It’s an addiction that runs deep within our society, resulting in the astronomical rise of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity & fatty liver disease in children1. Yes, you read right, in CHILDREN! Why is it that diseases once reserved for adulthood are now being reported in unprecedented levels in children?
Aren’t these diseases the downstream effect of the rising obesity epidemic?
It would be easy to make this connection however there are few reasons that challenge this assumption:
- Iceland, Mongolia & Micronesia are obese yet not diabetic2,3
- India, Pakistan & China are diabetic without being obese2,3
- China a nation not fat yet has a 12% diabetic rate whereas the USA arguably the fattest nation has only a 9% diabetic prevalence3
- Obesity is increasing at a rate of 1% globally whereas diabetes is increasing at a rate of 4% globally. If diabetes was merely the downstream effect of obesity how can you explain its more rapid increase?
The study that proves sugar not obesity is the cause of these diseases
A group at UCSF studied 43 Latino and African American children with obesity and metabolic syndrome (the name to a subset of diseases – high blood pressure, high triglycerides & obesity) over a 10-day period. During the 10-day period, they catered their meals with NO ADDED SUGAR. They ate the same number of calories and protein and fat content as their home diet, as well as the same percentage of carbohydrates but they substituted the sugar for starch. If they began to lose weight, they were told to eat more. What’s interesting is the catered meals consisted of turkey hot dogs, baked potato chips & bagels still unhealthy processed food but without the added sugar. After the 10-day period the participants had their metabolic markers assessed. All the markers blood pressure, triglycerides, LDLs, insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance improved in just 10 days4.
Although the study was small the results are truly remarkable and demonstrate that sugar is the causative factor in metabolic syndrome irrespective of weight gain or calorie intake.
Sugar, it’s the devil we love
People bang on about sugar being natural, that sugar is a food. How is it that food can be toxic to us? Well to answer that question we need to take a few steps back. What is the definition of food? Webster’s Dictionary defines food as “material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair and vital processes, and to furnish energy”.5 Sugar furnishes energy so it is a food so to speak. However, there is also another energy source that the human body does not require yet is also highly addictive, that is ALCOHOL. It provides your body with calories yet it provides nada in the nutritional department. Alcohol is obviously not a FOOD and when consumed in excess it’s toxic.
The same goes for sugar. Fructose one of the chemical molecules that makes up sugar can be used as an energy source however provides no nutritional content, is highly addictive and no biochemical reactions in the body require it. In excess amounts, it destroys your liver in the same way alcohol does.
Sugar is just like alcohol, hence why we’re beginning to see diseases of alcohol – type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease in children without the alcohol but this can be turned around in just 10 days.
NATUROPATH | NUTRITIONIST | BIOMEDICAL SCIENCE