Sugar and Your Health

For decades I have told my patients coming to me for help with chronic health problems to stop eating sugar for four months to see if it makes them feel better. Patients are often startled at the benefits. Usually the sugar cravings go away within two weeks of stopping sugar, and benefits to their health quickly ensues.

I also remember my medical colleagues berating me for giving such “foolish” advice to my patients.

Now all this has changed!

I am delighted to see that the World Health Organization has issued draft guidelines calling for a 50% reduction of daily sugar intake to be limited to no more than 5% of total daily calories. In addition, a major article has just appeared in the prestigious JAMA Internal Medicine showing the relationship of sugar to cardiovascular disease. They are finally recognizing that public health problems including obesity, diabetes,cardiovascular disease, and tooth decay are all connected with our addiction to sugar.

All the news services from Time Magazine to CNN have been blasting this news on their front pages, as well.

Here is a most informative video on CNN’s site about sugar. (sorry for the commercial)

Here is Dr Lustig’s famous lecture on sugar with over 4 million hits on YouTube:

The World Health Organization (WHO) says they are concerned that the consumption of “free” sugars can cause people to eat fewer foods that contain nutritionally adequate calories. This would thereby increase their total daily calorie intake leading to the epidemic that we have of obesity now. Free sugars include fructose, glucose, and sucrose as well as honey and fruit concentrates.

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) shows that 50% of the American population consume sugary drinks on any given day.

Recent information from Medical News Today has reported a study showing that individuals who consume high amounts of sugar may be at increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Other research has shown that the link between elevated sugar consumption and type II diabetes.

Specifically this study showed that those who consumed more than 21% of daily calories from added sugar had double the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality. Even just seven servings of sugar sweetened drinks per week, is linked with increased risk of cardiovascular disease mortality.

The authors of this study are quoted as saying “Our findings indicate that most US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. A higher percentage of calories from added sugars associated with significantly increased risk of CVD mortality. In addition, regular consumption of sugar sweetened beverages is associated with elevated CVD mortality.”

I print in total the Editorial on this subject from JAMA Internal Medicine

“We are in the midst of a paradigm shift in research on the health effects of sugar, one fueled by extremely high rates of added sugar overconsumption in the American public. By “added sugar overconsumption,” we refer to a total daily consumption of sugars added to products during manufacturing (ie, not naturally occurring sugars, as in fresh fruit) in excess of dietary limits recommended by expert panels. Past concerns revolved around obesity and dental caries as the main health hazards. Overconsumption of added sugars has long been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).1 However, under the old paradigm, it was assumed to be a marker for unhealthy diet or obesity.2 The new paradigm views sugar overconsumption as an independent risk factor in CVD as well as many other chronic diseases, including diabetes mellitus, liver cirrhosis, and dementia—all linked to metabolic perturbations involving dyslipidemia, hypertension, and insulin resistance.3 The new paradigm hypothesizes that sugar has adverse health effects above any purported role as “empty calories” promoting obesity. Too much sugar does not just make us fat; it can also make us sick.”

It is about time that my conventional colleagues wake up and smell the roses, on the truth that they have been denying for so many decades.

If you have a member of your family with diabetes, heart disease,obesity, talk to them about their sugar intake!

Original Article in JAMA Internal Medicine

Added Sugar in the Diet from Harvard

American Heart Association On Sugar

WHO Paper on Diet and Prevention of Chronic Disease

How Much Sugar is in Food

About Dr. Soram Khalsa

As an MD, Dr Soram specializes in Integrative Medicine combining diet, nutrition, acupuncture, herbs and nutrition. Visit Dr Soram’s Healthy Living Store where you’ll find high-quality nutritional supplements: