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Sugar and Obesity—Is There a Relationship?

We have been told for years that if you eat fat, you will become fat. This experiment on the American public, without scientific support, was done without our consent. The food industry has taken full advantage of this ‘theory’ and placed sugar in place of fat in our food—fat-free, reduced fat, ‘healthy’ (because it has no fat). Since that time, the rate of overweight and obese people has jumped at the same rate as the increase in sugar consumption.

It is now estimated that the average American ingests about ½ pound of sugar each day. Of the 600,000 food items available on the grocery shelves, 80% of them have added sugar. A child who drinks one can of soda pop per day increases his risk of obesity by 60%.

I found this interesting bit of information. Let’s say it takes 2000 calories a day to maintain your body’s basic functions—thinking, muscle movement, digestion, other organ functioning. Sugar is converted into energy (ATP) to perform those functions and many more.

If you eat 2000 calories a day, you feel good, and you don’t gain weight because that is what your body needs.

However, if 500 calories of sugar is added to your 2000-calorie diet, it is immediately converted into fat, because the body does not need that much sugar that fast. This means that you will only ingest 1500 more calories during the day to maintain basic body functions. Since the body needs 2000 calories, the body feels hungry, and you may even have low blood sugar. Basically, you feel crappy (a medical term!). So, you eat 500 more calories to meet your caloric needs and you feel better. You are now on a 2500 calorie diet, and gaining weight in fat.

So how much is 500 calories of sugar? It is equivalent to 31 teaspoons of sugar. There are 512 calories in a 44 ounce Super Big Gulp; 364 calories in a 32 ounce Big Gulp; 210 calories in a Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookie. As you can see, it is easy to eat or drink 500 calories of sugar in a day, and much of it could be in one sitting. Some people I have know buy a Big Gulp in the morning and drink a little bit all day long, extending their fast intake of sugar throughout the day.

What can you do about it?

Stop eating sugar! But that is much easier said than done. Because sugar is added to processed food, you must read the label on everything in a can or box. Although there are over 250 different names for sugar, most of them you can recognize. Most everything that ends in -ose is a sugar. And don’t be fooled by the label that has sugar as the 3rd ingredient, but has fructose, maltose, and who knows what else at ingredient number 6, 9 and 11, making sugar the #1 ingredient.

Some people have found a friend who will do the sugar-free push with them and provide support and insight. This makes it a lot more fun. There are books and programs that are also helpful.

Some people who are addicted have needed the insight and help of a health coach.

Is it worth it?

Sugar, with its accompanying insulin, is highly inflammatory in the body. Inflammation causes discomfort and pain. This may include headaches, joint pain, muscle aches, poor sleep. Sugar feeds viruses, bacteria and cancer cells. Yeast and Candida organisms thrive on sugar. These cause gas, bloating, itching and a whole host of other problems.

When you are off sugar, your energy will improve, discomforts will reduce, your mind will become clearer and freedom from the shackles of sugar will be exhilarating. It is definitely worth it.

I will soon be releasing my highly successful program, Sweet Freedom From Sugar. If you would like to be placed on the interest list to learn more about it, sign up here.

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Top 10 Ways to Know if You Are Addicted to Sugar

Five years ago when I first wrote on the effects of sugar and its addictive potential, there were a lot of questions and doubts that sugar is addictive.  The Harvard Study, printed in the June 26, 2013 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, puts those questions to rest.

Twelve overweight or obese men age 18 to 35 were given a milk shake on two separate occasions.  The milkshakes were the same calories, nutrients and taste.  One caused high blood sugar and the other did not cause high blood sugar.  A functional MRI done four hours after ingestion of the shake slowed greater brain activity at the pleasure or reward center of the brain, the nucleus accumbens, in the participants who had consumed the milkshakes that caused high blood sugar.  This is the same area that lights up in persons with drug addiction or gambling addiction.

Sugar addiction does exist.  But the addiction isn’t just to sugar.  Anything that will elevate blood sugar (high glycemic index foods) does the same thing—white flour, white potatoes, refined starch.

“But I just love to eat sugar—that doesn’t mean I’m addicted.”  True.  Let’s define some terms.

Urge:  a strong need or desire to have or do something

Craving: a very strong desire for something; intense, urgent, abnormal desire or longing

Addiction: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something or do something; compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal

So…How Do I Know if I am Addicted to Sugar?

If you answer “Yes” to most of the following statements, you are probably addicted to sugar.

1.         I consume sweets, even if I am not hungry, because of cravings.

2.         I find myself constantly eating sweets throughout the day.

3.         I have an increased desire for sweets when I reduce or stop eating them.

4.         My sugar eating causes physical problems, and yet I keep eating it.

5.         When I eat more sugar, my emotions improve.

6.         When sweets are unavailable, I will go find some.

7.         I spend a lot of time feeling sluggish or fatigued from overeating.

8.         I can’t function at my best because of needing to eat sweets.

9.         I need to eat more and more sweets to get the same emotional help I got before.

10. After the first bite, I will binge and eat the whole sack of sweets.

11. (bonus) If I don’t eat sweets, I will be an emotional wreck.

If you are addicted, or feel your cravings are getting out of control, there is help.

We will soon be releasing a highly successful program, Sweet Freedom From Sugar.  It will walk you through the 5 steps to freedom from sugar addiction.  If you would like more details, place your name on the interest list and we will keep you informed as to its release date, probably in the next month.

Dr. Stan Gardner, a Certified Nutrition Specialist, is passionate about helping people reach their peak in health.  His office is in Sandy, UT, and he can be reached at 801.302.5397.  

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Temper Tantrums and ADHD

My 4 year old grandson is having major anger issues. He could be ADHD, but hasn’t been diagnosed as such. His mother is reluctant to seek traditional medical help and doesn’t want to medicate him. His recent temper tantrums are off the charts and we wonder what alternative medicine can suggest. His mother is vigilant about the amount of sugar he eats, but she can’t keep him 100% sugar-free. Any ideas?

The vast majority of children’s issues, including behavioral issues, are related to diet, or respond and improve when the diet improves.  Your grandson’s issues may require more than sugar removal:

  • chemical additives,
  • colorings,
  • flavorings,
  • preservatives

will also have to be eliminated.  All behavioral issues also need to have the nutrients that are needed most by the brain to be at high levels for optimal care.  This starts with multiple vitamins.  He may also need supplements with extra B vitamins and essential fatty acids to provide more brain support.

If those things are not enough, your daughter needs to find an alternative minded practitioner who deals with children and ADHD/autism.  If the anger issues aren’t enough of an incentive to be 100% vigilant about his food and nutrient intake, then you may have to live with the result.

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Sugar and Raw Honey: A Comparison

What is the difference between sugar and raw honey? And is there a difference between raw honey and processed honey?

Raw honey contains a combination of sugars, including fructose and glucose, and smaller amounts of sucrose and maltose. It also contains Continue reading Sugar and Raw Honey: A Comparison

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Sugar: What’s in it and What it Does (+ Survey)

Sugar Shock
In 1976, the sugar industry discovered it was cheaper to make sugar from corn than from beets or cane.  Since then, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has replaced sucrose as a sweetener in most soft drinks, baked goods, and processed foods.  Among other consequences, fructose has been implicated in Continue reading Sugar: What’s in it and What it Does (+ Survey)