Is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) really as much of a problem as people would like us to believe? And in fact, what about fructose in general? After all, the actual biochemistry of fructose metabolism does not activate insulin, and therefore it might not be as big of an issue in terms of representing a health threat compared to other sugars, like glucose or dextrose. Right?
Well, let’s dig into the science a little bit and see what we can learn. In a new study published in the Journal of Hepatology, researchers wanted to explore how fructose, sucrose (common table sugar, which is made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose), or glucose affected the body in terms of some fairly important parameters like the generation of fat in the liver.
The study evaluated the effects of these sugars in 94 healthy young men over a seven-week period. The subjects consumed, on a daily basis, drinks containing fructose, sucrose, or glucose, 80g per day, or a drink that did not contain sugar. Continue reading
Over the past several decades efforts have been made to try to convince us that, as it pertains to sugar, fructose is our best choice. One of the reasons often cited for this messaging was the misguided notion that somehow choosing fructose would help reduce risk for diabetes because “fructose doesn’t elevate insulin.” More on that idea later, so for now let’s focus on the relationship between fructose consumption and risk for type 2 diabetes. Continue reading
Who can forget the message of Mary Poppins telling us that “…a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Yes, we humans certainly like our sugar. To be sure, added sugar certainly increases our desire to consume a lot more than the “medicine” described in the song. It’s concerning to consider that of the 1.2 million food products sold in America’s grocery stores, approximately 68% have added sweeteners. This represents an active attempt to hack into our primitive desire for sweet and to alter our food choices moving forward. Continue reading
It’s something we all do at the holidays, when we’re surrounded by gingerbread men, hot cocoa, fruitcakes, and chocolate candies. Faced with the choice of the sweet treat or healthier alternatives, we remind ourselves the holidays come but once a year, and we all fall into a sugar-laden trap. Continue reading
Wow! Yesterday, the release of Grain Brain Revised, was an incredibly exciting day. From visiting with the folks at MindBodyGreen to taking your questions live in numerous live chats on Facebook and Instagram, I was privileged to get to spend the day speaking with you all and spreading our message on optimal health.
But it goes without saying that the most provocative part of my day was how it started — my conversation with CBS This Morning. Let me start by saying it was an honor to get to sit with such a storied team of reporters. It was humbling to have Gayle, John, and the entire team present for this dialogue.
Over the past several years I have frequently referred to Dr. Robert Lustig’s incredibly important book, Fat Chance – The Bitter Truth About Sugar. Dr. Lustig was one of the pioneers in raising awareness as to the addictive issues surrounding sugar as well as its profoundly detrimental effects on human health. Continue reading
Several years ago, when I wrote Grain Brain, I had a long discussion with our publisher centered around choosing the best subtitle. Ultimately, we decided to emphasize the toxic role of sugar and carbs on the brain, and with good reason. Since that time, there have been a large number of studies that have confirmed the thesis that elevated blood sugar is profoundly detrimental, not just for the brain in general, but for brain function as well.
As the authors of a new paper entitled, Brain atrophy in ageing: Estimating effects of blood glucose levels vs. other type 2 diabetes effects point out, our brains shrink as we age with as much as 5% volume loss occurring between age 60 and 70. And as you would expect, this correlates with declining function.
A lot of the research has shown that type 2 diabetes (T2D) is what accelerates brain aging. But as this new study shows, it’s not the diagnosis of T2D that is the issue. Well before that diagnosis is made, brain structure is affected by blood sugar, even in the “normal” range! Continue reading