Me & Latia

Me & Latia
Partners @ Attitude = Performance

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Blood Sugar, Insulin and Aging...The Damaging Effects of Sugar!

Besides the formation of the highly destructive AGE’s, sugar, in all forms (fructose, sucrose, glucose, galactose, lactose and others) has other ways of inflicting serious damage to your body and speeding up the aging process.
Fructose is the worst of all sugars, but all forms of sugar that affect your body’s blood sugar levels, as well as the resulting insulin can be harmful. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola:
“Fructose in particular is extremely pro-inflammatory, promoting AGE’s and speeding up the aging process. It also promotes the kind of dangerous growth of fat cells around your vital organs that are the hallmark of diabetes and heart disease. In one study, 16 volunteers on a high-fructose diet produced new fat cells around their heart, liver and other digestive organs in just 10 weeks.”
So the internally and externally, limiting sugar in all forms, will go a long way towards slowing down the aging process.
Sugar, especially fructose and sucrose, increase insulin levels, while decreasing your body’s ability to effectively counteract that rise in blood sugar. This is a major cause of degenerative diseases.
Sugar in excess also weakens or paralyzes the immune system, making you more susceptible to infectious disease, or complications of minor diseases. For example, that minor cold can become the flu, pneumonia or bronchitis—and in some cases deadly if you are elderly and in frail health.
The average American eating a stereotypical Standard American Diet consumes 2.5 pounds of sugar a WEEK. And when you think about adding in the other processed foods such as white or wheat bread, pasta, pastries, and all the refined carbohydrates, which turn into sugar in the body, it’s no wonder there is such a huge increase in diabetes.

Could it be that sugar is THAT bad? In a word…YES!

Let’s define what we are talking about when we say ‘sugar’. We usually think of sugar as the white stuff that sits in cute little bowls on our tables, or in those little packets at restaurants. The truth is there are many different types of sugars and our bodies do not react to all of them in the same way.
“High fructose corn syrup” is the form of sugar that you see on virtually every label of processed or packaged foods, or in most soft drinks. There are many other forms of sugar but for now, let’s concentrate on the two most often consumed sugars, sucrose and fructose.
Regular white table sugar (and brown sugar) is called 'sucrose'. Sucrose is composed of one molecule of glucose bonded to a molecule of fructose. So, that makes sucrose about 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Fructose is 2x sweeter than glucose. Since table sugar is half fructose, it is lots sweeter than starches in potatoes, bread or other carbs that also turn into glucose in the body.
The more fructose in any type of sugar, the sweeter it is.
High fructose corn syrup is approximately 55% fructose and 45% glucose (but can vary higher in fructose content based on type). So that makes it sweeter than regular table sugar.
The harmful effects of sugar have to do with the way your body metabolizes the fructose portion of the sugar. For instance, if we eat 100 calories of starchy foods like pasta or potatoes (which is converted to glucose in the body) or 100 calories of sugar (remember basically 50/50% of glucose and fructose), they are metabolized differently and have a different effect in your body.

This is key: Fructose is metabolized by our livers.

• Glucose from sugar and starches is metabolized in our cells.
Why does this matter?
Consuming cane sugar or HFCS causes your liver to work very hard to process the fructose. If that sugar comes in a liquid form like soda or fruit juice, the fructose hits your system instantly and causes your liver to go into overdrive in an attempt to process it. And the fructose in High Fructose Corn Syrup hits your liver even faster than regular cane sugar because the fructose is not bound to the glucose in it. So your liver gets a massive shot of fructose faster!
When fructose is ingested quickly in larger quantities, the liver converts it to fat. The fat becomes a substance called triglycerides, a key contributor to heart disease. Some of these triglycerides float around in your bloodstream and get stored as fat on your body.
However, excess fat is also stored in the liver. Ever hear of ‘fatty liver disease’? When the liver starts storing excess amounts of fat, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome follow, and not far behind then, is type 2 diabetes.
The result—accelerated aging, chronic disease and sometimes, eventually death—all from excess sugar.

