Sugar Dangers for Diabetes
If cutting down on sugar wasn’t one of your 2017 resolutions, let me convince you to put it on your list. It’s never too late to recognize that the sweet stuff isn’t sweet at all.
Diabetes and obesity are dreadful conditions in themselves. But as they so often open the door to so many additional health threats, they’re also warm-up acts for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, immune system breakdown, neurodegenerative disease, and cancer.
The danger’s not just in the ubiquitous, snowy-white, granulated and powdered stuff we put in coffee, tea, baked goods, breakfast cereal, jellies, jams, marinades, sauces, and condiments like ketchup (which is essentially tomato syrup)…it’s an endless list.
It’s also every syrup, except maple—corn syrup, brown rice syrup, fruit syrup, etc. Maple is an exception because absent tampering, it’s a natural substance with some nutrient content. But even maple must be used sparingly, and only if it’s Grade B and organic. (Sorry, New Englanders, Canadians, and burger lovers.)
Don’t be fooled by fruit juice
Even all those friendly, seemingly healthy fruit and veggie drinks are devils in disguise. Yes, whole fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet. Their skin, seeds, and flesh are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fiber, and a zillion other nutrients.
But if you squeeze out the juice and toss the rest, all you get is a great-tasting drink that’s loaded with sugar. Yes, it’s “naturally occurring” sugar. But it’s just as dangerous as refined sugar. Boil that juice down and you’ve got…syrup.
UK researchers found that people who had a daily glass of juice had significantly higher aortic blood pressure than a control group—a condition that can increase the risk of heart attack or angina, and is associated with cardiovascular disease risk and cognitive impairment.
Is there an acceptable amount of daily sugar? WHO says what?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognizes the role sugar plays in disease incidence worldwide.
Consume no more than six teaspoons of sugar, in any form, daily.
But wait. A single 8-ounce cup of fresh orange juice puts us over the limit, with the equivalent of seven teaspoons of sugar. Add to that all the other omnipresent sugars we consume as we drink and dine from day to night, and there’s nothing but trouble ahead.
Big Food and Big Agri pile on
High-fructose corn syrup (HFC), a mix of of modified chemical components of sugar, was delivered from Big Food labs to our dining tables in the 1970s.
In 1999, annual sales had reached more than 150 pounds of HFC per person.
Funny thing…obesity and diabetes skyrocketed right along with HFC sales.
So why did HFC become such a common part of the American diet?
Because a combination of tariffs on imported sugar and subsidies for US corn producers makes HFC cheaper, and guess what—more profitable—than every other form of sugar.
What about “sugar-free,” “no added sugar,” and sugar substitutes?
Guess who makes aspartame, the disease-causing sugar substitute found in more than 9,000 foods and other products, like toothpaste and makeup?
Our Big Pharma / Big Food nemesis, Monsanto, maker and relentless marketer of deadly pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified crops, which it coerces our corn farmers to use, along with other “innovations” that wreak havoc.
Do not consume anything that contains aspartame, which is sold as NutraSweet, Spoonful, Equal, and other trade names.
It’s technically a neurotoxin, linked to (so far):
- Cardiovascular disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vision loss
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
And while you’re at it, you’ll want to avoid all of these FDA-approved sweeteners:
- Acesulfame Potassium (Acesulfame K)
How to escape the sugar jungle
The shelves are piled high with sugars.
Your most important escape route is to escape the shelves. Eat only local, fresh, and organic—multiple daily doses of fruits and veggies give you all the natural sugars your body needs. And, of course, you get all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients that get stripped away between the natural source and the shelves.
When you must resort to “store-bought,” read the labels. Stay away from any ingredient that ends with “-ose”—fructose, glucose, sucrose. Stay away from any ingredients labeled “modified” and any that say “preservative.”
Count the carbs. If the carbs are high, that’s a sure sign of sugar. (If you subtract “dietary fiber” from “total carbohydrates”, you’ll have a good idea of the simple carbohydrates.) Find a different provider of what you want—there might be an enlightened producer who gets the carb count right.
Take your honey out to eat. Pure, raw, organic honey isn’t just delicious. It’s one of nature’s most versatile and potent health givers—so rich in macronutrients, micronutrients, enzymes, probiotics, and prebiotics that we haven’t even figured out exactly how they all work.
We do know it was used by our forebears as both a sweetener and a medicinal ingredient for centuries. There are 8,000-year-old cave paintings in Spain that prove it.
That means today, our bodies are far readier to work with honey than with the chemical shocks delivered by non-natural sweeteners.
Still…moderation, my friends. A little goes a long way.
Stick with Stevia, a plant originally grown in Brazil and Paraguay, where it’s been used as a sweetener for centuries. The Stevia extract we can buy is 200–300 times sweeter than white table sugar. Like honey, a little goes a long way, which is how you should use it—in moderation.
By the way, some weight loss programs recommend Stevia because it has no calories, but it’s not the way to lose weight. There’s emerging science that your pancreas’ insulin reaction is triggered by the taste of sweetness, not just spiking blood sugar. Repeatedly triggering that false alarm is one possible road to reduced insulin sensitivity, which is the step before Type II diabetes.
Megabucks and misery are at stake
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that diabetes and obesity alone cost the US economy a billion dollars a day.
A billion dollars.
Banishing sugar from our diets is not just about protecting our personal health, and not just about helping millions of our fellow Americans banish the heartbreak and misery of devilish diseases, caused by devilish, unnatural interventions.
If just those two preventable diseases—diabetes and obesity—cost the US $365 billion a year, without counting the costs of heart disease, cancer, and other heavy hitters, I see it as almost my patriotic and community duty to fight back.
So let’s start with ourselves
Let’s not kid ourselves that banishing sugar and toxic sugar wannabes and imposters will be easy. It’s everywhere, in various disguises, often barely recognizable.
Just remember that when you eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies—an essential part of every diet—you get all the natural sugar you need, and loads of essential other nutrients.
So, start with baby steps. Maybe go for some fruit instead of dessert after dinner. Instead of sugar, or worse, fake sugar in your morning tea or coffee, add just a drop or two of honey or grade B organic maple syrup.
Be vigilant, be committed, be careful, and the term “sugar-free” can someday apply to a healthier you.
- Taubes, Gary.”Is Sugar Killing Us?” Wall Street Journal. Published Dec. 9, 2016. Last accessed January 5, 2017.
- Willey, Jo.“Health danger in FRUIT JUICE: Millions put themselves at risk by drinking a glass DAILY” EXPRESS UK. Published October 11, 2014. Last accessed January 5, 2017.
- Nichols, Hannah “Stevia: Health Benefits, Facts, Safety” University of Illinois-Chicago, School of Medicine. Updated December 2, 2016. Last accessed January 5, 2017.
- Betsch, Mara. “10 Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar Substitutes” Published NA. Last accessed January 5, 2017.
- Sayer, Ji. “How Artificial Sweeteners Induce Diabetes- and Obesity-Related Changes” Published September 24, 2014. Last accessed January 5, 2017.
- Bauer, Ursula et al. “Prevention of chronic disease in the 21st century: elimination of the leading preventable causes of premature death and disability in the USA” The Lancet Volume 384, Issue 9937, 5–11 July 2014, Pages 45–52. Last accessed January 5, 2017
- “Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for use in Food in the United States” US FDA. Page Last Updated: May 26, 2015. Last accessed January 5, 2017