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  Triglyceride Lowering Diet: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You

Over 30 percent of Americans say they eat on-the-go several times a week, and just 9 percent make an effort to choose foods which are nutritious (a 2002 survey).
"Recent [2011] estimates show 49 million Americans make food decisions based on cost." ~ Hilary Seligman, assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Speak to Andrew Mierzejewski, Registered Holistic Nutritionist on Lowering High Triglycerides Naturally

In medicine, hypertriglyceridemia denotes high (hyper-) blood levels (-emia) of triglycerides. As a part of lipid management, it has become a major medical problem.

This website is intended to allow you to become an informed patient who can manage your own care, ask the right questions, insist on adequate management and information, and seek an optimal outcome for yourself. Perhaps it will even help the health professionals who are giving care to better understand and, hopefully, incorporate into their practice the nutritional approach to high blood triglycerides.

Please note that this website is not intended for “most people”. It is written for those who want to stand out in self-health care. If you are such a person, we strongly advise that you give serious thought to all of the suggestions about how to improve you blood lipid profile, triglycerides in particular. If you are tempted to think the suggestions are too complicated or simplistic, or even biased, we assure you they are not.

No miracle cure is needed to reduce triglycerides. Unlike lowering cholesterol - 80 percent of cholesterol is manufactured by the body - for most people, lowering blood triglycerides is as simple as

  • cutting back on sweets and
  • getting off the couch.

Excessive sugar intake is no longer about expanding waistlines and tooth decay only. It is a common way to boost blood triglyceride levels.

So it comes back to that old litany - a healthful lifestyle consisting of a good balance of:

  • dietary low-sugar intake
  • exercise to maintain an optimal body weight
  • no smoking, and
  • moderation of alcohol intake.

It is the same standard treatment recommended at doctor's office for individuals with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and other health concerns.

However, the majority of people still remain confused about the most effective way to normalize blood lipid levels.

As a matter of fact, we can't seem to adapt ourselves to all those "dietary and lifestyle plans" for the long haul. We all seem to wait for the Holy Grail of diet and lifestyle to be found.

Definitely, when it comes to triglycerides, foods have a direct impact on their blood levels. What we eat does affect our serum lipids.

We don't need new triglyceride-lowering drugs. For the majority of people, the first line of any treatment for high triglycerides should be a change in diet and, eventually, in lifestyle.

But deciding which "diet" to choose is not an easy task, especially for those who have little time for meals.

Since triglycerides are circulating forms of fat in the blood, you might think that

  • a high-fat diet will raise your triglycerides and
  • a low-fat diet would lower your triglycerides.

This belief turned out not to be true. According to the recent evidence, the most important dietary predictor of triglycerides appears to be carbohydrates, namely,

  • sugars
  • starches and
  • refined (processed) grains.

In other words, what leads to increase in blood triglycerides are mainly diets high in carbohydrates, especially sugar (American Association for Clinical Chemistry).

In fact, the effects of high carbohydrate diet on the triglyceride synthesis by the liver - the major source of blood triglycerides exclusive of chylomicrons - have been known for a long time (J Clin Invest. 1968 April; 47 (4): 712–719).

Triglycerides-Lowering Diet: Recommended Daily Sugar Intake Triglyceride Levels: Current Guidelines

I. Basic Eating Plan for High Triglycerides

The amount of food you should be eating is about the size of your fist per meal.
Within the diet itself, sugar and alcohol have the greatest influence on triglycerides. Therefore, when it comes to lowering your blood triglycerides, you should:


    High Triglycerides: Sugars Increase Triglyceride Levels ALL sugars (added and natural) such as:

