Is sugar a sweet old friend that is secretly plotting your demise?
There is a vast sea of research suggesting that it is. Science has now shown us, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that sugar in your food, in all its myriad of forms, is taking a devastating toll on your health.
The single largest source of calories for Americans comes from sugar—specifically high fructose corn syrup. Just take a look at the sugar consumption trends of the past 300 years:
- In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
- In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
- In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
- In 2009, more than 50 percent of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar PER DAY—translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year!
Sugar is loaded into your soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, and hidden in almost all processed foods—from bologna to pretzels to Worcestershire sauce to cheese spread. And now most infant formula has the sugar equivalent of one can of Coca-Cola, so babies are being metabolically poisoned from day one if taking formula.
No wonder there is an obesity epidemic in this country.
Today, 32 percent of Americans are obese and an additional one-third are overweight. Compare that to 1890, when a survey of white males in their fifties revealed an obesity rate of just 3.4 percent. In 1975, the obesity rate in America had reached 15 percent, and since then it has doubled.
Carrying excess weight increases your risk for deadly conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.
In 1893, there were fewer than three cases of diabetes per 100,000 people in the United States. Today, diabetes strikes almost 8,000 out of every 100,000 people.
You don’t have to be a physician or a scientist to notice America’s expanding waistline. All you have to do is stroll through a shopping mall or a schoolyard, or perhaps glance in the mirror.
Eating Fructose is Far Worse than Eating Fat
However, the physiological problems of fructose metabolism extend well beyond a couple of pant sizes:
- Fructose elevates uric acid, which decreases nitric oxide, raises angiotensin, and causes your smooth muscle cells to contract, thereby raising your blood pressure and potentially damaging your kidneys.
Increased uric acid also leads to chronic, low-level inflammation, which has far-reaching consequences for your health. For example, chronically inflamed blood vessels lead to heart attacks and strokes; also, a good deal of evidence exists that some cancers are caused by chronic inflammation. (See the next section for more about uric acid.)
- Fructose tricks your body into gaining weight by fooling your metabolism—it turns off your body’s appetite-control system. Fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) and doesn’t stimulate leptin (the “satiety hormone”), which together result in your eating more and developing insulin resistance. 
- Fructose rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity (“beer belly”), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure—i.e., classic metabolic syndrome.
- Fructose metabolism is very similar to ethanol metabolism, which has a multitude of toxic effects, including NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). It’s alcohol without the buzz.
These changes are not seen when humans or animals eat starch (or glucose), suggesting that fructose is a “bad carbohydrate” when consumed in excess of 25 grams per day. It is probably the one factor responsible for the partial success of many “low-carb” diets.
One of the more recent findings that surprised researchers is that glucose actually accelerates fructose absorption, making the potential health risks from HFCS even more profound.
You can now see why fructose is the number one contributing factor to the current obesity epidemic.
Exerpted from “Sugar 101” article on www.mercola.com
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