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Is Sugar As Dangerous to Your Health as Alcohol and Cigarettes?

Under: Food & Diet, General Health

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco claim that excessive consumption of sugar not only contributes to climbing obesity rates but causes hypertension, disruption of hormones and liver damage.

The article, “The Toxic Truth About Sugar”, states that dietary sugar intake has tripled over the past 50 years and is responsible for “35 million deaths a year”.

When sugar is fermented (by yeast or bacteria) it is converted into ethanol (drinking alcohol) and carbon dioxide. Essentially the researchers claim that excessive sugar consumption causes many of the same effects as alcohol consumption. As reported by Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco Center for Obesity Study, Treatment and Assessment.

“Excess sugar in the diet does not just add calories. Too much sugar has been linked with health problems and they occur even in people who are normal weight. This includes: Obesity, high blood pressure, liver problems, diabetes and elevated blood fats in the form of triglycerides”.

“It is known that sugar has an addiction-like action on the brain that encourages subsequent intake”.

It is important to realize that Dr. Lustig is not just talking about the sugar in candy, cakes and soda. He and many researchers, including myself, consider the fructose in fruits to be equally problematic when over consumed.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar a day for men and 6 for women. This compares to the average sugar intake in the U.S. of 22 teaspoons a day.

The study does not discuss an additional safety concern related to excessive sugar consumption. The “aging effects” of sugar on bodily tissues is associated with tissue damage, oxidative stress and chronic degenerative diseases.

Via a process known as glycation, sugar reacts with bodily proteins and fats to form AGE’s. (advance glycation endproducts). These AGE’s can cause excessive cellular damage by raising inflammation and levels of free radicals in our bodies.

AGE’s are implicated in:

• Cardiovascular disease

• Cancer

• Alzheimer’s

• Diabetes ( the test your Dr. does called HbA1c. measures the effect of sugar on your red blood cells)

• Nerve damage (neuropathies)

• Eye damage

• Weakening of blood vessels increasing the risk of aneurisms and strokes

Considering that just one glass of soda contains 22 teaspoons of sugar, isn’t it time to take steps to reduce your sugar consumption down to the levels recommended by the Heart Association?

Try to use products that have substituted all or some of their sugar content with natural sweeteners like Stevia extract or erythritol.

The good news is that stopping our addiction to sugar, is not very hard. Unlike drugs or even caffeine which can have withdrawal side-effects, withdrawing from sugar does not. In fact, most people report that after a week or two, their cravings are substantially reduced.


Curt Hendrix, B.S. M.S. C.C.N. C.N.S.