The Ecology of Humans (49-2) Health Implications of Sugar

Health Implications
It seems like every time I study an illness and trace a path to the first cause, I find my way back to sugar. ~ American nephrologist Richard Johnson

Bodily, sugar acts addictively in multiple ways. Sugar unbalances the hunger hormone ghrelin. Sugar disrupts leptin, a hormone helpful to feeling sated. Sugar dupes dopamine signaling to reduce the pleasure from food, compelling greater consumption.

Overconsumption of derived fructose over time can lead to liver toxicity and a host of other chronic diseases. While glucose is readily metabolized by all cells, the liver hogs fructose for processing.

Fructose engenders uric acid production, which raises blood pressure. That fructose damages the liver like alcohol comes as no surprise in considering that alcohol is derived from fermented sugar.

The average American consumes the equivalent of 22.7 teaspoons of sugar each day. The upshot has been a rocketing of diabetes in the population, from 2% in 1973 to over 7% by 2013 and still climbing.

In 1900, only 5% of people worldwide had high blood pressure. The pressure has built. Now 1/3rd of adults on the planet are closer to expiration from cardiovascular disease.

Through animal experiments, including humans, English physiologist John Yudkin showed in the late 1950s that a high sugar diet led to elevated levels of insulin and fat in the blood; risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. His well-researched message was drowned out by reductionist biochemists jumping to wrong conclusions about the source of dietary health problems.

Along the same lines as sugar being satisfactory food, eggs got blamed for their cholesterol, and fats for being fatty. Instead, eggs are healthsome, albeit too high in protein, and healthy plant-based fats in the diet should be most welcome in moderate measure.

Much of the misdirection in not attributing sugar as the culprit of dietary distress came from the sugar industry, which paid scientists to find fault with fat instead. (A 1965 study that found ill effects in rats on a high-sugar diet had its funding by the sugar industry terminated just before completion. The damning evidence was never published.) Playing nutritionists like pawns, a half-century of dietary recommendations were shaped by the sugar industry. Unsurprisingly, the American Medical Association was duped (doctors receive no education in research methodology and lack the skepticism that comes on the coattails of being a lawyer).

They were able to derail the discussion about sugar for decades. It was a very smart thing the sugar industry did because review papers, especially if you get them published in a very prominent journal, tend to shape the overall scientific discussion. ~ American educator Stanton Glantz