.
Sugar is a essential for cell function, but it has to be in the right amount and the right kind. Regardless of what the Corn Refiners Association says – HFC is not good for you because of the way it is stored in the liver. It will harm your liver and your health.
Robert Lustig MD a pediatric endocrinologist has now named fructose sugar a poison – click here to read further.
As Michael Pollan says in his book – In Defense of Food, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.
Keep it simple; keep yourself healthy with whole unprocessed foods. The body knows exactly what to do. And Grandmother was so right when she said: “Eat your fruits and vegetables”!