Sunday, January 15, 2012

La Vita e Dolce, Part Four: Preventing Illness

IV. How Does the Body React to a High Sugar Diet?

Do you experience any of the following? Infertility, pre-diabetes, mood swings, PCOS (ovarian cysts), heart disease, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gallstones, Type II diabetes, cavities, weight gain/obesity? Then you might be suffering from SOS (Sugar Overdose Syndrome aka The Bleep-on-a-Shingle Diet). Ask your doctor to prescribe eatcomplexcarbsanddrinkwater today! Get your sample by visiting and heading to the nearest farmers market or shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. Act now!

Will changing the way you eat and drink prevent and cure some of the following ailments? With the processed food, sweetened beverage, sugar and pharmaceutical industries exponentially outspending whole food marketing and political lobbying in our country, it can be difficult for an American to believe that simply making different dietary choices will fully restore good health. Also, because of genetic variables, we have a hard time seeing the cause-and-effect relationship of sugar addiction to our health problems. Why?
  1. Overeating sugar displays different symptoms throughout our population. For example, some leptin-resistant and insulin-resistant individuals are very thin rather than overweight. Naturopath Peter J. D'Adamo, N.D., author of “Eat Right 4 Your Type” says blood type is a factor. "There had to be a reason why there were so many paradoxes in dietary studies and disease survival, why some people lose weight and others do not on the same diet, or why some people keep their vitality as they age, and others do not.” In 1940, Dr. William Sheldon categorized three body types, called “somatotypes,” each of which metabolizes food differently. You may be one or a combination of these.
  2. Symptoms can take over 30 years to develop into a crisis. If there’s something in this list that you or someone you love struggles with, why not try the Sugarwise Ways and see if it helps? It did me.
Four weeks after cutting out refined grains, dairy and sweets, I had lost 15 pounds of post-partum weight that I thought I’d never lose. This was with minimal exercise, once a week. When I reintroduced these foods, much less frequently (once a day) and in small portions, also not eating after dinner most nights, the weight stayed off. I had finally stopped overloading my digestive system and my body was grateful.

What other health problems could a diet change prevent?

Lowered Immunity
“Excess sugar depresses immunity. Studies have shown that downing 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution (about 20 teaspoons of sugar, or the amount that is contained in two average 12-ounce sodas) can suppress the body's immune responses. Simple sugars, including glucose, table sugar, fructose, and honey caused a fifty- percent drop in the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacteria. In contrast, ingesting a complex carbohydrate solution (starch) did not lower the ability of these white blood cells to engulf bacteria. The immune suppression was most noticeable two hours post-ingestion, but the effect was still evident five hours after ingestion. This research has practical implications, especially for teens and college students who tend to overdose on sodas containing caffeine and sugar while studying for exams or during periods of stress. Stress also suppresses immunity, so these sugar-users are setting themselves up to get sick at a time when they need to be well.

The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system.” -- Dr. Sears, “Harmful Effects of Excess Sugar”

“Large quantities of sugar weaken the enzymes of essential fatty acid metabolism.” --Leo Galland, MD, Supperimmunity for Kids
Fungus/Yeast/Candida and Bacterial Infections
“Because the average American consumes 150 pounds of sugar per year, many people have learned the hard way that these dietary habits create a perfect environment for Candida albicans (the organism causing yeast overgrowth) to proliferate and grow out of control.” --

“Conventional medicine considers bacteria to be the root of the problem, and therefore directs the treatment to kill the bacteria with antibiotics...But, anyone who knows a little bit about microbiology is perfectly aware that in order for the bacteria to grow, a very strict set of conditions must be met. Each bacteria requires a certain temperature, moisture, and sugar content for it to survive and multiply...In other words, children get ear infections because their bodies provide a 'nourishing' environment for the bacteria...At this point, the real question is, "How do our children become 'bacteria-friendly' media?"...Bacteria feed on sugar and if you remove it from a microbiological media, bacteria simply won't be able grow. By the same logic: reduce the sugar load on the human body, and bacteria will have harder time infecting it.” -- Eugene Bubis, ND, Naturopathic Medicine Network, “Why do our children get chronic ear infections?”
“Look in the mirror. If you’re overweight you definitely are leptin-resistant. If you still have a large appetite and crave carbohydrates, especially at night, these are also signs that you are likely leptin-resistant. If you are fit or in decent shape and not sure based upon the above symptoms, I would tell you to go get a blood test and check your reverse T3. It will be elevated. I also recommend simultaneously checking a salivary cortisol level. With leptin-resistance, you will always see higher cortisol levels later in the day.”

