Is Sugar Really That Bad For You?

If you roll your eyes at studies that tell you what to eat and what not to eat so that you can live a long, healthy, happy, prosperous life, get ready to roll.

Researchers have completed a study that was designed to determine if sugar is really the demon substance that we’ve been told that it is. Driving this research is the undeniable trend showing that in the United States more and more children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and cardiovascular disease at a younger age. In September, the youngest person ever to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes was a three year old girl.

The occurrence of these maladies are much more common in American children than they are in other countries such as Pakistan, India, and China which leads scientists to believe there is more to it than caloric intake.

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Sugar Study On Children Proves What We Think We Already Know

A study conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco and Touro University California involved 43 children between the ages of 9 and 18. All of the children were obese and had at least one other co-morbidity such as high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, and impaired fasting glucose.

During the 10-day study the children were provided specific foods to eat but it was not food that you would consider healthy fare. They ate kid-friendly foods like hot dogs, pasta, cereal, bagels and potato chips. But, the catch was their overall dietary sugar was reduced to 10 percent of their calories.

The children had to weigh themselves each day and if they lost weight they were instructed to eat more so they would maintain their original weight. This was done to prevent confusion as to whether the reduction in sugar or weight loss was having an effect on their health.

Despite intensive efforts to maintain the participant’s baseline body weights, at the end of the 10-day study, all participants experienced about a 1% loss. And all other makers were down including diastolic blood pressure, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, fasting triglycerides, and LDL.

Researchers have concluded that the health detriments of sugar, and fructose specifically, are independent of their caloric value or effects on weight.

Dr. Robert Lustig at the University of California, San Francisco, who has led studies on glucose and fructose says there is a direct link between sugar and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess belly fat and abnormal cholesterol. Lin says, “When you metabolize fructose in excess, your liver has no choice but to turn that energy into liver fat, and that liver fat causes all of the downstream metabolic diseases.”

What This Means For You

It is true that studies come and go and, in some cases, what was proved last year has since been debunked. However, I can’t imagine that a year from now scientist will be saying, “Nope. We were wrong. Sugar is good for you. Eat all you want.”

Whether your goal is to lose weight or improve your metabolic markers, when it comes to sugar, eating less of it is the way to go. The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons of added sugar a day for women and no more than nine a day for men. If your sugar intake is out of control, tracking your sugar to make sure you stay within the AHA guidelines is a good place to start.

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Exercise Is The Best Treatment For Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes Drugs Can Increase Cancer Risk

Today’s guest post is written by Aubrey Hayes, National Awareness Director of DrugWatch.com.

Losing weight may be the most important life change you can make if you have diabetes. More than 85 percent of people who have type 2 diabetes are obese. That means their body mass index is more than 30 kg/m2.  Being overweight doesn’t just make you more likely to have diabetes; it also increases your risk of congestive heart failure and cancer.

Moderate exercise is the best way to combat type 2 diabetes

If you aren’t exercising, you’re more likely to use medication to manage type 2 diabetes too. Some of the most popular drugs will add to your overall risk of heart and cancer complications. Actos, one of the best-selling type 2 diabetes drugs, has been shown to increase the risk of Actos bladder cancer by 83 percent.  Due to this, thousands of patients have filed Actos Lawsuits.

An ongoing study called Look AHEAD is researching the best way to use exercise to combat diabetes. So far the study shows people who become involved with personal trainers and other lifestyle counselors have the best chance of losing weight and keeping weight off after several years.

A loss of between 5 to 10 percent of body weight can prevent diabetes and improve symptoms if you have it. The key is to keep the weight off permanently. When people lose weight, but don’t have someone to keep them motivated, many of them regain their weight in three to five years.

Look AHEAD researched how effective personal trainers, psychologists and dieticians can be at helping people stay thin. In the study, they compared two groups. One group only received educational sessions on how to lose weight. The other group received a team of exercise, mental health and dietary lifestyle counselors to help them lose enough weight to improve diabetes.  In the interim results of the study, the group with the counselors kept off 3.6 percent more weight than the group without the extra help.

It’s true that professional health can be expensive, but compare the cost of a personal trainer to a lifetime of diabetes medication, hospital treatments and poor physical health.

By seeking professional help, you will add value — and maybe years — to your life.