Some other ways fructose accelerates aging and disease:

• Fructose elevates uric acid, which not only leads to high blood pressure, but also chronic, low-level inflammation which can affect virtually every system in your body to speed up aging and multiple chronic diseases. Ever heard of gout? This is a painful form of arthritis in which the uric acid forms crystals on joints, mainly in the feet and hands.
• Fructose tricks your body into gaining weight by turning off your body's appetite-control system. Consuming foods containing fructose actually makes you hungrier, by confusing your hormones. You don’t feel full when you should, so you keep eating.
• Fructose quickly and easily leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity (yes, this is where the dreaded "belly fat" comes from), decreased HDL (good cholesterol), increased LDL (bad cholesterol), elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure, which leads to metabolic syndrome. And of course, it can continue straight to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
In 1980, only about 1 in 7 Americans were obese, and about 6 million people had diabetes—it was not nearly as much of a common disease as today. Today, 1 in 3 Americans are obese, and 19 million Americans have diabetes, according to the National Diabetes Fact Sheet (2011).

Another seven million people are estimated to have undiagnosed diabetes. That’s 26 million people! Add to that another 79 million people with ‘pre-diabetes’.
That’s staggering!! That combined number is approximately 100 million people with diabetes or pre-diabetes in the United States. That’s one third of the population!

Diabetes leads directly to premature aging (including wrinkly, saggy skin) and more serious complications including:
• Heart disease and strokes
• High blood pressure
• Blindness
• Kidney disease
• Nervous system disease (neuropathy)
• Amputations of extremities

We know that one of the most accurate predictors of heart disease and diabetes is a condition called ‘metabolic syndrome’. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) at least 75 million Americans have metabolic syndrome, and probably many more have it but have not yet been diagnosed.
What is metabolic syndrome? It means your body has become resistant to insulin, among other issues. Normally when you eat carbs or sugar, blood sugar goes up, insulin is then released to counter the rise in blood sugar, and blood sugar goes back to a normal level.
If your diet is high in sugars and starchy foods, your body is continually pumping out insulin to lower your blood sugar. Eventually your cells stop responding to insulin, and your pancreas cannot create enough insulin in response to the demand, and it becomes exhausted. Blood sugar levels begin rise out of control, and stay constantly high, until you end up with type 2 diabetes.
Add one more deadly disease that is tied directly to sugar and insulin—Cancer.
According to World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer: Your chances of getting cancer are much higher if you are obese, diabetic or insulin resistant.

What’s the connection? Sugar.

And, your chances of dying from a form of malignant cancer are way higher if your diet is high in sugar. Cancer researchers now know that the problem with insulin resistance and cancer is that as we secrete more insulin, we also secrete a related hormone known as ‘insulin-like growth factor’, and the insulin encourages bigger tumor growth.
Craig Thompson, president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, says many human cancers depend on insulin for fuel to grow and multiply. Some cancers develop mutations that actually feed off the insulin, and other cancers just take advantage of the elevated blood sugar and insulin levels from those with metabolic syndrome, obesity or type 2 diabetes.
Many of the pre-cancerous cells would never acquire the mutations that transform them into malignant tumors if they weren’t being driven by insulin to take up more and more blood sugar and metabolize it.

The Trouble with Grains...

When you take a look at the food supply of most modern societies, the common denominator is an overload of carbohydrates and processed grains—often combined with sugar or fructose (in the form of high fructose corn syrup).
Wheat and corn are two of the worst carbohydrates for blood sugar and aging.
Our Paleolithic ancestors didn't eat grains--at least nowhere close to the form we eat today. Nutritional archaeologists believe that the ancestral human diet before the agricultural revolution may have contained very small quantities of grains that could be gathered and added to soups or stews most likely. However, our Paleolithic ancestors had no way of consuming the massive quantities of grains that modern humans eat in everything from cereal, breads, muffins, pasta, and more foods that are considered “staples” of the modern diet.
And the consumption of grain in most countries has been steadily increasing for the last 30-50 years, to the point where grain is the primary food in many people’s diets. As grain consumption has gone up, so have the numbers of obese and overweight people.

