This past Sunday 60 Minutes aired a segment called “Is Sugar Toxic?”, and guess what….according to Dr. Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at The University of California, IT IS!
Here are 8 things I learned about sugar from watching this program:
1. The whole low-fat movement in the 1980’s geared towards decreasing the incidence of heart disease has totally backfired! When the food companies removed the fat, they replaced it with sugar to help foods maintain their good taste. Now we are fatter and unhealthier than ever!
2. Sugar is to blame for America’s health crisis and is the root cause of obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
3. The average American consumes 130 pounds of sugar each year! The average Canadian is only slightly better, consuming 110 grams of sugar per day (26 teaspoons), which is approximately 88 pounds of sugar in one year! Source
4. Sugar is everywhere! It’s in the obvious places like table sugar, honey, syrup, and cereal, but it’s also in foods like yogurt, bread, peanut butter and pretty much all processed foods!
5. Despite what many nutritionists claim, all calories are NOT created equal. Different calories have different roles within our bodies. Proteins cause different responses in our brains and bodies than sugars.
6. When we eat too much sugar it gets converted to fat in the liver and causes an increase in the levels of VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) – very bad cholesterol – which forms plaque in our arteries and leads to heart disease and strokes.
7. Sugar is addictive. When they looked at our brains response to sugar, they found that upon consumption, the brain releases Dopamine, just as it does in response to cocaine. They also discovered that we build a tolerance for it, just as we do to drugs or alcohol, which means the more sugar we eat, the more we need to eat to get the same euphoric feeling.
8. Since eating sugar causes a spike in our insulin levels, and certain cancers (breast and colon) have insulin receptors on them, the insulin binds to these receptors and tells the tumor to absorb the sugars. Basically, the sugar is feeding the tumor, and causing it to grow.
If you have time and are interested in watching the full segment, you can find it HERE.
So, here’s what I think about the whole thing… I agree that most of us eat too much sugar, especially in the form of candy, sugary drinks and processed foods. However, I think that the idea of not eating any sugar at all is UNREALISTIC! Sure, we could give up desserts and pop, but like I said above, sugar is everywhere!
According to myfitnesspal.com, I am over on my sugar intake every. single. day. I usually consume at least double, sometimes even triple the suggested amount (which for me ranges between 30 and 40 grams per day). Some days all of my sugars come from natural sources (like fruits and vegetables) – which I’m totally okay with, but other days – usually the days I’m WAY over, it’s because I’ve put chocolate chips in my oatmeal pancake or eaten sugary snacks 😦
Eating Clean is a great way to limit the amount of sugar in your diet. My plan is to continue to make as many Clean meals as I can and try to avoid the sugary snacks and pop (which will be ridiculously difficult)!
Did you watch the segment? What did you think? Do you need to decrease your sugar consumption? If so, how difficult will it be for you?