Lent: Day 9
Just checking in to confirm that the healthy eating continues.
Today, I found a lecture on sugar by Dr. Robert Lustig who is a doctor of pediatric medicine at the University of California San Francisco specializing in pediatric obesity. I was curious to watch this because I was concerned that one of my purposes for this clean eating diet was to try to control my sugar cravings yet I find all the things in the diet I like to eat are things like “sweet” potatoes, quinoa, almonds, etc. all which have at least some sugars in them.
The lecture above is an hour and a half but if you don’t have time to watch it, here are some of the interesting points I learned:
- Natural sugars come in three forms: glucose (found primarily in dried and fresh fruits, honey, juice, grains, beans, vegetables and nuts), sucrose (table sugar, molasses, brown sugar, etc.) and fructose (in fruits but most of us encounter this as high fructose corn syrup in sodas and prepared foods).
- Glucose is the sugar of life and our body knows how to use this sugar well. Glucose has a glycemic index of 74 which is not particularly sweet. Most glucose containing foods are paired with fiber which helps reduce the sugar release in the body. Glucose also pairs nicely with insulin and will release satiety signals when you are full.
- Milk sugars (lactose) are not very sweet at all, registering around 15 (good news for my milk-addicted children).
- Sucrose (table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup are essentially the same. They are both bad for you and equally dangerous. Fructose (except in fruit where it is paired with fiber) has extra dangers because it generally can only be metabolized by the liver. It causes the body to produce many problematic substances, including the most dangerous form of LDL cholesterol. Fructose is much sweeter than sucrose and new lab-generated fructose is almost twice as sweet as sugar.
- A high sugar diet is essentially a high fat diet because your body will convert all that sugar to the dangerous form of LDL cholesterol. Science made a nutritional mistake about 30 years ago when we switched to low-fat diets. When we did this, we began eating low-fiber, high-sugar foods instead.
- Exercise is important not because it burns calories (because it is almost impossible to burn enough to make a noticeable difference in your daily calorie intake) but rather because 1) it increases your skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity and helps bring your insulin down 2) it reduces your stress leading to less stress eating and 3) it helps you burn off some of the bad byproducts of sucrose and fructose consumption before they can be made into fat.
- “Soda belly” and “beer belly” are the same for metabolic purposes. “Fructose is ethanol without the buzz.”
- “A calorie is not a calorie.” “Eating less and exercising more does not work.” He argues that we need to change our diets to cut out as much sucrose and fructose as we can and argues that sugars alone can account for the obesity epidemic including symptoms such as high blood pressure.
Definitely some food for thought!