The Body Ecology Diet (BED) Column
......with Donna Gates
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Tuesday, June 21st, 2011:
What They’re Not Telling You About Sugar
Fructose is a fruit sugar.
It is naturally found in fruit like melon and berries and also in honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup. It, along with glucose, makes up sucrose, or common table sugar.
What’s the main difference between fructose and glucose?
Fructose is metabolized only in the liver, so any excess gets converted into fat.
Glucose, on the other hand, is an energy source for every cell in the body. This means it is readily absorbed and easily used.
At the turn of the century, Americans consumed an average of 13 pounds of sugar a year. According to recent USDA reports, we now consume over 152 pounds of sugar a year, 64 pounds of which is HFCS. At this rate, we are consuming far more fructose than our bodies can handle.
Why is fructose is so dangerous?
Fructose, when eaten in extremely small quantities in the form of fruit or root vegetables, has an almost imperceptible affect on health. However, because fructose is found not only in sweet foods, but also in condiments, processed meats, breads, sport drinks, and other popular beverages, many people find it difficult to avoid.
- Fructose does not stimulate insulin. Glucose does. Insulin is important because it does other things besides manage blood sugar. It also stimulates leptin, which makes you feel full and satiated after a meal. And it turns down ghrelin, also called the hunger hormone because it stimulates appetite. So what happens? You end up eating large quantities of fructose in a meal and still feel hungry. This contributes to obesity.
- Fructose elevates uric acid and increases nitric oxide. This raises angiotensin and leads to hypertension. Hypertension is common, and many people take medication to control hypertension, sometimes unsuccessfully. Adjusting the diet and removing fructose is another option that may alleviate hypertension and will certainly benefit overall health.
- Uric acid, which has a direct relationship to the amount of fructose that you consume, also contributes to low grade, chronic inflammation. This is especially noticeable around old injuries. Sustained high levels of uric acid and low grade inflammation weakens the immune system and makes you susceptible to degenerative conditions, including type II diabetes.
- Fructose and ethanol, or alcohol, are metabolized in the liver. The process is similar for both. Excessive amounts of fructose have been shown to lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- The liver converts the majority of fructose into fat. Besides fatty liver, this leads to abdominal obesity and elevated triglycerides. (1)
Sugar in general contributes to advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
AGEs happen when sugars, like glucose, cross-link with proteins in the body. Fructose speeds this process up.
- AGE’s are exactly as they sound, and an accumulation of them leads to visible signs of aging, like wrinkles and what are known as liver spots.
- Inside the body, AGEs will lead to stiffness in the vasculature and contribute to the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins. Oxidized LDLs are associated with heart disease. Many complications arising from diabetes involve excess AGEs.
- AGEs age you both inside and out.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
Fructose is a natural fruit sugar metabolized by the liver, and any excess will be converted into fat by the body. According to the USDA, Americans now consume roughly 152 pounds of sugar per year, with 64 pounds from high fructose corn syrup. This is causing a fructose overload in our bodies.
Fructose in excess will still leave you feeling hungry after a meal, can contribute to hypertension, and can also trigger chronic inflammation in the body, making you susceptible to conditions like diabetes. The liver will convert the majority of fructose into fat, leading to abdominal obesity. But worst of all, sugar in general will contribute to advanced glycation end products, also called AGEs, that lead to premature aging and even heart disease.
1. Lustig, Robert. Sugar: The Bitter Truth. UCSF Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. YouTube.Com. July, 2009.
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