Dietary Triglyceride Reduction: High Triglycerides-Sugar Connection
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. This is usually necessary for several days to several weeks.
Sugar is also a source of excess calories which are being turned into fat - usually, triglycerides, so the fat levels in your blood go up.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
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.
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?
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:
How Much Sugar Are You Getting Daily?
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:
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.
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
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.
The WHO's Recommendation: 12 Teaspoons of Free (Added) Sugar Daily
Consumption of “added (free) sugars” includes:
The term “added (free) sugars” does not include the sugars naturally present in:
A report released in 2006 by the World Health Organization (WHO) urges people to limit their daily consumption of free (added) sugars to less than 10 percent of their total energy intake (Diet Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases; TRS916). This recommendation adds up to approximately 12 teaspoons (48 grams) of added (free) sugar a day based on an average 2000-calorie diet.
In North America, however, this report prompted a harsh reaction from the sugar lobby.
The leading American health experts want the FDA to set a maximum recommended daily intake (Daily Value) for added (free) sugars of 10 teaspoons (40 grams) and require labels to disclose the percentage of the Daily Value a food provides. (Daily Values are used on Nutrition Facts labels to indicate the recommended maximum intakes of fat, sodium and other nutrients).
It is so much less than North Americans eat now - on average, more than 20 teaspoons of added sugars per day, that is twice what the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends.
Although we are eating way too much sugar, consuming less sugar is not that easy as it would seem. Cutting back to 10 - 12 teaspoons a day is going to be tough.
A typical cup of fruit yogurt provides 70 percent of a day's worth of added sugar! No to mention a can of baked beans, listing white beans, water, molasses, sugar, fructose, brown sugar. Lots of sugars!
Of course, you would like to have these beans with a hot dog which lists such ingredients as pork, chicken, beef, water, salt, dextrose. It means more sugar!
The bun contains another half-teaspoon of sugar. And with that hot dog you would like to have a dash of ketchup (a third of ketchup is sugar)…
Another example: a health snack – granola bar has two teaspoons of sugar.
One little Fruit Rollup, Mellon Berry Blast has about 3 teaspoons of sugar, mostly in form of cheap corn syrup.
The WHO report recommending we eat less sugar provoked loud criticism from the sugar lobby in the U.S. and Canada.
The sugar industry and the American government are really upset about it. Randall Kaplan of the Canadian Sugar Institute says that there is no scientific proof sugar is what is making us fat or giving us diabetes (!)
Onset of diabetes, for instance, is one of the major concerns for excess sugar intake. Since insulin acts as a "carrier" of glucose (blood sugar), too much sugar can overwork the pancreas, eventually leading to a decrease in insulin production.
Because of such potential problems, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has petitioned the FDA to require that food labels declare how much sugar is added to products.
A high-sugar diet can contribute to other health problems, such as osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease, not to mention tooth decay and obesity.
Unfortuanately, nutritionally worthless junk food is everywhere. No matter what, in every store that you go to there is a little section of chocolate, candy and chips. Sugar is all over the place and it is hard to resist it.
Simple (Free) Sugars Consumption and Sugar Cravings
An intense desire to consume simple sugars is commonly known as carbohydrate or sugar (sucrose) cravings. Ironically, it is believed to occur as a result of rapid rises and subsequent rapid falls in blood sugar which are caused by… high consumption of simple sugars (carbohydrates).
In the typical diet of the USA population, the major contributing factors in sugar cravings include:
Unfortunately, many people are actually addicted to sugar. In order to free yourself of the physical addiction, complete avoidance of all sugar is necessary. Complete abstinence resolves the biochemical addiction, however, during this transition it is very important to eat every two-three hours to avoid symptoms of hypoglycemia.
If you do not eat every 2-3 hours your blood sugar may "crash" and you'll feel horrible. Usually, this is necessary for several days to several weeks.
However, carbohydrate (sugar) cravings may be also caused by metabolic and nervous system ailments such as:
The other possible causes of sugar (carbohydrate) cravings also include:
How to Decipher Sugar Content?
So we just have to rely on the list of ingredients to determine how many sugars are in the foods we eat.