    • concentrated sweets: table sugar (sucrose), cane sugar, brown sugar, Turbinado sugar, Demerara sugar, powdered sugar, honey, syrups (especially high fructose corn syrup as a substitute sweetener for sucrose-table sugar added to fruit juices, sodas, and other beverages), preserves, molasses, jams, jellies, and candies
    • desserts-baked goods: pies, cakes, cookies, crackers, frosting, pastries, doughnuts, ice cream, frozen yogurt, and regular or sweetened gelatin
    • beverages: fruit juices, fruit drinks, fruit punches, regular sodas, carbonated pop, colas, aid drinks, smoothies, sports drinks, sweetened coffee drinks, mocha, and chocolate drinks
    • Triglyceride Reducing Diet: Avoid high-fructose fruit - dates, raisins, figs, prunes, grapes, pears, cherries, apples, persimmons, blueberries, bananas, kiwi fruit, watermelon, plums, honeydew melon, grapefruit, orange and pineapple high-fructose, sweet fruits (both fresh or dried): especially dates, raisins, figs, prunes, grapes (red and green), pears, cherries, apples, persimmons, blueberries, bananas, kiwi fruits, watermelons, plums, honeydew melons, grapefruits, oranges and pineapples
    • other foods: sweetened cereals, flavored yogurts, and sports or energy bars

    ew window: Triglycerides Lowering Diet - Avoid or Limit Alcohol Alcohol such as

    • New window: Triglycerides Lowering Diet - Avoid or Limit Beer beer
    • New window: Triglycerides Lowering Diet - Avoid or Limit Wine wine
    • hard liquor
    • liqueurs (usually sweetened alcoholic liquors) and cordials

    PLEASE NOTE: A reduction of alcohol intake is crucial in keeping triglycerides in check - just one drink can increase triglycerides in susceptible people. If you have elevated triglycerides and consume alcohol - a reduced intake or not drinking alcohol at all is strongly advised.


  • Triglyceride reducing diet: Limit low-fructose fruit: apricot, nectarines, peaches, cantaloupe, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries low-fructose fruits, such as apricots, nectarines, peaches, cantaloupes, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries
  • New window: Commercially Raised Beef - The Dangers Posed to Our Health commercially raised red meat, especially fried, charbroiled and barbecued, and changing it to broiled or roasted poultry (turkey, chicken), preferably free-range.


  • more dark green leafy and cruciferous vegetables.

By all means, this is NOT another deprivation diet! Although the food "restrictions" advised to help you lower triglycerides may seem hard, it is heartening to realize you can achieve astonishing results without the risky drugs most conventional doctors recommend - if you put your mind to it.

However, after your triglyceride level goes back to normal, you should follow a modified sugar and alcohol diet for the rest of your life.

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II. Advanced Eating Plan for High Triglycerides

The amount of food you should be eating is about the size of your fist per meal.
It is necessary to change your food habits and preferences by paying more attention to the type, amount, and quality of the foods you eat.

Re-educating your taste buds and re-programming your dietary patterns is not actually hard to do - if you do it right. One good way to do that - although this may require some preplanning - is to make

  • your new food preferences delicious, and
  • the experience fun.

Here are the optimal dietary guidelines that you should give serious consideration. At first, they seem hard to follow. However, you do not have to make yourself a social outcast with most of your family and friends, by following all recommendations to the letter.

    AVOID (as much as possible):

    • High Triglycerides: Sugars Increase Triglyceride Levels Sugar in ALL forms (added and natural) - once again, limiting sugars is CRITICAL to lipid health
    • New window: High Blood Triglycerides - Trans Fats Increase Triglyceride Levels Trans fatty acids (all fried foods and margarine, and many other "trans-fat" foods)
    • Artificial sweeteners, also called sugar substitutes, such as aspartame * (NutraSweet or Equal) and sucralose ** (Splenda) - stimulate the appetite and lead to sugar cravings or addictions
    • MSG - artificial chemical (it may not be listed in ingredients) - for general health
    • All artificial preservatives and chemicals, if possible - for general health

Nutritional Triglycerides Reduction: Lowering High Triglycerides With Diet Continue reading this article...

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Our Cookbook: "The Low-Grain, Low-Added Sugar Delight"

There is no question that healthier food choices will work for you. However, following any dietary recommendations is a challenge.

Most probably, you don't have the time to:

  • go to a library or a bookstore and pick up a few cookbooks, so you could start the program, or
  • compile the recipes (if any) to implement the food recommendations.