“Once Leptin resistance occurs centrally in the brain, the liver soon follows and then the peripheral tissues become resistant too. This affects fecundity [fertility], bone metabolism, cardiac metabolism, the thyroid, and the immune system in that order. Here is a technical explanation of what Dr. Kruse calls the “Hormone Cascade.”
Female Reproductive Health (PCOS/Infertility)
“Leptin also controls the ability of women to get pregnant. That is called “fecundity.” If a women is leptin-resistant she will have a lot of difficulty getting pregnant. We see this in PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), in anorexia, or over training.” -- Dr. Jack Kruse
Metabolic Syndrome aka “Fatty Liver” (hypertension, insulin resistance, obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol)
Earlier when you saw sugar intake guidelines from the American Heart Association, did it give you pause? “Heart association? Too much sugar doesn’t give you a heart attack, it gives you diabetes, right?”
“Not everyone with insulin resistance becomes diabetic; some continue to secrete enough insulin to overcome their cells’ resistance to the hormone. But having chronically elevated insulin levels has harmful effects of its own — heart disease, for one. A result is higher triglyceride levels and blood pressure, lower levels of HDL cholesterol [“good cholesterol”], further worsening the insulin resistance — this is metabolic syndrome.” -- Gary Taubes, “Is Sugar Toxic?” The New York Times
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimate that some 75 million Americans have metabolic syndrome. For those who have heart attacks, metabolic syndrome will very likely be the reason.” -- Gary Taubes

“When we are leptin-resistant the end result is to package calories to fat in some form of LDL’s [cholesterol]. That delivery has to leave the liver because there is a physical limit to how much fat can stay in the liver. If this process of LDL construction is chronic and overwhelms the liver, fat builds up inside the liver cell and causes... inflammatory chemicals that insidiously kill cells and are at the heart of all chronic diseases you know of. This process is called development of fatty liver or metabolic syndrome. If the liver continues to be clogged with fat it physically grows and your waist size grows with it...but the growth of your waist size is a very late development in your disease process. If your waist is large, you have been asking your liver work like mad to store this excess fuel for a long time. The end result for the patient is a sign of feeling of chronic fatigue.” - Dr. Jack Kruse
“So the [leptin-resistant] brain is blind to energy status. So it shuts off the thyroid to survive until it does know what is up. Shutting off the thyroid stops conversion of T4 to T3 and the remainder shunts to rT3. This keeps the thyroid and muscles on lock down from burning any fat no matter what. It does this as a protective mechanism. This is actually why leptin evolved. It really was protective. Today we see the other end most commonly in obesity. Where high levels of leptin shut signaling down.” - Dr. Jack Kruse
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published "Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” which reported that 72% of men, 64% of women, and 39% of children are overweight or obese in our country. Compare that to 1975, when the obesity rate in America had reached 15%. It has more than doubled.

Remember: extra glucose and all fructose are stored, and then -- when our stores are full -- they become fat. As Dr. Lustig says, “a high sugar diet is a high fat diet.”

Insulin Resistance, Pre-Diabetes, Type II Diabetes
Researchers estimate that 90 percent of type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented through a combination of a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.
“Type 2 diabetes and the conditions that precede it, including obesity and prediabetes, represent the greatest epidemic we are facing in the 21st century,” says David M. Nathan, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard and director of the Diabetes Center at Masachusetts General Hospital. Unlike a generation ago, Type 2 diabetes isn’t just stalking overweight thirty-somethings. Type 2 diabetes used to be called “adult onset diabetes,” and nearly all of its victims were older than 30. Now, type 2 affects children as young as 4, and the American Diabetes Association says it is approaching catastrophic proportions in teens.” -- Jim Thornton, “The House That Snacks Built” Best Life Magazine
In 2007, diabetes cost the United States $174 billion. Indirect costs, including disability payments, time lost from work, and reduced productivity, totaled $58 billion. Direct medical costs for diabetes care, including hospitalizations, medical care, and treatment supplies, totaled $116 billion. -- National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC)

35% of adults have pre-diabetes (aka “impaired fasting glucose (IFG)” or “impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)”, meaning blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. Pre-diabetes is becoming more common in the United States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that at least 57 million U.S. adults ages 20 or older had pre-diabetes in 2007. Those with pre-diabetes are likely to develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years, unless they take steps to prevent or delay diabetes. -- NDIC
“The good news is that people with prediabetes can do a lot to prevent or delay diabetes. Studies have clearly shown that people can lower their risk of developing diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of their body weight through diet and increased physical activity. A major study of more than 3,000 people with IGT found that diet and exercise resulting in a 5 to 7 percent weight loss—about 10 to 14 pounds in a person who weighs 200 pounds— lowered the incidence of type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent. Study participants lost weight by cutting fat and calories in their diet and by exercising—most chose walking—at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.” -- NDIC
Insulin-resistance describes the gradual deafening of your cells to insulin’s increasingly loud message, as your pancreas pumps out higher and higher amounts of insulin in response to high glucose levels. When the pancreas can no longer keep up with the demand, it gives in to what diabetologists call “pancreatic exhaustion.” Without insulin to tell your body to use and store glucose, blood sugar builds up to dangerous levels in the body. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop gradually. Their onset is not as sudden as in type 1 diabetes. Symptoms may include fatigue, frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, and slow healing of wounds or sores. Some people have no symptoms. -- NDIC

