What is the problem with sugar? And why does it have such a bad rap.
Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, the spleen is affected by any food that is sweet, cold, raw, or fat. Sugar is one of the biggest influence on creating symptoms in the spleen, i.e. the gut. Remember, the spleen is the paired organ to the stomach.
In western and eastern medicine, we see the harmful effects of sugar on the metabolism and how it contributes to all sorts of diseases.
Sugar contains a lot of calories, with no essential nutrients. It also causes tooth decay by feeding the harmful bacteria in the mouth.
- For people who are inactive and eat a Western diet, large amounts of fructose from added sugars get turned into fat in the liver.
- Excess fructose gets turned into fat, which can lodge in the liver and cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- When people eat a lot of sugar, it can cause resistance to the hormone insulin, which can contribute to many diseases. We see this with the increase of obesity and the difficulty to lose weight.
- Because of the harmful effects of sugar on the function of insulin, it is a leading driver of type II diabetes.
- Sugar causes inflammation. New studies are showing the link of inflammation in the gut, are linked to inflammation in the brain and vice versa. Inflammation in the gut contributes to all kinds of ailments. Inflammation in the brain…. Not good.
- Fructose doesn’t cause satiety in the brain or lower the hunger hormone ghrelin nearly as much as glucose.
- Because sugar causes a large release of dopamine in the brain, it can cause addiction in a lot of people.
- Because of the effects of sugar on hormones and the brain, sugar dramatically increases the risk of becoming overweight or obese.
- For many decades, people have blamed saturated fat for heart disease… which is the #1 killer in the world.
New studies are showing that sugar, NOT fat, may be one of the leading drivers of heart disease via the harmful effects of fructose on metabolism.
Studies show that large amounts of fructose can raise triglycerides, small, dense LDL and oxidized LDL (very, very bad), raise blood glucose and insulin levels and increase abdominal obesity… in as little as 10 weeks.
These are all major risk factors for heart disease.
What do can you do instead?
- Read labels. I have found cane sugar in roasted chicken.
- Good substitutes for sugar are maple syrup, honey, agave, and stevia.
- If you are eating something sweet, eat some protein with it, as it slows the insulin spike down.
- Try not to have sugar later in the evening, as it affects the liver, which can affect sleep. (this includes wine as it is a sugar)
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