Therefore, as a result, you may not be able to successfully carry out recommended dietary changes.

However, if you really want to eat right for high triglycerides, here's great news... The ANSWER to your question: "What am I going to eat?"

Nutritional Triglycerides Reduction: Low-Grain, Low-Sugar Cookbook Continue reading this article...

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What About Eating Fish: The Beneficial Omega-3 Oils

Fish, especially fatty fish, such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and wild Pacific salmon, are the main predominant source of omega-3 oils - the essential fatty acids, so named because without them we die.

More recent research has established that the most beneficial and active of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are

  • DHA - short for docosahexaenoic (DOE-coe-suh-hex-uh-noy-ick) acid, and
  • EPA - short for eicosapentaenoic (EE-coe-suh-pent-uh-noy-ick) acid.

Unfortunately, it is estimated that over 85 per cent of people in the Western world are... deficient in beneficial omega-3 oils.

Nutritional Triglycerides Reduction: The Risks of Fish Contamination Continue reading this article...

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Why No Sugar and Alcohol?

If you strictly follow a sugar-free, alcohol-free diet, a significant drop in your blood triglyceride level should occur in four (4) to six (6) weeks.
Sugar is harmful to human health! Unfortunately, many people are actually addicted to sugar, and this includes grains, which are rapidly broken down into sugar in your body.

In order to free yourself of the physical addiction, complete avoidance of all sugar and grains is necessary. Complete abstinence resolves the biochemical addiction, however, it will be very important to eat every two hours during this transition to avoid symptoms of hypoglycemia - a "catch-22" disease where insulin over-counteracts high blood sugar/blood glucose levels, leading to low blood sugar/blood glucose, leading to a craving for… more sugar.

If you do not eat every 2-3 hours your blood sugar may "crash" and you'll feel horrible. This is usually necessary for several days to several weeks.

Both sugar and alcohol are a source of excess calories which are being turned into fat - usually, triglycerides, so the fat levels in your blood go up. But that’s only part of the story.

Researchers have found that apart from adding calories to the diet, alcohol significantly reduces the body’s ability to burn fat and increases the body’s tendency to store fat.

According to a Swiss study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, booze in the bloodstream can slow down fat metabolism more than 30 percent. Plus, alcohol drinkers don’t just drink alcohol – usually, they have it with chips or peanuts.

When alcohol (ethanol) is present in the blood, the liver prioritizes removing alcohol from the blood over other metabolic processes.

The liver can detoxify about one ounce of alcohol (distilled spirits) per hour, which is about 1 serving of an alcoholic beverage (equivalent to 12 ounces of beer or 4 ounces of wine). In the meantime, however, glucose tends to be further processed into triglycerides which raises their blood levels (some drinks may contain fruit, syrups, or other additives that increase their carbohydrate count, thus, triglyceride levels).

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Alcohol Is Worse Than Sugar!

Even light drinking (two to four ounces of wine a week) can raise blood triglycerides, even greater than sugar.

Although there are many health experts that feel drinking alcohol is fine in moderation, this hypothesis needs to be verified and thoroughly tested.

Alcohol has a very narrow therapeutic window and too much leads to hypertension and stroke, damages the liver, having an adverse overall effect.

The alcohol itself is actually a neurotoxin having many directly negative neurological complications. In other words, it can poison your brain.

Additionally, alcohol has the strong potential to seriously disrupt your delicate hormone balance. Therefore, drinking alcohol, especially hard liquor, liqueurs and beer, shouldn't even be an issue.

Alcohol reduces the amount of the enzyme that breaks down triglycerides and spurs the liver to make more triglycerides.

Some people have increased susceptibility to developing raised triglycerides in response to alcohol. So if you do not require insulin, or are not diabetic, and consume alcohol regularly, you may be able to lower your elevated triglycerides just by avoiding alcohol.

By taxing the liver and reducing the ability to detoxify blood, alcohol causes more harm to blood vessels. When the liver is busy processing alcohol, it is less able to process cholesterol. As a result, LDL-"bad" cholesterol levels go up.

