By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer
Why blame sugar, a food so sweet that provides energy for survival? Debate goes on regarding the causes of heart disease. One of the suspects under constant scrutiny is sugar. Sugar has been blamed for various forms of heart disease both directly and indirectly. With proper background knowledge and by making smart choices, anyone can take measures to avoid any potential heart disease-related conditions associated with sugar.
There are varieties of sugars; simple sugars refer to mono and disaccharides. Then there the complex carbohydrates referred to as polysaccharides, starch being the commonest we are familiar with. Common disaccharides are sucrose found in sugar cane, sugar beets, honey and corn syrup. All sugars whether simple or complex are broken down to glucose before absorption into the portal blood stream that feeds the liver.
Kimber Stanhope, a nutritional biologist at the University of California…. She's in the middle of a ground-breaking, five-year study which has already shown strong evidence linking excess high fructose corn syrup consumption to an increase in risk factors for heart disease and stroke. That suggests calories from added sugars are different than calories from other foods.
She claims that healthy young people, drinking a sweetened drink might be just as bad for their hearts as the fatty cheeseburgers we've all been warned about since the 1970s. That's when a government commission mandated that we lower fat consumption to try and reduce heart disease.
Reducing the fat in American diet, it was replaced by adding sugars to compensate for the energy requirements.
Reducing fat has increased heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Now number of death is skyrocketing.
Kimber Stanhope's study suggests that when a person consumes too much sweet stuff, the liver gets overloaded with fructose and converts some of it into fat. Some of that fat ends up in the bloodstream and helps generate a dangerous kind of cholesterol called small dense LDL. These particles are known to lodge in blood Fructose in fruits:
According to Dr Lustig's theory we used to get our fructose mostly in small amounts of fruit, which comes loaded with fibre that slows absorption and consumption, after all, who can eat 10 oranges at a time? But as sugar and high fructose corn syrup became cheaper to refine and produce, we started gorging on them. Americans now consume 130 pounds per person a year – that's a third of a pound every day.
Insulin secreted in the pancreas can cause various effects in the tissues and a particular concern is cancer. Nearly a third of some common cancers — including breast and colon cancers – has something called insulin receptors on their surface.
Insulin binds to these receptors and signals the tumour to start consuming glucose.
When we eat or drink sugar, it causes a sudden spike in the hormone insulin, which can serve as a catalyst to fuel certain types of cancers.
Every cell in our body needs glucose to survive. But the trouble is, these cancer cells also use it to grow. Cancer cells seems to hijack the sugar circulating in the blood, and even depriving sugars still cancer cells will attract glucose due to the inherent insulin receptors.
Naturopaths apply this theory into clinical practice by injecting insulin into the body frequently to diminish the glucose levels in cancer patients. I met one who gets casually such irrational therapy in Bangkok.
What is observed in research laboratories on animal experiments may not be clinically applicable to human beings who suffer from cancer.
Does eating sugar cause diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes occurs when blood levels of glucose, or blood sugar, become chronically elevated. Consuming sugar makes blood sugar levels rise, so it seems logical that eating candy, cakes, and cookies would cause diabetes. But it doesn't—at least not directly.
In recent years, many experts (though not all) have pointed their fingers at diets with a high Glycemic Index (GI) as a main culprit behind the obesity epidemic as well as an epidemic of insulin resistance, a core problem in type 2 diabetes.
The GI is a measure of how much the carbohydrate in a food raises blood sugar. When you eat foods that cause a steep rise in blood sugar, your body churns out of lot of insulin to "process" that blood sugar and get it out of the bloodstream and into cells. Over time, repeated floods of insulin make the body less sensitive to the hormone, leading to a condition called insulin resistance – and so the path to diabetes begins.
It has been shown that excess sugar consumption including high GI foods may be responsible for high incidence of diabetes, cancer and heart disease, among others.
Living on low Glycemic (GI) carbs, unprocessed and whole meal products and daily exercise, is advised.
Copyright © 2000 ~ 2016 Ozlanka®.
Ozlanka is not responsible for the contents of this article or for any external internet sites that may be linked through this website.
The views expressed above are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or concepts of the webmaster or the owners & operators of Ozlanka.
Ozlanka and Auslanka are registered trademarks