The naturally occurring sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and milk are not added sugars, and there is general agreement that they are beneficial components of a
healthy diet. They come with “their own antidote,” fiber, that slows absorption and helps avoid a spike of insulin release. Large amounts of added sugars, have
harmful consequences: increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, some types of cancer, high blood pressure, gout, Alzheimer disease and liver damage.
Humans did not evolve with a metabolism suited to eating large amounts of added sugars. It was not until the 19th century that sugar became widely available at low
cost and consumed in large amounts throughout the world. Sugar “toxicity” is highly dose-related. When ordinary white sugar (sucrose) is metabolized in the body,
it is broken into its two components, glucose and fructose. Glucose is the essential energy source metabolized by every cell in the body. Glucose elicits the secretion
of insulin, a hormone that promotes the uptake of sugar by the cells of the body.
Fructose, which tastes twice as sweet as glucose, does not directly cause the release of insulin. It must undergo other chemical changes in the liver before it can be used for energy or other metabolic purposes. When too much fructose hits the liver, for example after consumption of a “big gulp” supersized sugar-sweetened soft drink, the harmful consequences can include increased serum triglycerides, liver cell damage, accumulation of fat in the liver, abdomen, muscles and elsewhere in the body, and an addictive-like stimulation of food intake beyond energy needs.
Chronic overeating of added sugars increases the risk of obesity, insulin resistance that leads to type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome. The
metabolic syndrome is characterized by the presence of three or more of the following five health risk factors: a large waist circumference (abdominal obesity), high
blood glucose, high triglyceride levels, low HDL-C and high blood pressure. The metabolic syndrome is an unhealthy condition that has been linked to the development
of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It is alarming that more than 40% of Americans over age 40 have the metabolic syndrome.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in the book or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon). Copyright 2020 by J. Joseph Speidel