In addition, alcohol will potentiate the toxicity of cholesterol-lowering medications much more than the drugs would do alone. Actually, this is the major problem with the statins.

By drinking alcohol daily, you may increase your chances of serious statin side effects, especially liver problems. Therefore, to protect your liver, you should go easy on alcohol or avoid it completely while taking a statin.

It brings up two general misconceptions about beer drinking:

  • First, that beer is harmless, because it is only 5 percent alcohol, compared to 40 percent for hard liquor, such as whiskey.

Not quite so. Keep in mind, there is more alcohol (0.6 ounce) in a 12-ounce bottle of beer than in a 1.5-ounce shot of whiskey (0.5 ounce of alcohol). Additionally, regular beer contains both alcohol and carbohydrates.

  • Second misconception states that consuming the beer over a long period of time will have little effect on your sobriety.

Not so. It takes hours for the body to eliminate even small amounts of alcohol. So, if you are a six-pack-a-day person - an equivalent to a 30-ounce bottle of wine (12% alcohol) - by the time you pop the last can at the end of the day, your blood alcohol level may be dangerously high.

However, you must consider the calories added to the diet by regular alcohol use. For example, in one study, half a bottle of white wine (39 g ethyl alcohol) consumed daily for 42 days represented the equivalent of 3 lbs. of additional weight over 6 weeks, or approximately 27 lbs per year! (Lancet. 1983; ii: 819-82).

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What About Red Wine?

Reduce Drinking Red Wine Good or Bad
Research has indicated that moderate intake of red wine can be beneficial to the heart health. The cardioprotective effect has been attributed to antioxidants present in the skin and seeds of red grapes.

It is believed the antioxidants, called flavonoids, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in three ways by:

  • reducing production of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (also know as the "bad" cholesterol)
  • boosting high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol), and
  • reducing blood clotting.

It has been well documented that moderate amounts of alcohol can raise HDL-"good" cholesterol and thin the blood. This is thought to be one of the primary cardiovascular benefits from wine (red and white). Therefore, consuming one drink (defined as a 5-ounce a glass of wine) along with a meal may favorably influence your blood lipid profiles following that meal. But if you drink more than that, the possible health benefits will be lost and your health risks will go up. What matters with wine is the amount of wine you have.

Which wines should you consume to reap the most benefits?
Researchers at the University of California, at Davis have found the highest concentrations of flavonoids in Cabernet Sauvignon, followed closely by Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir.

White wine had significantly smaller amounts than the red wine varieties. The bottom line is the sweeter the wine, the fewer the flavonoids.

Dryer red wines are your best bet for a flavonoid boost.

Recommendations to consume moderate amounts of wine are limited only to individuals with a clean bill of health.
How much red wine should I drink?
A four-ounce glass of wine is equivalent to one serving of liquor. Men may benefit from consuming one to two servings every other day. Women may benefit from one serving every other day.

This is not to say that you should start drinking alcohol if you presently do not!

However, for some people, 1 drink may be plenty, 2 may be too many, and, unfortunately, 3 may be not half enough. (There are people who over-indulge on red wine having a half to full bottle a day!).

If you cannot restrict, for whatever reason, your drinking to light to moderate levels, you should not have alcohol at all.

Is wine good for you? Yes, but in moderation and as part of an overall healthy diet only. And these recommendations are limited to individuals with a clean bill of health. It is also clear that people with health problems, medical and social conditions worsened by alcohol should not consume any alcohol at all.

Hypertriglyceridemia (high blood triglyceride levels), pancreatitis, liver disease, diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, depression and congestive heart failure (CHF), or heart failure, are diseases that are worsened by alcohol.

However, if you insist on drinking red wine you also need to check on the growing conditions of the grapes and how the wine is made.

The wine should be made with organic grapes - free of toxic agricultural chemicals, synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers.

If it is NOT made from organically grown grapes - and with as little sulfur, synthetic stabilizers, colorings, etc. as possible - the wine may have few, if any, health benefits.

For example, it may contain little antioxidants and/or no resveratrol at all. (Resveratrol is a prostate cancer-fighting compound found in red grapes from which red wine is being made).

