CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviews President Clinton and sugar expert, Dr. Robert Lustig to get behind the sugar, obesity and heart disease epidemics plaguing America. Could they be related? Dr. Hyman offers tips on how to reduce your sugar consumption.
Are those who say sugar is a toxin lying, or simply confused?
Could it be that those MRI brain scans that show the same areas of the brain being equally stimulated by sugar and drugs, like cocaine, be wrong?
And those medical scientists who dedicate themselves to double bind studies designed to expunge bias or confusion, those who now say that sugar is the villain behind America’s obesity and diabetes epidemic… are they paranoid?
Functional medicine expert, Dr. Mark Hyman, author of the new best seller, The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now! is one of those medical types who say that the over consumption of sugar is the key culprit to an overweight America.
As reported in prweb.com:
“In The Blood Sugar Solution, Dr. Hyman tackles this worldwide health care crisis. He provides a revolutionary six-week healthy-living program that will help all individuals, whether or not they are obese or diabetic, to enable their bodies to function at maximum level. With advice on diet, green living, supplements and medication, exercise, and personalizing the plan for optimal results, he teaches readers how to maintain lifelong health. Dr. Hyman describes and explains his seven keys to treating diabesity and achieving peak wellness.”
Former President Bill Clinton says this about The Blood Sugar Solution:
“I hope Dr. Hyman’s new book will inspire you as he has inspired me.”
Remember, Mr. Clinton’s lifetime habit of eating poorly resulted in quadruple bypass heart surgery, after which he reinvented his eating habits, becoming a vegan in the process.
The conventional wisdom says that sugar and sugar byproducts have a causal relationship to obesity and obesity-related diseases, but heart disease? Is there a connection there?
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta says “yes”. He says that a person might think of cheeseburger as a fatty food that might increase one’s cholesterol leading to heart disease. But, it turns out, that’s what sugar is doing, maybe more so than fatty foods.
When a person consumes too much sugar, the liver gets overloaded with fructose and converts some of it into fat. That fat ends up in the bloodstream and generates the bad kind of cholesterol called “small dense LDL”. These particles are known to lodge in blood vessels, form plaque, which can contribute to heart attacks.
“We found that people who consumed high fructose corn syrup had increased blood levels of LDL cholesterol and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”
Here’s Dr. Gupta’s interview with President Clinton on the topic:
Dr. Robert Lustig of the University of California, San Francisco, is unequivocal in his assertion that sugar is a toxin. Lustig told Gupta that he believes sugar should be treated the same way as tobacco and alcohol, substances that are still legal, but regulated:
“Ultimately, this is a public health crisis, and when there’s a public health crisis you have to do big things and you have to do them across the board. Tobacco and alcohol are perfect examples … I think that sugar belongs in this exact same wastebasket,” said Lustig.
Dr. Lustig’s assertion shouldn’t be surprising given that:
- According to reports , the average American consumes over 130 pounds of sugar annually. This leads to increased diabetes and obesity, especially in children.
- The National Institute of Health states that diabetes affects 25.8 million Americans of all ages, and 215,000 people younger than 20 had diabetes in 2010.
Dr. Lustig is the principal expert interviewed by Dr. Gupta here (not commercial free):
Do You Have A Sugar Problem?
This shouldn’t be hard to assess. It should be obvious.
Of course, if you are diabetic, you have a sugar problem, and I hope the information presented here will be helpful.
If you have high cholesterol or a cardiovascular disease, you may have a sugar problem.
If you are overweight and consistently eat packaged foods, fast foods, soda and/or add sugar and/or sugar substitutes to your food or drink, you may have a sugar problem.
If much of the food you eat is primarily derived from wheat (pasta, bread, snacks), you may have a sugar problem.
How to Stop Your Sugar Jones
First you need to discover if you have this problem. If you do, it should be obvious, but we’re masters of self-deception. I advise that you ask those intimate with your eating and drinking habits.
Next, you need to make a plan.
To decide if you have a sugar problem, take a stroll through your kitchen cabinets and fridge. Pull the packaged foodstuff out and read the labels.
See any of these?
High fructose corn syrup
Could be a sign of sugar overindulgence.
Next, you need to ask yourself if you’re willing to do something about reducing your sugar intake. If so, make a plan. Let part of the plan be recruiting a friend to join you on the journey.
The “Plan” should be aimed at reducing and replacing.
Reduce your consumption on a gradual basis, week by week, so by the end of some period determined by you, your sugar consumption will be minimal. As you do this, your taste buds will adjust and will no longer need to be overpowered by the sugar taste to be happy.
Along the way, replace sugar and sugary food and drink with healthier choices. Eat whole fruit rather than fruit drinks. Drink lemon water with a touch of honey, stevia or xlenoy rather than soda. (Or how ‘bout that strange drink called “water”?).
Choose yogurts, cereals and other packaged foods that don’t have sugar or sugar substitutes. Replace the zero fat foods with moderate fat foods. Within limits, the fat is better than the sugar, especially if it’s a “good fat” like omega-3 fatty acids contained in foods like chia seeds, flax seeds, fish and fish oil.
And, according to Dr. Hyman, a little brain reprogramming can help.
Three Ways to Reprogram Your Brain, says Hyman
There are ways to rewire the primitive parts of your brain by making good food choices. Here are three ways to get started:
- Balance blood sugar. Blood sugar highs and lows drive primitive food cravings. If you get famished between meals, that’s a sign that your blood sugar is crashing. When blood sugar is low, you’ll eat anything. To better balance blood sugar, eat a small meal or snack that includes healthy protein, like seeds or nuts, every 3 to 4 hours.
- Eliminate liquid calories and artificial sweeteners. Early humans didn’t reach for soda or fruit juices when they got thirsty. Sodas are full of chemicals and high fructose corn syrup. Processed fruit juices are awash in sugar. Try sticking with water and green tea. Green tea contains plant chemicals that are good for your health. And, last but not least, don’t succumb to the diet drink trap. The artificial sweeteners in diet drinks fool the body into thinking it is ingesting sugar, which creates the same insulin spike as regular sugar.
- Eat a high-quality protein at breakfast. Ideally, you’re eating quality protein at every meal, but, if you need to prioritize one meal, choose breakfast. Studies show that waking up to a healthy protein, such as eggs, nuts, seeds, nut butters or a protein shake (see “Joe’s Morning Tonic”) help people lose weight, reduce cravings and burn calories.
[For more suggestions on how to wrestle control from your reptilian brain, see Chapter 15 of The Blood Sugar Solution.]
Well, I’ve presented plenty of information in this post to help you decide if your consumption of sugar might be detrimental to your health. As long as you’re on a roll, check out these other resources to help you better understand how harmful is sugar, as well as tips to get it out of your life.
Scan the list; surely, one of these is a good resource for you:
Published on April 3, 2012