Pre-disposing Our Babies to Sugar Addiction
Dr. Lustig asserts that the more sugar a pregnant woman drinks, the more that developmentally programs the unborn child for adiposity (becoming fat). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predict that at least one in three American children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes at some point in his/her lifetime.

Even if the mother is not part of the 5-10% of U.S. women that develop gestational diabetes -- which is when the pancreas produces insulin but pregnancy hormones somehow block insulin from lowering the mother’s blood sugar levels -- she may still have high glucose levels in the blood if she is somewhere on the road to pre-diabetes because of excessive sugar intake.

The mother’s high blood glucose gives the baby high blood glucose levels, requiring the baby’s developing pancreas to make extra insulin to process the glucose. Since the baby is getting more energy than it needs to grow and develop, just like an adult, the extra glucose is stored as fat. This can lead to macrosomia (a “fat” baby), who may face health problems such as damage to the shoulders during birth and higher risk for breathing problems.

Because of extra insulin made by the baby’s pancreas, newborns may have very low blood glucose levels at birth. Now consider that 25% of newborns are never breastfed (whereby Dr. Kruse says they would get their first dose of leptin), and that most American infants eat a diet high in refined grains (cereal, bread, snacks) and sugary drinks. And the vicious cycle  (low blood sugar, sugar cravings, sugar overdose...) has begun.
“Babies with excess insulin become children who are at risk for obesity and, later, adults who are at risk for Pre- and Type 2 Diabetes.” -- Insulite Laboratories, “Excess Weight, Obesity, and Gestational Diabetes”
“Eating too much sugar dehydrates your body in two ways:
  1. Dilution: When you eat too much sugar, your body has to dilute that sugar to keep it from harming your body. This means that water is being pulled from all parts of your body to balance the large amount of sugar in your blood stream.
  2. Urination: One of the ways that your body has of getting rid of excess sugar is to dump it in your urine. This is especially true of diabetics, who have to go to the bathroom a lot.” -- Dr. Scott Olson, ND (
“Elevated insulin plays an important role in osteoporosis. Insulin promotes the excretion of calcium in the urine. Much more importantly, if insulin is elevated and leptin resistance is telling your brain that you mustn’t burn fat, then you have no choice but to burn sugar or foods that turn to sugar for fuel. Since we store very little sugar, you will crave it, and if you do not constantly eat it (such as when you are sleeping), then your body must break down lean mass, including muscle and bone, to supply its fuel needs.” - Dr. Ron Rosedale
Tooth Decay
According to the Animated Teeth website, sucrose causes tooth decay by forming a sticky plaque that feeds Streptococcus mutans bacteria, which then produce lactic acid that eats away at the calcium in teeth.

“A recent article in the British Medical Journal, entitled The Sweet Road to Gallstones, reported that refined sugar may be one of the major dietary risk factors in gallstone disease. Gallstones are composed of fats and calcium. Sugar can upset all of the minerals, and one of the minerals, calcium, can become toxic or nonfunctioning, depositing itself anywhere in the body, including the gallbladder.” -- Macrobiotic Guide

Colon Cancer
“In particular, individuals with high sucrose or sugar intakes (proportional to energy intake) tend to have lower intakes of  a number of foods or dietary constituents which have probable or possible protective roles in colorectal cancer.  These include vegetables, fruits, cereals, fibre, folate, carotenoids and other antioxidants. Associations observed between sucrose intake and colorectal cancer could therefore, at least partly, be accounted for by low intake of such protective dietary constituents. . . . On balance, the panel judged the evidence to show a possible causal relationship between refined sugars and colorectal cancer.” -- World Cancer Research Fund, “Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective”
Read V. Sugarwise Ways for ideas on good eating without sugar overdoses, and for the series' list of resources

Revisit III. Does HOW You Eat Your Sugar Make a Difference? to explore the science behind sugar overdoses
Revisit II. Is Sugar by Any Other Name (like “HFCS”) The Same Thing? to identify sugar in all its forms
Revisit I. How Much Sugar is Too Much? to quantify a moderate amount of added sugar

1 comment:

  1. Angela..........what an impressive amount of research and information! Love the reference to Uncle Tommy :)
    Thanks for all this. I am guilty maybe of hidden sugars, not overtly so, however, but willing to try to remove it further.