Did you know that there is a substance in just about everything you buy in the grocery store that is slowly making you sick?
While it’s well known that sugar is not the healthiest thing to consume, people don’t know that sugar is linked to more health problems than just obesity and diabetes. This is due to a compound found in sugar called fructose, which few people have heard of and fewer people talk about.
What is sugar?
Sugar is a chemical compound that falls under the carbohydrate category. If you eat anything with sugar (sucrose) in it, you are also consuming fructose. This is because sucrose is made of one half fructose. It is the part of sugar that makes it sweet. It is also the same fructose that is in high fructose corn syrup.
Sucrose, along with high fructose corn syrup, is in the majority of foods found in a typical grocery store. The food industry has added this sweetener to all their products whenever it can because it is the cheapest way to make things taste good. Most people are probably eating more of it than they realize because sugar is in foods that are not even usually classified as sweet, such as bread, soups, and dressings.
How do we know we are eating too much?
- The recommended intake of sugar is at most 10% of your daily calories, which still amounts to close to a pound of sugar a week.
- The problem is that sugar is such a big part of the American diet that it is estimated that on average we eat about 3 to 4 pounds every week, or 150 to 170 pounds of it per year!
There is bound to be problems when we are eating close to 400% more than the recommended limit!
What are some of the lesser known effects of fructose?
One of the foremost experts on the effects of fructose on the body is Robert H Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist. In his book, “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease”, some of the effects of fructose (sugar) that Dr. Lustig warns about include:
1. Fructose contributes to the breakdown of the intestinal barrier that prevents bacteria from entering the blood stream. If the breakdown is severe enough, it can cause what is known as leaky gut syndrome.
2. There is correlation between onset of dementia and the overconsumption of fructose.
3. It is well established that sugar can lead to insulin resistance (diabetes), but one of the side effects of constant and consistent insulin resistance is the increased likelihood of many different types of cancers.
4. High fructose consumption blocks hormones that tell your body it is full. This creates a false sense of starvation and leads to over-eating.
5. Cholesterol levels are raised that cause artery hardening and serious heart disease.
6. Uric acid levels are raised, which can cause gout.
These health issues can turn up after years of steady over consumption of sugar, along with increased risk for obesity and diabetes.
Prevention Starts Now
Although diabetes is treatable and physical therapy can help, the good news is that you have control over the amount of sugar you consume now! Make sure you are staying under the recommended limit so that you can enjoy sugar without the negative effects of it.
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Isom Allan, PT, DPT
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