Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sugar and Salt -- Foods or Poisons? - Part 1 (Sugar)

Increasingly research points to the fact that most chronic diseases are correlated with increased sugar and salt consumption. Both of these readily available "foods" are being designated in the research and medical community as drugs or poisons due to their extreme impact on health.

There are three main concerns about sugar:

  1. Fructose and fructose-based products, such as corn syrup, is that high levels of fructose do not directly stimulate insulin directly, which is why drinking a large soft drink actually increases appetite, versus making you feel satisfied. Insulin is the hormone in the body that indicates that you are full. If you are consuming high amounts of fructose, your body doesn't realize that it has reached a point of satiety and therefore you keep eating or drinking. Insulin levels eventually increase, but the increase is later, after you have over-eaten. Other forms of sugar spike insulin more quickly and result in feeling full faster. 
  2. What also happens is that high-fructose consumption results in leptin-resistance. Leptin is considered the "starvation hormone". With leptin-resistance the body feels that it is in starvation mode resulting in it storing food versus burning it off.  Leptin-resistance is directly associated with obesity. When individuals are in a state of leptin-resistance, instead of sugar consumption causing hyperactivity or a "sugar-high" as the body attempts to burn off the sugar, the trigger to "burn" off excess insulin is turned off and instead they are constantly hunger and content with being sedentary.
  3. High sugar consumption contributes to dehydration and nutrient deficiencies which are associated with most chronic diseases. In order to prevent chronic diseases sugar and fructose need to be greatly reduced in the diet.

Diseases associated with increased sugar consumption include:
To avoid high-fructose foods and drinks you want to eliminate or greatly reduce the following from your diet: 
  • soft drinks - especially pop - both diet and regular and fruit drinks
  • high-fructose corn starch - which is a common additive in many processed foods such as baked goods, breads, cereals, snack bars, yogurt, soups, condiments, soft drinks and ice cream.
  • limit your fruit to 1 or 2 a day and eat it in its natural state versus as a juice.
For most people a paleo-based diet is best way to achieve and maintain health.  For information on what diet regimen is best for you, work with your naturopathic doctor.

Tests that can help determine if fructose or leptin-resistance is affecting your health include the following: Hb1aC, ALT, Triglycerides, Uric Acid and leptin levels.

To learn more about the impact of sugar and fructose on health, check out the U-Tube Video "Sugar - The Bitter Truth".

Watch for Part 2 next week which will discuss the impact of salt on health.  To learn more about this, please talk to one of our naturopathic doctors.