You also need to be aware that consuming large amounts of red wine or just grapes - which have a much lower concentration of antioxidants than wine - will increase your insulin levels and eventually have a negative impact on your lipid health due to their high fructose (sugar) content.

However, the debate continues on whether it is the components of the wine, the way the wine is consumed, or the lifestyle traits that is the most responsible for the healthy lives of many wine drinkers.

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What About Resveratrol?

Reduce Drinking Red Wine Good or Bad
Resveratrol (pronounced rez-VER-a-trawl), first isolated in 1940, has since been found in various plants, including grapes. Extensive research from all over the globe suggests that this red wine constituent has many properties, including potential anti-cancer and anti-aging activity.

Resveratrol (trans-3,5,4'-trihydroxystilbene) is a protective compound produced by grapes and other plants in response to environmental stress. Studies have shown that it has potent antioxidant activity and the ability to inhibit platelet aggregation producing potent anti-thrombotic agents. These actions may help prevent free radical damage throughout the body and provide protective support to the cardiovascular system. Red wine also contains tannins, substances that act as antioxidants, which mop up free radicals - particles harmful to cells.

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation about resveratrol, so you need to keep the following in mind when reviewing articles and marketing information about related products.

Red wine is a rich source of resveratrol. On average, there is 1.5 to 3 milligrams of resveratrol per liter (a liter is almost 34 ounces). For this reason, many sources reference resveratrol as "red wine polyphenols," "red-wine extract," etc. Actually, some studies focused on its health benefits used much greater dosages of resveratrol than the dosages actually found in an average glass of wine.

As resveratrol is found in the skins of grapes, red wine provides several times more resveratrol than white wine. That is because the longer the skin is kept on the grape during the wine making process, the greater the concentration of resveratrol in the wine. In the case of white wine production, the skin is removed before fermentation, giving white wines a lower concentration in resveratrol compared to red wines.

Also, as resveratrol is produced within the grape skin in response to attack by specific molds, grapes and wine produced in moist, northern climates (where these fungi are more prevalent) yield more resveratrol.

Resveratrol is vulnerable to rapid destruction by light and oxygen. Although storing wine in airtight, cool conditions away from sunlight protects its resveratrol content, the maximum resveratrol potency is available only immediately after a bottle of wine is opened.

Unfortunately, making wine also involves the potential damage from alcohol and preservatives; therefore, many people prefer a dietary supplement source for resveratrol.

Consequently, instead of drinking a 5-ounce a glass of red wine a few times a week, you can take a quality resveratrol supplement a few times a week. Mind you, there is only 1.5 to 3 milligrams of resveratrol per liter of red wine (a liter is almost 34 ounces, that is almost seven drinks).

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Bad Health News About Wine (Research)

Although there are many studies telling us all how great wine is for our health, for the first time in a long while, there's news that drinking too much wine may not be the best thing for you. Apparently wine, just like beer, tends to raise blood pressure on the whole.

Both beer and red wine raise blood pressure
It's well known that alcohol can raise blood pressure, but it's been unclear if different types of alcohol have the same effect, say researchers.

The researchers wanted to see if the antioxidant chemicals in red winered wine could offset some of the blood pressure effects of alcohol. So they compared it with beer.

They divided 24 healthy men into four different groups for four weeks:

  • Some men drank no wine or beer and served as a comparison group
  • Some men drank 13 ounces of red wine daily
  • Some men drank 13 ounces of red wine with the alcohol removed to see if the alcohol accounted for any blood pressure effect
  • Some men drank 38 ounces of beer daily (just over three beers)

The men made no other changes in their lifestyle other than limiting tea to less than 2 cups a day (since tea can also raise blood pressure) and avoiding antioxidants (to avoid any potential effect on blood vessels).

The men wore blood pressure and heart rate monitors 24 hours a day.

Blood pressure and heart rate climb
Compared with the men who did not drink any alcohol, the red wine drinkers had a nearly a 2.5 point jump in their systolic blood pressure. Beer drinkers' blood pressure rose nearly two points.

