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Monday Motivation – 11/19/12

on November 21, 2012

Also titled “Maintain Don’t Gain Wellness Challenge Tip #3”

Warning:  There’s not a cute little sign in this post.  This week’s tip is regarding SUGAR.  Do you know how much sugar you are consuming every day?  Start reading your labels – sugar is hidden in most every processed food.  Even a small kids carton of 100% apple juice contains 22 grams of sugar.

The American Heart Association recommends that women have no more than 20 grams of sugar per day.  For men, they recommend no more than 36 grams per day.  And for children, only 12 grams per day.  So if your child drinks one small carton of 100% apple juice, they have almost doubled their recommended sugar intake for the day.  Shocking, I know.  Because you think 100% apple juice would be healthy.  But it’s all sugar. Excess sugar can alter metabolism, raise blood pressure, skew the signaling of hormones and damage the liver.  Hmm… sounds a lot like what alcohol does to you too.

In fact, a team of researchers from the University of California argue that sugar should be considered a controlled substance just like alcohol and tobacco because it poses enough health risks.

In an opinion piece called “The Toxic Truth About Sugar” that was published Feb. 1 in the journal Nature, Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt and Claire Brindis argue that it’s a misnomer to consider sugar just “empty calories.” They write:

“There is nothing empty about these calories. A growing body of scientific evidence is showing that fructose can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic diseases. A little is not a problem, but a lot kills — slowly.”

We’re a nation that’s sweet on sugar: the average U.S. adult downs 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, according to the American Heart Association, and surveys have found that teens swallow 34 teaspoons.

No one is claiming the effect of sugar is quite that potent, but, says Brownell, “it helps confirm what people tell you anecdotally, that they crave sugar and have withdrawal symptoms when they stop eating it.”

Dr Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California.  You can watch his 90 minute lecture on YouTube here:  Sugar: The Bitter Truth   It’s FASCINATING.  He is an excellent speaker.

And I highly recommend you read this 2011 New York Times article written by Gary Taubes:  Is Sugar Toxic?   Gary Taubes has written a number of articles and books, all regarding nutrition.

After reading the article and watching the video, I’ll let you make your own determination about whether sugar is bad.  But I know I’m going to start avoiding it like the plague.

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