Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Overdosed On Sugar - A Nation's Health In Decline

If you're like me then you've probably lived your whole live longing for that sugar fix on a daily basis whether you consciously seek it out or just find yourself munching on sugar laden junk food for no reason. That's because sugar is addictive just like any other drug. In fact, experiencing a "hit" from sugar, whether it be via a candy bar or your favorite sugary drink, has the same effect on the human brain as cocaine and other drugs of abuse do [1]. Both cause a surge in the brain chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for producing pleasure sensations deep within the brain.

Consuming sugar is not necessarily a bad thing when done so by seeking out natural foods such as fruit, baby carrots, or other products made by Mother Nature. The problem we face today is that sugar is literally added to everything we eat including bread, ketchup, sweetened beverages, and even baked beans. Yes, that's right - baked beans! Refined and added sugars have become a major problem over the last few decades in the western diet, and it's only adding to the ongoing healthcare crisis we're seeing today.

Dr. Robert Lustig, a leading endocrinologist out of the University of California San Francisco, has been speaking out about the dangers of added sugar for several years now. His lecture on this topic, Sugar - The Bitter Truth, is one of the most highly viewed and well done presentations you'll find on what really happens inside the human body when added sugars are consumed in our diet. His talk opened up my eyes to how shady the food industry is and how their desire to increase profits by selling more sugary laden foods is destroying the health and well being of our nation. Dr. Lustig provides amazing insight to how sugar taxes the liver and the rest of the human body as it gets transformed into fat that ends up around our waistlines and mid-section. This has led to a dramatic increase in the obesity and diabetes epidemic we're see today in the United States.

I do have to caution you though that Dr. Lustig dismisses the fact that high fat foods, such as meat and dairy, have a major role in the chronic disease epidemic we're seeing currently in advanced nations where the western diet has taken hold around the world. This is a big mistake in my opinion as heart disease and cancer have been the top worldwide killers for well over a century now, long before added sugars became such a staple in today's western diet. With that being said, his presentation is still well worth your time and hopefully will make you rethink your shopping habits the next time you go to the grocery store.

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by Dustin Rudolph, PharmD
Clinical Pharmacist

Check out Dustin Rudolph's book The Empty Medicine Cabinet to start your journey towards better health. This step-by-step guide leads you through many of today's common chronic diseases (heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and more), giving you the facts on foods versus medications in treating these medical conditions. The book also contains an easy-to-follow guide on how to adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet as a part of an overall lifestyle change, producing the best possible health outcomes for you and your family. Hurry and get your copy today!

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Photo credit: JadeGordon (sxc.hu)

1 Rada P, Avena NM, Hoebel BG. Daily bingeing on sugar repeatedly releases dopamine in the accumbens shell. Neuroscience. 2005;134(3):737-44.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dustin, being a menber of the PBDers (9 years) I eat a very healthy diet but 6 months ago I developed gluten intolerance and I was pretty miserable and hurt for about two months. In giving up gluten products, I also decided to give up all sugar though I don't have a sweet tooth, I would have to confess I would sometimes have products with sugar though I haven't had a soft drink in over 25 years. And then I noticed their was a bonus for giving up wheat and sugar or either because my years of struggle with SAD was not with me this past winter and spring. What a joy to enjoy listening to the rain again and not pulling the covers over my head on grey days for the first time in 20 years.

    I'd be interested in hearing from others who might have had this experience.



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