Systolic blood pressure is the top number of a blood pressure reading. It measures the pressure in blood vessels when the heart pumps.

While this doesn't sound like much, even a few points can make a difference in people who have borderline or high blood pressure. Ideally, blood pressure should be less than 120/80. Blood pressure between 120/80 and 140/90 is called prehypertension.prehypertension.

Heart rate also rose. The researchers tested heart rate during sleep to rule out any effect of activity. Red wine drinkers' heart rate climbed five points for eight to 10 hours after drinking. Beer drinkers' heart rate rose four points.

Removing alcohol from the red wine did not lower the blood pressure.

The researchers say that the blood pressure effects of red wine and beer appear to be similar.

Since the men in the study did not have high blood pressure, it's unclear how these findings apply to people who do.

    SOURCE: Zilkens, R. Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, May 2005; vol 45: pp 1-6.

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High-Fructose Corn Syrup

If you are a "popaholic," or if you are in the habit of drinking soft drinks, you jeopardize your health.
Although it is possible to stay close to a diet free of simple carbohydrates, high-fructose corn syrup, and refined sugars - most of us slip a little here and there.

We go out for an ice cream on a summer evening. We order something in a restaurant that we're pretty sure is high in sugar. Or someone offers us a soft drink and we accept.

By and large, a dietary slip now and then won't hurt most of us. The problem comes when a transgression from a healthy diet turns into daily transgressions.

These days it's hard to avoid fructose because it's used as a sweetener in a wide variety of processed foods, especially in sodas and other types of soft drinks.

However, a new study in a recent issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (2004:Vol. 89, No. 6) reveals how even moderate consumption of soft drinks causes “a rapid and prolonged elevation of plasma (blood) triglycerides,” also having a profound impact on hormonal balance, hunger, calorie intake, obesity and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

A soda every now and then that turns into a 7-Eleven's 32-ounce Big Gulp every day or a soda every few hours, is a trend no one can afford to follow.

And even if you're not in the habit of drinking soft drinks, check the labels of other foods you eat daily to make sure you're not getting a hidden intake of fructose.

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What About Glycerine (Glycerol)?

A molecule of triglyceride composed of a backbone of the alcohol glycerol to which three fatty acids (tri) are bound. Definition of courtesy of  Full of Health Inc. - a formulator of Triglyceride Reduction TGs Formula
Glycerol, also known as glycerine, is a trihydric alcohol - the backbone of triglycerides in the body. It is the main source of carbohydrates in such popular foods as protein bars. Since glycerol is very good at drawing moisture, it is used in bars to help keep them soft and moist. It also helps sweeten the protein bar.

Although many companies do not list this as a source of carbohydrates, the FDA defines it as a carbohydrate. Glycerol has a very low glycemic index so it does not impact blood sugar levels greatly.

Interestingly enough, there are ergogenic, athletic performance enhancing benefits associated with ingesting glycerol such as

  • increasing the amount of water retained in the body and
  • enhancing hydration (maybe even enhancing vascularity).

However, in some people, protein bars loaded with glycerol may cause stomach discomfort so unless you want to hit the porcelain throne throughout the day, drink plenty of water with these protein bars.

Other, much less desirable carbohydrate sources in protein bars include corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup (dextrose), rice syrup, maltitol, honey (invert sugar), turbinado sugar, sucrose (which is a combination of glucose and fructose), crisp rice, and fructose.

Fructose (fruit sugar) is added to bars not only to provide a source of carbohydrates but also to sweeten the product as it has a very sweet taste. Fructose is mainly metabolized in the liver and therefore has a lower glycemic index.

However, consumption of high amounts of fructose can lower metabolic rate and cause de-novo lipogenesis (the conversion of sugar into fat) since the liver can only metabolize limited amounts of fructose.

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Sugar-Cancer Association

Nutritionally oriented doctors have known about the refined sugar-cancer association for decades. More than 70 years ago, Dr. Warburg won the Nobel Prize in medicine when he discovered that cancer cells require glucose (sugar) for growth; they consume as much as 4 to 5 times more glucose than normal, healthy cells. In fact, cancer cells are unable to multiply rapidly without sugar.

