Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More Dietary Sugar Increases Diabetes Risk

In what would be considered a "Duh..." to most people but not to doctors and hospital nutritionists, scientists have now shown that eating more sugar increases the risk of diabetes.

Those who have been in the hospital with a diagnosis of diabetes are often surprised that they are served sugary foods.  I was taught in medical school, and the dieticians are taught that a carb is a carb is a carb.  It doesn't matter if it is fruit or a cup of pudding, when it has the same amount of carbohydrates the body treats it in the same way.

Doctors have always considered obesity to be the "only" risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes.  They thought it was the amount of calories people were eating that created the problem and not the type of food.  However, in this landmark study, lead author Dr. Sanjay Basu, an assistant professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, and colleagues examined data on global sugar availability and diabetes rates from 175 countries over the past decade.

The study, published in the journal PLoS One, found, after accounting for obesity and a large array of other factors, increased sugar in a population's food supply was linked to higher type 2 diabetes rates, independent of obesity rates.

"It was quite a surprise," Basu said in a statement. The research was conducted while Basu was a medical resident at University of California, San Francisco, and working with senior author Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

"We're not diminishing the importance of obesity at all, but these data suggest that at a population level there are additional factors that contribute to diabetes risk besides obesity and total calorie intake, and that sugar appears to play a prominent role," the researchers said.

For every additional 150 calories of sugar available per person per day, the prevalence of diabetes in the population rose 1 percent, even after controlling for obesity, physical activity, other types of calories and a number of economic and social variables, the study found.

With the dramatic addition of sugar and high fructose corn syrup to processed foods over the last fifty years, this finally explains to doctors and scientists the major epidemic of Diabetes Type 2 that has exploded in the last 20 years and continues to rise.  Children and teens are now being diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2 at rates that have never been seen before. 
Sugary foods have become so engrained in our society that they are almost impossible to escape.  Sugar cereal for breakfast, a can of soda with lunch, candy bars or sugar laden granola bars for snacks, desserts after dinner, a bowl of ice cream before bed, have become the Standard American Diet (SAD).  It is rare to find any processed food without fairly high levels of sugar in it.  The "Low Fat" craze became the high sugar phase to keep the taste palatable.
Simple sugars when eaten in higher amounts than found in nature have a drug-like effect on the body, and it is easy to become addicted.  It acts as a powerful neurotransmitter to give a high to the brain.  In today's stress-filled world, we often reach for a sugary snack or drink to calm down without really realizing it.
It takes a lot of work and effort to eat a healthy diet low in sugar.  The less processed the food the better, but this is hard in today's society of eat and run, where our young people are no longer taught how to cook homemade, nutritious meals.  But it is amazing how much better most people feel when they cut sugar our of their diet and eat more whole, natural foods.
To learn more about diabetes or pre-diabetes, how to know if you have it, the best diet for prevention and treatment, about the medications and how to treat it more naturally, download my free e-book on this page:
Until we meet again,
Dr. Judi

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