In order to estimate the total number of sugars found in foods, experts use a teaspoon of refined sugar as a metaphor to give us a sense of how much sugar we’re consuming. Therefore, a product which contains 16 grams of sugars per serving would translate into approximately 4 teaspoons of sugars per serving.
For example, if sugars are listed as 12 grams you should divide that amount by four and this will give you three teaspoons of refined sugar per serving - and 45 calories.
How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake?
At present, the USDA recommends limiting added sugars, from packaged foods and the sugar bowl, to:
As you can see, this is even less than 12 teaspoons (48 grams) of a sugar a day recommended by the recent WHO's report for an average 2,000-calorie diet.
What you should do then?
Table of Fruits and Sugars
SOURCE: Fruit and Sugar Content: The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain, Ph.D.
PLEASE NOTE: Total metabolic fructose (Tot. met. fructose) means fructose and sucrose combined (in grams of sugar per 100 grams).
Getting That Sugar Monkey Off Your Back: More Tips
What About Fruit Sugar (Fructose)?
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. For this and many other reasons, and contrary to previous claims for its superiority over glucose (blood sugar), fructose does not play essential part in human nutrition.
Although naturally present in fruits, fructose is also available in the form of crystals as a table sugar substitute. It is also sold commercially as high-fructose corn syrup which can contain up to 55 percent sucrose.
However, fructose can have some toxic effects on our health, especially on cardiovascular and digestive systems, as well as on our metabolism.
Fructose, especially its excessive consumption, may increase:
Excessive consumption of fructose may also cause:
It is estimated that up to 33 percent of persons are unable to completely absorb fructose due to fructose intolerance (also known as dietary fructose intolerance (DFI) which may cause
Fructose may cause the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and may be an underlying cause of some cases of IBS due to fructose malabsorption.
Fruit Sources of Fructose
Among most popular fruits the highest fructose content (per 100 grams) show:
Among most popular fruits the lowest fructose content (per 100 grams) show:
Therefore, the above fruits should be your first choice of fruit in triglycerides-lowering diet, provided you have not been diagnosed with fructose intolerance.Logical, isn't it? But not quite true.
Fruit Sources of Sucrose
Among most popular fruits the highest sucrose (sugar) content (per 100 grams) show:
Among most popular fruits the lowest sucrose (sugar) content (per 100 grams) show:
Therefore, the above fruits should be your first choice of fruit in triglycerides-lowering diet, provided you have not been diagnosed with fructose intolerance.
Logical, isn't it? But not necessarily true.
A Take-Home Message: Limit Your Fruit Consumption
Glucose is the only carbohydrate that actually circulates within the bloodstream (as blood sugar). It provides energy to most of the body's cells and is the preferred fuel for most cells, including the neurons of the brain (the brain utilizes 25 percent of glucose for its own “fuel” requirements).
Sugar then is a sort of "good" and "bad" guy at the same time with fruits as a perfect example. Some of them are high in fructose but at the same time low in sucrose, and vice versa.
Watermelon, for instance, is low in sucrose (1.21%) but at the same time much higher in fructose (3.36%). Apricots on the other hand are low in fructose (0.94%) but very high in sucrose (5.87%). The same applies to other low-high, fructose-sucrose fruits like persimmons, plums, nectarines, peaches and cantaloupes.
So as far as fruit consumption is concerned, the only practical solution is their limited consumption. Because fruits are a considerable source of sugar in our today's diet (already full of sugar!), their daily intake should be carefully monitored by all people, not only those whose health condition could be adversely affected by the sugar, diabetics and pre-diabetics in particular.
Although eating fresh fruits as your appetite dictates still holds for many people, if you are overweight, insulin resistant, or have elevated blood triglycerides, you should limit your intake of high-sugar fruits, such as grapes, bananas, mangos, sweet cherries, apples, pineapples, pears and kiwi fruit.
This recommendation also applies to dried fruits which contain excessive sugar. As a matter of fact, they more resemble commercial candy than their fresh counterparts.
Try to include more green vegetables instead. However, some fruits, like tomatoes, avocadoes, lemons, and limes, are very low in total sugar and do not have to be restricted.