Friday, May 18, 2012

Bad news for us sugar lovers Part 1

Several videos are circulating on you-tube of Dr. Robert Lustig,a  pediatric endocrinologist studying obesity in children. His findings have prompted a 60 Minutes episode on the evils of the sweet stuff. That, in essence, it isn't fat that is killing us, although too much fat contributes. But it is sugar that now appears to have a direct (and I do mean direct) impact on our "bad" cholesterol levels and likely contributes to build up of plaque in the arteries (also known as heart disease). It may also be feeding certain cancers, like colon cancer and perhaps breast cancer. Research is showing these cancers have glucose (sugar) receptors and pull sugar from the blood and feed on it. This, of course, goes beyond the eat sugar and gain weight and deal with those indirect consequences, like poor self-image or joint pain or maybe diabetes down the road. We eat it, it goes in our blood, and does us little good, if not actual harm.

I've been off dessert for more than two years now and that has cut my sugar consumption massively. But not before I ended up with what's called "fatty liver." My body has been running on carbs (sugar) for decades. First alcohol, which is sugar, and then sugar, which is sugar. Because of it, my body has gotten poor at burning fat and is storing the fat I eat everywhere in my body, including in my liver, which impedes my body's ability to burn fat even more.

I didn't know any of this back then. I just worried about being a drunk and then about being fat. And if I had known, it might not have made any difference. I knew the way I drank wasn't good for me, and I still didn't stop for years and year. I knew eating a gallon of ice cream a day wasn't good for me and I did that for years and years. I was also eating healthy food and exercising and doing lots of therapy and other good things for myself. And that seemed like it should be enough.

But I don't believe these findings are inaccurate. I know only too well that since we all started eating low fat (which means high sugar), we've all gotten fatter and fatter and less and less healthy. Me included. Now what?

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