What Sugar Does to Your Body

Overwhelming clinical evidence links the consumption of high-glycemic load carbohydrates to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, AGEs, and the metabolic syndrome. And without doubt, refined sugar in its many forms (cane sugar, beet sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc.) tops the list of most dangerous high-GL carbohydrates.

Sugar Facts

  • In 1900, the U.S. consumed 5 lbs of sugar per person
  • In 2000, the U.S. consumed roughly 150 lbs of sugar per person
  • Americans consume 53 gallons of sugary soft drinks per person annually
  • Sugary carbohydrates are addictive
  • Insulin turns sugar into fat and stores it in your cells
  • Increased cancer risk is linked to sugar and refined starch
  • More sugar + more starch = more weight gain. Simple.

News and Research

Sugar News, Usually Bad News
A study published in 2002 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found participants who ate a diet high in sugars and refined starch had three times the average risk of pancreatic cancer. Another study published in the same journal in 2004, found a diet high in sugars and starch significantly raised the risk of colorectal cancer. Cancer cells are known to function differently than normal cells, relying almost exclusively on sugar to fuel their growth and proliferation. By drastically limiting sugar and refined starches in your diet, you can limit the amount of energy available to cancerous cells and inhibit their growth.

Sugar, Cheese, Opium… Why We're Addicted
In this thought-provoking video, Neal Barnard MD, the founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), explores the science behind food addictions. Willpower is not to blame: chocolate, cheese, meat, and sugar release opiate-like substances. Dr. Barnard also discusses how industry, aided by government, exploits these natural cravings, pushing us to eat more and more unhealthy foods. A plant-based (vegan) diet is his solution to avoid many of these problems. While we do not suggest everyone follow a vegan diet, the discussion of addiction is worth a look.

Sugar Linked to Cancer Again and Again
Far from rumor, there have been many large studies showing the link between sugar consumption and cancer risk. Sugar feeds all of the cells in our body and cancer is an overeater. By considering the type and amount of sugar you consume, you can help minimize your risk. This article offers summaries of ten such studies.

Growing Older and Hungrier
A recent study shows that the brain's appetite control cells degenerate with age and cause humans to have increased hunger and potential weight-gain. The damage is more severe after eating foods heavy in carbs and sugars.

Sugar and Aging
Lowering caloric intake by limiting glucose increases life span in various species. The pro-aging effects of glucose signaling correlated with a decrease in mitochondrial respiration and an increase in reactive oxygen species production in this recent study.

This Video is worth a Hundred Grams
Take a look at human blood cells before and after sugar intake.

What Can a Penny Do?

Some people think that a tax on soft drinks would decrease consumption, much like taxes on tobacco products appear to have reduced smoking. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health advocacy group, estimates that each penny of tax added could decrease consumption by 1 percent.

What You Can Do

  • Reduce sugar and starchy foods in your diet.
  • Avoid artificial sugar substitutes-- they can be as harmful to your body as sugar.
  • Use stevia-- a natural option that is healthful in small amounts.
  • Now that stevia has been approved as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the FDA, soft drink companies are rushing to launch products using their respective proprietary stevia blends.  We have always used this healthy natural sweetener in our Supreme Shakes to create a delicious taste without sugar or artificial sweeteners.
  • Know your fasting glucose levels. Be aware of your risk factors.
  • Consider nutrients that may help manage your blood sugar levels.
  • Turmeric: Research shows this common cooking spice may help reduce inflammation and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The effect is likely due to Curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice.
  • Cinnamon: A study of people with type 2 diabetes found that one gram a day of cinnamon (one-fourth of a teaspoon twice daily) significantly lowered blood sugar, fatty acids in the blood (triglycerides), “bad” LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol.
  • Vinegar: A study reported in Diabetes Care in 2004 found vinegar dramatically reduces the rise in blood sugar and insulin after eating. Include vegetables pickled in vinegar with your meals and use salad and vegetable dressings made with vinegar and extra virgin olive oil (make your own or use commercial dressings that do not contain added sugars or preservatives).

Learn More

Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, M.D. discuss sugar, the "White Satan," and the body's response more completely in their new book Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever. In Chapter 11, Nutrition, they make specific suggestions for improving your diet and include many easy and tasty recipes using only healthy ingredients