Is sugar a sweet old friend that is secretly plotting your demise?

… Consumption of processed foods (which are laced with sugar) cost the American public more than $54 billion in dental bills each year, so the dental industry reaps huge profits from the programmed addiction of the public to sugar products. …Today we have a nation that is addicted to sugar. In 1915, the national average of sugar consumption (per year) was around 15 to 20 pounds per person. Today the average person consumes his/her weight in sugar, plus over 20 pounds of corn syrup. To add more horrors to these facts there are some people that use no sweets and some who use much less than the average figure, which means that there is a percentage of the population that consume a great deal more refined sugar than their body weight. The human body cannot tolerate this large amount of refined carbohydrates. The vital organs in the body are actually damaged by this gross intake of sugar.
Carrying excess weight increases your risk for deadly conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes. Fructose is the primary cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver and elevates uric acid, which raises your blood pressure, stresses your kidneys, and leads to the chronic, low-level inflammation that is at the core of most chronic diseases; metabolically speaking, fructose is alcohol “without the buzz”.
It would be wise for most people to limit their daily fructose consumption to less than 25 grams per day; a table showing the fructose content of many foods is provided, especially if you show signs of insulin resistance such as being overweight, high blood pressures, high cholesterol, or diabetes. Your body metabolizes fructose much differently from glucose; the entire burden of metabolizing fructose falls on your liver, where excess fructose is quickly converted into fat.
Surprisingly, when it comes to consumption and the effects of sugar, what is often heard are; all things in moderation, a little bit won’t hurt, or it is fuel for the brain. Indeed, there could be a justification for consuming sugar in some amount but the question is: should sugar ever be consumed and if so, in what amount?
Again, it is often argued that sugar is okay in some moderation and that eliminating any “food group” is dangerous. Certainly, avoiding an actual macronutrient category completely (carbohydrate, protein or fat) would be problematic, but sugar in itself is not a food group. Though sugar in some form is naturally present in many foods, by itself, it contains: no nutrients, no protein, no healthy fats and no enzymes. That means you need to keep the sugar down to between 25 grams and 37.5 grams per day.
In fact, it is just empty and quickly digested calories that actually pull minerals from the body during digestion. It creates a hormone cascade when consumed that starts a positive feedback loop in the body to encourage more consumption. In a time when food was scarce and needed to be contained in large amounts in the summer when available to survive the winter, this was a good thing. In today’s world of constant access to processed foods, this natural biological purpose highlights one of the negative effects of sugar. Agave syrup, falsely advertised as “natural,” is typically HIGHLY processed and is usually 80 percent fructose. The end product does not even remotely resemble the original agave plant.
Honey is about 53 percent fructose2, but is completely natural in its raw form and has many health benefits when used in moderation, including as many antioxidants as spinach. Stevia is a highly sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant, which is completely safe (in its natural form.
According to Dr. Robert Lustig, who is a Professor of Paediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at University of California, San Francisco, and Director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program at UCSF, explain in his lecture that, Fructose especially is harmful and the effects of sugar on the body, especially the liver is worst. He added that “There is no way around it. Sugar is bad for you. Research shows that, an average American eats pounds and pounds of refined sugar per day. According to the USDA, the average person consumes 150 to 170 pounds annually. A healthy amount is not more than 36 pounds per year.
The single largest source of calories for Americans comes from sugar specifically high fructose corn syrup. Below are the sugar consumption trends of the past 300 years;
*In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
*In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
*In 2009, more than 50 percent of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar PER DAY—translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year!
What is particularly disturbing is seeing how it affects young children. Sugar can weaken the immune system and bones and destroy vitamin D and calcium. Anyone who consumes too much sugar is at risk for developing diabetes. Sugary Drinks Kill 184,000 People Every Year
“Sugar is a food that is often hard to resist, and cutting sugar out of your diet can be challenging,” John Giles Medical Director at Benenden said in a press statement. But the hope is that more information will lead to better decisions
By Bismark Adika/MJA-Ghana