Of course, there are confounding factors involved in this increase as well, including a more sedentary lifestyle, and increases in sugar and HFCS consumption as well.
Today, flours are more refined than ever, missing fiber and essential nutrients. The modernized version of wheat, triticum aestivum, is very different from the wheat used by our ancestors. Modern wheat has been genetically altered through hundreds of hybridizations and manipulated to become a far different plant than it previously was.
The gluten proteins in modern wheat are much different than the gluten in the wheat of the past. This is possibly one of the reasons for the sudden increase in the incidence of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
Today's wheat is quite different than even just 50 years ago, as today's wheat has different levels of anti-nutrients and gluten with overall biochemical differences.
Essentially, big agra has hybridized wheat heavily over the last 5 decades to improve things such as crop yield and baking characteristics, but never once thought about the impacts on human health of changing the biochemical structure of wheat. Although the biochemical differences may seem small, it can have a major impact on how the human digestive system processes the food.
Dr. William Davis in his book, Wheat Belly, points this out with this passage... "Wheat gluten proteins, in particular, undergo considerable structural change with hybridization. In one hybridization experiment, 14 new gluten proteins were identified in the offspring that were not present in either parent wheat plant." This means that modern wheat contains new "foreign" gluten proteins that the human digestive system has not adapted to properly digesting.

Scientists have begun in recent years to discover links between wheat and a whole range of inflammatory diseases, from rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, gastro-esophageal reflux disease--to migraines and arthritis and more. Wheat can also cause low level, long-term inflammation possibly due to the gluten content, other anti-nutrients, or possibly even the extreme blood sugar response common from wheat foods.
Many people would never connect these symptoms with eating grains; but weight gain, emotional, physical, and mental symptoms are fairly frequent with gluten sensitivity.
Gluten sensitivity dramatically increases inflammation not only in the digestive system, but in the whole body system as well. Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease also block the absorption of important nutrients, creating deficiencies that lead to frequent illnesses, chronic disease, a weakened immune system, mental problems, and dementia.
Wheat also contains a type of carbohydrate called Amylopectin A that raises blood sugar shockingly high. Eating just two slices of whole wheat bread (the kind we’re told by the media is “healthy”) raises blood sugar higher than eating two Tablespoons of pure sugar.
High blood sugar leads to insulin release, fat storage, weight gain, production of AGE’s, and inflammation. It’s a vicious cycle.
All of this can lead to accelerated aging and chronic disease.

Corn may be just as big of a problem as wheat. Bumper crops of corn and government subsidies keep corn prices low, which in turn keeps many of the unhealthy items we buy at the store low-priced. Corn, in some form, is in an overwhelming majority of packaged foods that we buy from conventional grocery stores.
Contrary to popular belief, corn is a grain, not a vegetable, and is not appropriate as a dietary staple for several reasons. It has a very high sugar content and it blocks nutrients from being utilized in the body (from anti-nutrient content).
This evidence shows up in the archeological records of our ancestors and other ancient civilizations. When the Mayans and Native Americans changed their diets to a corn-based one, rates of anemia, arthritis, rickets, infectious disease, and osteoporosis skyrocketed, and the average lifespan of these natives shortened drastically.
Our bodies were not made to exist on grain-based foods as the bulk of our caloric intake.
Corn breaks down into sugar very rapidly in the body, which raises insulin levels, causes you to be hungrier and causes your body to store calories as fat. Don’t be mistaken--just because corn does not taste obviously sweet, doesn’t mean it isn’t full of carbs that break down very fast into sugars. Once eaten, your body quickly turns corn and corn products into sugar. Even the starches in corn products are broken down very quickly in the body, spiking blood sugar levels, and causing cravings for more carbohydrate-based foods.
Corn contains high levels of phytate, a chemical that binds to iron and inhibits its absorption by the body. So, consequently, a diet high in phytate can make people more likely to have iron-deficiency anemia and fatigue. Phytate also inhibits other vitamins and minerals from being utilized, creating nutrient deficiencies that lead to illness, physical degeneration and aging.
Corn is also a poor source of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc, and vitamins such as niacin (B3). Deficiencies of niacin results in a condition known as Pellagra, which is very common in civilizations that eat a corn-based diet. It can cause a variety of health issues, such as dermatitis, diarrhea, and depression.
So, a diet high in processed grains—especially corn and wheat—actually hastens the aging process and causes increased inflammation and susceptibility to disease.

Keep in mind that even grains such as brown rice and oatmeal can have significant blood sugar impacts in your body, particularly if you’re not an extremely active athlete.
Although rice and oatmeal have fewer issues with digestive system inflammation and anti-nutrients than wheat and corn do, it does not mean these are ideal foods to base your daily meal plans around. Once or twice a week is probably fine, but I personally would not consume these daily.

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