May

4

A recent video circulating on the internet on the biochemistry of fructose has had almost one million views already.  Why?  As seen on recent TV commercials, sugar is sugar, be it table sugar, (sucrose), or high fructose corn syrup. In a recent NYT article, it was stated that our countries excessive consumption of sugar may be the primary reason that the numbers of obese and diabetic Americans have skyrocketed in the past 30 years.  The article goes on to say that sugar may also be the likely dietary cause of several other chronic ailments widely considered to be diseases of our western lifestyles; heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers. Another report has found that the United States is the fattest of 33 countries studied. Seventy percent of Americans are overweight, expected to increase to 75 percent by 2020 and 86 percent by 2030! So “Death by sugar” is not an overstatement.

So is sugar toxic?  Well in a word, YES!  There is increasing belief that sugar is the primary factor causing not just obesity, but also chronic and lethal disease. There is also no longer any doubt that sugar is indeed toxic, and just a matter of time before it is accepted as causative of most cancer, in the same way that we know smoking and alcohol abuse is a direct cause of lung cancer and liver cirrhosis.

Fructose is the primary source of calories in the US. The issue is that fructose is so cheap it is used in virtually all processed foods.  It’s important to realize that “sugars” include other types of sweeteners too, such as corn-based sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, honey, agave and fruit. So in counting, you can’t just include table sugar.  It is recommended to limit total grams of fructose to below 25 per day, then it would not be an issue.  (Note that this is well below average intake).  Sugars are hidden everywhere.  It’s in your soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, most processed foods, even most infant formulas contain the sugar equivalent of one can of Coca-Cola!  Drastically reducing your sugar consumption is the “miracle cure” everyone is looking for!  Cutting out a few desserts will barely make a difference however if you’re eating a “standard American diet”.

Fructose elevates uric acid, decreases nitric oxide, raises angiotensin, and causes smooth muscle constriction, thus raising blood pressure and damaging your kidneys. Increased uric acid also leads to chronic, low-level inflammation, which can lead to obesity, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, kidney disease, gout and cancers, as well as being a major cause of dizziness, which as you are by now no doubt aware, is my specialty.  Uric acid levels have been shown to almost triple in this county over the last century. It remains my opinion as well as others, that this process is indeed correlative with coronary artery disease rather than the commonly accused culprit “cholesterol”, for which most Americans now take prophylactic daily doses of highly profitable drugs.  It has been estimated that simply preventing these diseases by decreasing sugar consumption could save the US health care system around one trillion dollars a year! Imagine the effect this would have on our deficit. Although not without flaw, a good start to improving your diet, is the Mediterranean diet. A good resource for this is through a website run by a patient of mine; www.italialiving.com.  Rather than yoyo dieting, this “method of eating” will teach you how and what to eat to preserve your health.