To Eat or Not to Eat: No Question

Here are two article headlines from THE WEEK magazine that say a mouthful.  The first is “Eat produce, live longer” in the March 17, 2017 issue and the second is “Sugar, America’s favorite drug.”

The first report is taken from a study from Imperial College London.  Researchers analyzed 95 studies on diet and well-being and concluded that daily intake of 10 portions of fruit and vegetables, or 28 ounces of fresh produce is “associated with a 33 percent reduced risk of stroke, a 13 percent drop in cancer risk, and a 31 percent lower risk for premature death.”  This type of diet reduces cholesterol levels and blood pressure while improving circulatory health and strengthening the immune system.  No prescription drug is as effective as the fresh produce.

The sugar article describes how sugar came to be so popular: “Big Sugar” mounted an aggressive advertising campaign in the 1970’s and combined this with “scientific” misinformation about the benefits of sugar.

Too much refined sugar affects the liver and results in the body having difficulties managing that sugar. This ultimately leads to heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes from “insulin resistance.”  Insulin resistance means the body produces more and more insulin to handle all the sugar but the insulin becomes less and less effective.   This requires the body to produce more and more insulin.  The problem with this is that the excess insulin is very inflammatory and associated with the increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer.

Where do we find all of this sugar?  We find it in the processed foods we purchase.  Eighty percent of supermarket foods contain it.  “The average American adult downs 22 teaspoons of the stuff a day, the average child 32.”  Sugar is an addicting drug as noted in animal studies and as experienced by those of us who want to stop eating it.

Bottom line: I cannot caution you enough about eating sugar.  Seriously curtail your intake.  You want to munch?  Eat fresh veggies.  You want sweet?  Eat some fruit.


About Cathie Lippman, M.D.

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