Toxic sugar? Food for thought.

So this popped up on my twitter feed today.


I’ll just list a few (sorry, it seems I end up listing A LOT!) of the things I found really interesting.

– “Did all of a sudden the entire world just become a bunch of gluttons and sloths? All at the same time? I mean, get real.”

– Ironically, the obsession with low-fat diets may have played a major role in the obesity epidemic.

– “…there was a hypothesis going around at the time that, if a food didn’t have fat in it, it couldn’t make you fat. This sparked the low-fat revolution. A vast range of low-fat products began to dominate supermarket shelves. The only problem was – when you took the fat out of food, it tasted like cardboard. So they had to replace it with something, and that was sugar.”

“Whole-fat mayo, for example, has just over 2% sugar. The low-fat version has six times more.” “My pet hate, in terms of low-fat food, is low-fat yoghurt that’s high in sugar. You might as well eat candy if you’re gonna do that, because the sugar level in some of these low-fat yoghurts is really quite high.”

– “Even today, our peak health authorities, like the National Heart Foundation, endorse cereals that… well, might be low in fat, but they’re up to 30% sugar.”

“Agriculture revolution, has lead to a much greater input of grains, and so increase in carbohydrate consumption. It’s this increase in dietary carbohydrate that’s messing with our metabolism. If you constantly provide carbohydrates to the body, you’ll have constantly high insulin levels, and that will lead to increased fat deposition in tissues. The higher your insulin, the more likely you are to store fat, because insulin is the main hormone that puts fat into fat cells.”

“So if it’s subcutaneous fat, the type that collects under the skin, then that’s not so bad for your health. But if it’s visceral fat, the type that collects around your belly and your organs – well, that’s when problems arise. Visceral fat releases a different set of hormones, and, in particular, it releases what we call proinflammatory hormones that cause inflammation elsewhere in the body.”

– So being slim doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy.

“Sugar is a simple carbohydrate made of two molecules, glucose and fructose. This bond is cleaved in the gut before they’re absorbed. It’s been shown that glucose mainly drives fat storage under the skin, and fructose deposits fat around organs, like the liver.”

“When you make extra liver fat, that liver fat ends up mucking up the workings of the liver, and you end up with a phenomenon called ‘insulin resistance’. The liver doesn’t work right, so the pancreas has to make extra insulin. And it also causes hypertension – changes in the brain that might result in altered cognitive function and possibly even dementia. It can increase cell proliferation, which can cause cancer. It can cause vascular smooth muscle proliferation, which can cause heart disease.”

“Fructose is mainly found in fruit. But it’s not all good, you could easily drink a glass of apple juice before dinner. But if you had to have the equivalent in whole fruit, you probably wouldn’t finish your meal. You can take in a whole lot more calories without feeling as full. So if you’re going to eat fruit, stick to whole fruit, because it has a lot more fibre, and it’s the fibre that tames your insulin response to sugar.”

“There is a hormone in your stomach called ‘ghrelin’, which is the hunger hormone. When your stomach is empty, ghrelin goes up, tells your brain, ‘Hey, time to eat.’ Then you eat, ghrelin goes down, and so hunger goes away. But, when you consume sugar, fructose does not get registered by the brain as you having eaten. Ghrelin doesn’t change. You stay hungry.”

“It’s not just sugar that can promote weight gain. Refined starches – another type of carbohydrate – can have similar effects. And there’s no law requiring manufacturers to declare these on food labels.”

Unfortunately this video also talks about studies that show exercise may not help as much as we thought it would.
“One thing exercise does is it makes people hungry. Burning calories through vigorous exercise triggers hunger signals in your brain so that you eat to replace those calories. Your body knows it’s losing vital energy stores, so it reacts by slowing down your metabolism to conserve that energy. This is thought to have helped us evolve as a species and to survive in times of famine.”

“It’s also so hard to lose weight because we are metabolically programmed to return to where we were. We have a raft of hormones in our body that all drive to push us back to where we were. 97% of people who lose weight regain it within five years.”

And what did all these researchers suggest? Not a lot really, but I think I’ll be keeping a closer eye on my sugar consumption and start worrying less about my fat consumption.

2 responses to “Toxic sugar? Food for thought.

  1. Pingback: Part 2- What to eat? | #thedieselproject·

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