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consciouseating Sugar Monster

How Sweet It Isn’t by Kathleen Barnes

“Am I a sugar addict?” There’s an easy way to tell. “

f you have to ask yourself, you are,” advises Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, a renowned integrative physician in Kona, Hawaii, and author of Beat Sugar Addiction Now!


The dangers of excessive sugar consumption, especially of high- fructose corn syrup (HFCS), are well known. Yet such cheap, corn-based sweeteners account for nearly 56 per- cent of all sweeteners, especially in beverages.

The average American annually consumes 152 pounds of sugar, com- pared to 109 pounds in 1950, accord- ing to the U.S. Department of Agri- culture. A large portion is ingested as sugary liquids, including juices and an average of 46 gallons

of soft drinks a year—compared to 11 gallons 50 years ago.

Puts on Pounds Certainly, high-calorie sugars trigger weight gain, but it may be news that calories from sugar act differently in the body than those from other foods. “Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar makes you fat,” states Dr. John Salerno, direc- tor of The Salerno Center for Comple- mentary Medicine, in New York, Tokyo and Sao Paolo, Brazil.

“Eating carbohydrates quickly raises blood sugar (glucose), prompt- ing the release of insulin to transport the glucose not immediately needed for energy, to the cells,” Salerno explains in his new

book, The Salerno Solution: An Ounce of Prevention, a Lifetime of Health. “If there is more glucose than you need, the remainder is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen, and then convert- ed to fat.”

Killing Effect While the negative effects of excess sugar consumption have been documented for decades, “Evidence is mounting that sugar is the primary cause of obesity, plus many chronic and lethal diseases,” says Osteo- pathic Physician Joseph Mercola, of Hoff- man Estates, Illinois, who runs the highly popular natural health website, Mercola. com, and has authored books that include The No-Grain Diet and Sweet Deception. “Excessive fructose consumption leads to insulin resistance that appears to be the root of many, if not most, chronic diseases,” says Mercola. Beyond the obvious association with obesity, hyper- tension, Type 2 diabetes, liver and heart disease and Alzheimer’s have all been linked to sugar, according to the Nation- al Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Institutes of Health. “Sugar, in excess, is a toxin, un- related to its calories,” says Dr. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist and professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. “The dose de- termines the poison. Like alcohol, a little sugar is fine, but a lot is not. And the food industry has put us way over our limit.” Sugar can be addictive, continues Lustig. “It has clear potential for abuse. Like tobacco and alcohol, sugar acts on the brain to encourage subsequent intake.”

Risky Substitutes

No-calorie artificial sweeteners can be equally dangerous by convincing us we are bypassing calories. The 5,000-participant San Antonio Heart Study, which followed subjects for seven to eight years, showed that adults consuming regular or diet soft drinks were likely to gain weight, but those that drank the diet versions were more

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