Monday, May 2, 2011

The 100 Day Sugar Challenge Intro

My new years resolution was to give up high fructose corn syrup for 2011. When I made the resolution, I honestly didn't do any research beforehand. I just knew it was bad and wanted to ditch it to become more healthy. After making the resolution, I began reading articles about sugar in general. Turns out regular sugar is basically the same thing as high fructose corn syrup and they could both be toxic to our bodies.

High fructose corn syrup made its debut in America in the late 70's as a "healthful alternative" to sugar. This is around the time nutritionists said that we needed to cut fat from our diets. Food companies started the low-fat craze and added lots of sugar (low in fat, high in calories) while taking out most of the fiber to make their products taste better.

Sucrose, also known as refined sugar (brown or white), is a 50/50 carbohydrate mixture of the molecule fructose and the molecule glucose. High fructose corn syrup is a 55/45 molecule mixture with more fructose than glucose. It doesn't matter the amount of fructose, its processed in your body the same way. Also honey, agave, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and 100% fruit juice all are made with the molecule fructose. Even though they are healthier choices, they can't fool your liver into thinking they aren't fructose. :(

Robert Lustig, the leading expert in childhood obesity at the University of California San Fran School of Medicine gave a lectured called, " Sugar- The Bitter Truth," which has made its way to Youtube with over a million views. (I highly encourage you to find an hour and a half to watch the video. It is truly eye opening and entertaining.) Lustig claims that the human body metabolizes fructose in a way that is harmful- just like alcohol without the high. He even makes a hard hitting statement in the video saying you wouldn't give your child a beer because you know it's poison. Fructose even shares 8 of the 12 chronic exposure effects as ethanol- hypertension, myocardial infraction, dyslipemia, pancreatitis, obesity, hepatic dysfunction, fetal insulin resistance, and habituation- if not addiction.

Lustig also describes fructose as "isocaloric but not isometabolic." This means that our bodies process starch carbs one way and sugar carbs in another. So if we eat rice that has 100 calories and eat a candy bar that has 100 calories, our bodies will process them differently and metabolic consequences aren't the same. Starch carbs can actually be metabolized throughout your whole body which gets turned into glucose and then becomes energy. Fructose can only be metabolized in the liver which converts most of it into fat.

It is said Americans consume 63 POUNDS of sugar in a year! If you drink one 20 oz. coke a day, you will have consumed 26 pounds of sugar in a year just from soda.
Lustig also says that fructose doesn't stimulate leptin or ghrelin. Both are hormones that tell your body that you need more or less to eat. That's why you are still hungry after devouring a box of chocolate or even when your kids eat a pb&j.

Here are some other facts about sugar:

*Raises Triglycerides . If you eat high levels (think 2 sodas a day with no other sugar) your triglyceride levels will double causing you to gain weight.

*Causes Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is when your body ignores the action of the hormone insulin, also known as becoming insulin resistant. Your body releases insulin when you eat something to control your blood sugar. Fructose doesn't appropriately stimulate insulin when you eat like it does with other foods.

*Can lead to Diabetes.

*Can cause Liver Disease. Since the liver does all of the work metabolizing fructose and turns it into fats, we are getting fatty livers. This is also called hepatic dysfunction, also known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

*Hypertension. Fructose creates uric acid (a toxic waste our bodies create and can cause kidney stones and gout) that blocks the enzyme our bodies need to make nitric oxide.

*Causes Advanced Glycation End Products. You know when you make barbecue chicken and the sugar crusts into a brown layer? That's what sugar is doing to our arteries and is causing heart disease.

*Other sugar implications are: Preeclampsia, cancer, Alzheimer's, kidney disease, obesity, elevated LDL (low-density lipoprotein), and inflammation.

This information was hard to process for a sugarholic like myself. I love sweets. But I am also overweight. I am eating healthier than ever, and yet I'm 35 pound heavier than I'd like to be. After doing my sugar research I decided to take a 100 day challenge. Over the next 100 days I will only eat 15 grams of fructose a day. After day 1, I learned it was impossible for me to give up 100% sugar (other than fruits and veggies) because sugar is truly hidden in everything.

Join me on my blog
to see what I learn over the next 100 days!

If you are interested in the subject, you can find articles at Dr. Mercola, New York Times, Science Daily, and of course watch Dr. Lustig's video.

Thanks to Dr. Mercola, I have a great cheat sheet below on the levels of fructose in fruits since I will need to feed my sweet tooth somehow. ;)

FruitServing SizeGrams of Fructose
Limes1 medium0
Lemons1 medium0.6
Cranberries1 cup0.7
Passion fruit1 medium0.9
Prune1 medium1.2
Apricot1 medium1.3
Guava2 medium2.2
Date (Deglet Noor style)1 medium2.6
Cantaloupe1/8 of med. melon2.8
Raspberries1 cup3.0
Clementine1 medium3.4
Kiwifruit1 medium3.4
Blackberries1 cup3.5
Star fruit1 medium3.6
Cherries, sweet103.8
Strawberries1 cup3.8
Cherries, sour1 cup4.0
Pineapple1 slice
(3.5" x .75")
Grapefruit, pink or red1/2 medium4.3
FruitServing SizeGrams of Fructose
Boysenberries1 cup4.6
Tangerine/mandarin orange1 medium4.8
Nectarine1 medium5.4
Peach1 medium5.9
Orange (navel)1 medium6.1
Papaya1/2 medium6.3
Honeydew1/8 of med. melon6.7
Banana1 medium7.1
Blueberries1 cup7.4
Date (Medjool)1 medium7.7
Apple (composite)1 medium9.5
Persimmon1 medium10.6
Watermelon1/16 med. melon11.3
Pear1 medium11.8
Raisins1/4 cup12.3
Grapes, seedless (green or red)1 cup12.4
Mango1/2 medium16.2
Apricots, dried1 cup16.4
Figs, dried1 cup23.0

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