© 2018 by Sanford Severin, MD

Dr. Sanford L. Severin

San Ramon, CA 94582 USA

trienergeticsblog@gmail.com

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The Sugar Siren. Part II

January 24, 2018

 

We all love sugar. It is yummy and  tastes so good, but it is not good for us. Sugar is a major health risk. Somehow sugar has stayed out of the limelight while the blame for obesity, high blood cholesterol, high triglycerides, heart attacks and strokes has been laid primarily on too much saturated fat in our diets. As a result fat makes up a smaller portion of the American diet than it did a generation ago but the numbers of obese Americans continues to grow. As does the incidence of diabetes.

Sugar is responsible for two health problems. The first is obesity. Sugar is a source of easy calories. There are four calories to every gram of carbohydrate and sugar is a carbohydrate. The sugar calories found in every bite of sweets, pastry, white bread, snack foods and in every sip of soda add up quickly. Take in more calories than are necessary to sustain all of your body's functions and the excess are converted to fat. More calories means more fat.

​The other health problem caused by sugar is a bit more complicated. Sucrose or table sugar is a disaccharide comprised of equal parts of glucose and fructose. Glucose is the fuel that makes the body run. Fructose is the kind of sugar that is found naturally in fruit. Glucose is metabolized by all of the cells in the body. Fructose, on the other hand is metabolized primarily by the liver.

Possibly you have heard or read of the health problems caused by ingesting too much high fructose corn syrup {HFCS} HFCS is also a disaccharide mixture of glucose and fructose. The impact on health of sucrose and HFCS is similar. If you eat too much fructose your liver metabolizes the fructose and produces fats called triglycerides. Some of this fat stays in the liver and over a period of time your liver may become dysfunctional.  Most of the triglycerides are pushed into your circulation. Over time your tissues become more resistant to insulin. Eventually a condition known as the metabolic syndrome can develop. It is characterized by obesity, high blood pressure and other metabolic changes. It can also lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.

The American Heart Association has issues warning about limiting the amount of sugar in the diet.  The rational for that warning is that sugar provides calories with no nutritional benefit. We call this kind of calories empty calories. According to numerous experts this warning is necessary, but it misses the most important point. Excessive sugar is not just empty calories. It can be toxic. 

 

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