By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer
All these years we blamed saturated fats for all our chronic illnesses, including heart disease, and cancer among others. Then, people started increasing their energy needs by consuming more food containing sugar. The obesity problem became worse, and it was then that the health experts realised that it was the sugar that was the culprit causing most diseases, including the obvious diabetes.
Today, it is definitely sugar that has been considered as the big bad wolf in relation to health. It is associated with increased aging, cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer and so on.
Sugar damages your arteries, increases blood pressure, and ages your organs, and not saturated fats and cholesterol as previously believed. It is not the carbs that we are concerned with. They are complex sugars as in vegetables and unprocessed grains. The medical experts are concerned about the added sugars to food to make them taste sweet. Most sweet drinksand food including soda, breads, cakes and other products have high fructose corn syrup. Many labels where an ingredient ends in ‘ose’ are considered sugars.
Popular foods containing fructose are- corn sugar in juice cocktails, breakfast cereals, yogurt, salad dressings, breads and baked goods, candy, candy bars, nutrition bars, among many hundreds of other foods.
Abundance of fructose as in corn syrup harms the liver and the heart. The human body cells handle glucose for energy. Fructose is handled only by the liver cells. Too much of fructose in the diet has potentially dangerous consequences for the liver, the arteries and the heart.
In the liver, fructose is converted into fat. This process is called lipogenesis. Fat droplets accumulate in the liver and cause a non-alcoholic fatty liver. It is recorded that over 30 percent of Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Most of them are obese and have diabetes.
Early non-alcoholic fatty liver is reversible, and one must seriously cut down consuming sugars, including fructose. If the inflammation of the liver caused by sugars is not controlled
it can lead to cirrhosis a condition where the liver cells are replaced by fibrous tissue leading to loss of liver function.
These foods are considered inflammatory and are harmful for your health in all aspects. It is observed that with high intake of soluble sugars in food had a four-fold increase in their risk of heart attacks compared to those with less intake.
These simple sugars like fructose, lactose and maltose are present in fruits. They are natural sugars and they cause less harm when we think of the other benefits of eating fruit.
The health experts are concerned about your consuming added sugars in soft drinks, cakes, pies, chocolate, ice cream, deserts, and others mentioned previously.
You are allowed to consume up to 10 teaspoons of added sugar in food, daily. A can of cola contains 7 tablespoons, and most fruit drinks contain about 10 tablespoons of soluble sugar.
A 2013 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages increases weight gain in both children and adults, while a review paper from the World Health Organization (WHO) notes an increase in the consumption of such beverages correlates with the increase in obesity.
Obesity is a primary cause of heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. The average American consumes about 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour per year and this would be the main cause of obesity and chronic diseases in US…
We must wean ourselves off from this addiction to sugars. It is said that sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine.
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