The cells that are dividing (multiplying) the fastest have the highest requirement for energy (to sustain such accelerated growth). Therefore, cutting out the source (sugar) is similar to cutting off the blood supply - though not quite as drastic, it's certainly a step worth taking.

It is simply astonishing that this simple knowledge - sugar feeds cancer - hasn't become the basis for Rule One in any cancer fight: Stop eating sugar immediately.

Obviously giving up sugar is not the cure for cancer. But this tactic should be recommended STRONGLY to anyone with cancer or, actually, ANY other illness or disorder.

What about the alternate sweeteners?
You wonder if one of the alternate sweeteners, such as stevia or xylitol, might also feed the cancer cells in the same way sugar does.

Stevia won't, because it is zero-calorie.

Xylitol could be more of a quandary. It does contain calories (about 40 percent less than sugar), and it is labeled a 'sugar-alcohol.' Apparently that status causes a slower release into the body and less absorption. For that reason, it would be less of a problem as it is not as strong as refined carbohydrates. How much less would be controversial, since the sugar-cancer cell growth issue itself is a tough one.

However, keep in mind that the body also breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, so a diet that is heavy with high carbohydrate foods can also fuel cancer cell growth as well as other health problems that are known to be linked to excess blood glucose, including:

  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • an overgrowth of pathogenic intestinal flora
  • gout
  • panic attacks
  • hyperactivity, and
  • depression.

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How Much Sugar Are You Getting Daily?

By far the biggest source of sugar in the average American's diet are soft drinks ("liquid candy").
A wide variety of sugars with different names are used today in the food preparation process. Table sugar and maple syrup are no longer the only sweeteners in our diet.

We all know some of the guises of sugar such as sucrose, fructose, maple syrup, molasses. But what about dextrose, turbinado, amazake, sorbitol, carob powder, and high fructose corn syrup?

As a result of all sorts of sugars poured into more products every year by the makers of processed foods, Canadians - for example - eat about 23 teaspoons of added sugar every day.

But that only includes refined, processed sugars, honey and maple syrup. What those 23 teaspoons, translated into 92 grams of sugar, do not include are all the other added sugars we're getting daily from:

  • corn sweeteners - the main ingredient in pop (soda), and
  • fruit juices.

Add up all those sugars and some people are eating more than half their body weight in sugars every year.

It’s a serious concern around the world.

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The WHO's Recommendation

In the United States, sugar consumption in 1999 was 158 pounds per person - equivalent to about 50 teaspoons per day
In 1999 Americans ate more sugar than ever before. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, sugar consumption in 1999 was 158 pounds per person (equivalent to about 50 teaspoons per day!)— 30 percent higher than in 1983.

Consumption has risen every year but one since 1983. The average American consumes 20 teaspoons per day of sugar. The food industry, however, contends that the huge increase in sugar consumption has had no impact on health.

In a paper published in 1999, USDA researcher Shanthy A. Bowman, of the Agricultural Research Service, reported that heavier consumers of refined sugars (more than 18 percent of calories from added sugars) typically consume more calories but less of 15 different nutrients than do lighter consumers (under 12 percent of calories).

The high consumers consumed 15 times more soft drinks and fruit “ades” per day than the lower consumers.

The 158-pound figure, however, represents the amount of sugar that is available in wholesale channels. The actual amount consumed is considerably less. USDA surveys indicate that

  • the average teenage boy eats at least 109 pounds per year, while
  • the average American eats upwards of 64 pounds.

Because of the sharp increase in sugar consumption — paralleled by a doubling in the rate of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents in the past 20 years - health groups petitioned the Food and Drug Administration in 1999 to set a “Daily Value” for sugar intake and list on food labels the amount of added sugars and the “% Daily Value” in a serving. The recommended Daily Value (the daily limit) should be 40 grams, or 10 teaspoons, the figure recommended by USDA.

The FDA has not responded to the petition. Interestingly, in 1986 it predicted that sugar consumption would level off and then decline in the next few years.