Is sugar toxic?
In my opinion...YES! Here's why...(from an excerpt from my hospital's nutrition newsletter. Go SHS!)
"Sugar is considered a form of empty, unnecessary calories in the diet. Despite this, the consumption of sugar has tripled worldwide in the past 50 years. Recent scientific evidence believes that fructose, a dietary sugar often added to commercial foods and beverages, may contribute to liver toxicity as well as a multitude of other chronic diseases. The primary forms in which fructose is added to processed foods are high fructose corn syrup and sucrose. The use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has caused a lot of controversy, but Dr. Sanjay Gupta in a recent interview on “60 Minutes” states that the use of any added sugars in processed foods are equally toxic. Sugar contributes to all of the diseases associated with metabolic syndrome, a group of diseases that increase the risk for Coronary Artery Disease, Stroke and type 2 Diabetes, such as Hypertension, High Triglycerides, and Insulin Resistance. Many public health professionals are now placing added sugars in the same category as alcohol and tobacco in regards to its negative health effects and high costs on society. Metabolic syndrome is estimated to cost the U.S. $150 billion in health-care resources annually. Research also suggests that sugar contains dependence-producing properties in humans, acting on the brain to encourage increased sugar intake.
According to the USDA, it is estimated that approximately 16% of American’s total daily calories come from added sugars with the primary source being sugary beverages and grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies ,etc). Of course, a little sugar in an overall balanced diet is not a concern, but what is “a little”? Currently, the American Heart Association recommends that women have no more than 100 calories per day of added sugars (approximately 6 teaspoons) and men no more than 150 calories per day (9 teaspoons). Children should have no more than 4 teaspoons of added sugars a day. A 20 fl. oz. bottle of Coca Cola (the size most often sold in vending machines) contains almost 10 teaspoons of sugar; a bottle of Snapple Lemon Ice Tea contains 11.5 teaspoons. Both beverages exceed the recommended daily amount for all Americans. This is the reason why some health experts are encouraging the U.S. to begin taxing any processed foods that contain added sugars, similar to the use of taxing alcohol and tobacco products. Canada and some European countries already require additional taxes on some sweetened food products. Whether you agree with the idea to tax foods with added sugars or not, reducing added sugar intake in your own diet is a healthy move. See below for some tips on removing excess sugar from the diet.
Source: Lustig, RH, Schmidt LA, Brindis CD. Public Health: The toxic truth about sugar. Nature. 2012;482: 27-29.
Tips to Cut Back on Added Sugars:
Source: Today Health: MSNBC.com."
Friday's Food For Thought
Ever wonder what happens to the foods you eat once you chew and swallow them?? Well, scientists at Harvard have uncovered some of the truth using a Pillcam (a tiny camera that is swallowed before eating and sends images of the digestive process to a computer by Bluetooth technology). The differences that occur in this process between freshly made food and store-bought processed noodles is astounding.
Take a look inside...but be warned, it's a little nasty (but not that bad!)!
According to a long term study of thousands of British children's diets and IQs, diets high in saturated fat and processed sugar may be contributing to lower IQs in children. Researchers gathered diet information from parents, specifically inquiring in to the types of foods and drinks their children ate at ages 3, 4, 7 and 8.5. IQ scores were assessed by standard IQ scores at age 8.5.
Interesting findings found by the researchers include a 1.67 point decrease in IQ score in children on high fat, high sugar diets at age 3 while those on healthy diets (consisting of fruits, vegetables, fish and pasta) at age 3 had a 1.2 point INCREASE in IQ score. This shows the power of food and how we really "are what we eat".
This does not mean, necessarily, that all people who eat processed diets are not as smart as those who eat healthy diets; it does mean, though, that their children are put at higher risk for lower IQ levels if exposed to nutrient poor diets early in life. But all hope is not lost for those exposed to these less-than-ideal diets! Experts say that any changes in intellect caused by diet can likely be reversed once children change to a healthier diet.
Don't your kids deserve the best chance at life? Start with a healthy diet, filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains and give them their
Dr. Maltz earned a Medical Degree and Master in Public Health from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX. She completed a combined Internal and Preventive Medicine Residency at UTMB in June, 2011. She then completed a 2-year Integrative Medicine Fellowship at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT, during which she simultaneously underwent an intensive 1000-hour curriculum created by The University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Program founded by Dr. Andrew Weil.