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Sugar: Revisited 

A vibrant assortment of candy on a purple backdrop.

We are currently in the midst of a global health crisis. Diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and mood disorders are all rising. What if I told you that they all have one thing in common? What if I could show you how to improve your health by cutting through the lies and misconceptions? 

This is a critical piece of the healthcare puzzle. I wonder if there’s a nutritional topic with more misinformation than sugar consumption and sources. Let’s start with a brief overview of sugar. 

Sugar is a carbohydrate composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. These molecules can be combined to form simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple sugars, such as glucose, fructose, and galactose, comprise one or two sugar molecules. Disaccharides are a type of complex sugar that is made up of two simple sugars. For example, sucrose, or table sugar, is a disaccharide that is made up of glucose and fructose.

Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as looking at how the body processes things. Items like most commercial bread, pasta, cereals, candy, yogurts, and several other items, sometimes even ones touted as healthy, have loads of sugars that will be released when broken down. Generally, we want to lean toward complex carbs filled with fiber! Things like vegetables and certain fruits, like berries.  

Check out the graphic below. As you can see, a staggering amount of sugar is consumed worldwide, but the USA takes the cake (pun intended).

Global consumption of caloric sweeteners graphic chart

 Let’s keep it simple—Sugar in excess causes inflammation, and we’re not just talking about “stub your toe” inflammation. Instead, that happens at a cellular level and can disrupt the very fabric of our physiology. Inflammation has proven to be at the root of nearly every illness. 

Sugar grains spelling out the word SUGAR, surrounded by a variety of sweets

The Dangers of Sugar 

Excessive sugar in the bloodstream causes the pancreas to work harder to produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone that helps get glucose into the cells for energy production. Our current diets have two problems: We have too much sugar, which causes the pancreas to become “exhausted,” and insulin production diminishes. In addition, cells bombarded with excessive sugars and insulin can downregulate their insulin receptors, making it more difficult for insulin to exert its effects.

The excessive consumption of sugar creates a perfect storm for disease. This outcome includes not only diabetes but also cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity, and behavioral disorders such as ADHD/ADD.

A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics looked at almost 3,000 5-year-olds who drank 1-4 servings of soda daily. The result was that those who consumed the soda had a significantly higher level of aggressiveness than those who did not. They further described that it was a dose-dependent response, which means the more soda consumed, the more exaggerated the poor behavior.  

Assorted pink and white sugar packets in white container.

What About Artificial Sweeteners?   

The biggest draw to consuming artificial sweeteners is that they are low in calories and do not act like sugar, concerning triggering an insulin response. Well, this isn’t entirely true. Most people forget that digestion starts in the brain. When your nostrils sense a sweet substance or your tongue, the digestive process begins, including insulin release to prepare for a sugary meal. The bottom line is that while many artificial sweeteners may not raise blood sugar, they can affect insulin levels, leading to insulin resistance.    

Further research shows us that those who consume artificial sweeteners can become addicted because they can be up to 1000x sweeter to our brain than regular table sugar. An article published in Environmental Health stated that women who drank diet soda drank twice as much as those who drank sugar-sweetened soda.

A bowl of colorful jelly beans on a pink background, with some scattered outside the plate.

So Why Does Sugar Make Me Fat? Shouldn’t Fat Make Me Fat? 

When we think of food, we must consider that the body treats it as an energy source. Carbs/Sugar, Fat, and Protein all get broken down into different molecules to drive our metabolic functions. The body is lazy, however. It wants to follow the path of least resistance and usually, if given the option, will break down Carbs/sugar before anything else.  

Looking at this from an energy perspective, what happens if you don’t need the energy you provide to your body? YOU STORE IT! 

The standard American diet is riddled with high Carb/Sugary food, and our society is becoming progressively more sedentary, especially in the workplace. So what does this look like? When we eat that burger and fries and sit at our desk, or eat that plate of pasta and then sit on the couch to watch our favorite sitcoms, our body does what it was designed to do. It breaks down the Carbs to use as energy and then realizes it won’t use it, so it stores it for when it needs it as FAT.  

Fat as a storage molecule is exceptionally efficient. You get 40% more energy from breaking down one fat molecule versus one glucose molecule. It also makes the body work harder to harness that energy. If you keep feeding the body carb when it doesn’t need it, it will keep storing for a “rainy day.”

Person's hand holding a clear glass filled with water.

What Do I Recommend? 

The obvious answer is to avoid the above as much as possible. We also need to increase our daily intake of pure water; there is no magic calculation for the amount, but a general estimate is about half your body weight in fluid ounces per day. Your vegetable-to-fruit consumption should be in the neighborhood of a 3:1 ratio and include various colors and types. Last but not least, stay active. Pushing the energy pathways by exercising will require your body to utilize sugar more readily for energy, thus, less circulating in the blood. Above all, we need to start burning fat as a fuel source instead of relying on sugar. Burning fat for energy is critical to eliminating the fat on our frame.  

That is what the Activate DNA Weight Loss program we use in our clinics is designed to do! Jump starts the metabolism and activates fat burning. Then, couple that with DNA TESTING to provide you with an individualized eating approach for a focused lifestyle change.  

Ready to get OFF the Sugar and ON to a healthy eating lifestyle and sensible weight control? Just click, call, or come in sometime soon. We can help!  

Learn more about getting in contact with one of our weight loss providers by visiting gocuris.com/weight-loss.

Article contributed by Dr. Shaun Adams & Dr. Brett Wisniewski

Sources:

”Sugar: World Markets and Trade”. United States Department of Agriculture: Foreign Agriculture Service. May 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-07

 Stop the Pop Soda Linked to Aggression¨ Inattention in KidsÆ MedscapeÆ Aug 22¨ 2013Æ

http://www.naturopathydigest.com/archives/2007/apr/diabetes.php

-Ann B Y Acad Sci 2007 Aug; 1109:129-37

 Blood Mercury Levels in US Children and Women of Childbearing Age, 1999-2000; JAMA, April 2003-Vol 289, No. 13

 Dufault R, LeBlanc B, Schnoll R, Cornett C, Schweitzer L, Wallinga D, Hightower J, Patrick L, Lukiw WJ. Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: measured concentrationsin food product sugar. Environ Health. 2009 Jan 26;8:2 -http://www.ehjournal.net/content/8/1/2

Seaman, David. The diet-induced proinflammatory state

http://www.healthyfoodamerica.org/sugartoolkit_overview

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/artificial-sweeteners-blood-sugar-insulin

https://www.livestrong.com/article/408673-does-sugar-turn-into-fat/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/231986-when-does-glucose-convert-to-fat/

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