Type 2 Diabetes Infographic From Healthline Shows Effects and Costs

Check out this infographic from Healthline that shows facts and statistics related to Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes can cause an array of health-related problems from kidney failure to blindness and the cost is scary.  In 2007 $174 billion was spent on the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes in the United States alone.

Thanks to Healthline for inviting me to share their infographic on my site. Please feel free to pass it on using the buttons at the bottom of the screen.

diabetes infographic

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What You Can Do To Lower Your Risk Of Developing Type 2 Diabetes:
Developing Type 2 Diabetes isn’t inevitable.  For information about prevention, check out the article I wrote a little while ago: My Cat Toby and Paula Deen Have Something In Common.

Feel free to share or tweet the infographic using the buttons at the bottom of the screen.

 

My Cat Toby and Paula Deen Have Something in Common

Toby Has Some Lifestyle Changes To Make

Diabetes Isn’t Fun For Felines Either 

Toby, our large, cuddly, purring, yellow tabby that has been with our family since my daughters were in grade school was diagnosed with diabetes this week.  We knew the diagnosis was coming.  All of the symptoms were there: unquenchable thirst, frequent urination, loss of appetite.

As much as we knew that we were going to be given the news of that particular disease, we were still hoping that maybe it was something else.  Something easier to manage.  Something that wouldn’t mean daily injections, a change in diet, and the worry as to how his body will handle the illness.

My husband said – the day before he was to go to the vet – that he thought Toby seemed better.  Maybe he didn’t need to go.  In a word, we were in denial.  As Toby’s parents, we had not done anything to prevent him from developing diabetes. It’s rather common in older cats that have been fed commercial cat food their entire lives.

Veterinarian Elizabeth Hodgkins has done extensive research on feline diabetes and says that the “massive amounts of cereal” in dry cat foods puts too many carbohydrates in the diet. It is the abundance of carbs in the food that causes the ailment.  She believes that a change in diet alone will not only prevent, but also treat feline diabetes. Cat owners that put their pets on a reduced carbohydrate diet can even rid them of their insulin dependency.

In Cats and Humans, Diabetes Is On The Rise

We’ve all heard about the increase in the number of cases of Type 2 Diabetes in the American population, particularly in children.  It seems cats and children in the United States are on the same path.  But why is that?

Let’s look at some of the risk factors that are known to lead to Type 2 Diabetes in people .  The first three are factors that we have no control over:

  • Genetics is believed to be the strongest link.  You may be predispositioned to the disease if your mother or father was diabetic.
  • Aging – The risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes begins to rise at age 45.  The risk rises considerably after the age of 65.
  • Ethnicity – African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans and Japanese Americans have a great risk of developing the disease than non-Hispanic whites.

Some Things We Can Change

This is a list of risks that we can control for the most part:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood triglyceride (fat) levels
  • Gestational diabetes (giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds)
  • High-fat diet
  • High alcohol intake
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Fighting Complacency

Being diagnosed, or having a loved one diagnosed, with diabetes no longer sounds the alarm the way it once did.  Because the disease is so prevalent in our society and we have easy-to-administer medications to treat it, when we hear about someone being newly diagnosed, our response is usually a yawn.

But it shouldn’t be.  We should be raising our children with an awareness of how important it is to eat nutritious foods that are low in fat, cholesterol, salt and sugar, and emphasize the value of physical activity.  As adults we have a responsibility to keep our blood pressure in check, watch our consumption of alcohol and fat intake.

We may not realize that our behaviors today may lead to Type 2 Diabetes down the road. Having a doctor deliver that news, however, is a life-changing experience. Once a person is diagnosed with diabetes their life involves continuous monitoring of blood sugars, often times daily injections of insulin, along with watching for symptoms of hyperglycemia (high) and hypoglycemia (low) blood sugars and controlling the highs and lows so that serious health problems don’t develop such as heart disease and damage to the nerves and kidneys.

No Big Surprise

Last week the world-wide-web was aflutter with the news of Paula Deen’s announcement that she has Type 2 Diabetes.  There were plenty of nasty attacks directed at the Southern Belle.  Some, I think, were overly harsh and unwarranted.  My reaction, and that of a member of the wellness team where I work, was a yawn.  Surely no one is really surprised.

Some of the negative media attention came from her waiting over two years to disclose to the public that she had been diagnosed as she worked through a partnership with a drug company that makes – you guessed it – diabetes medications.

We know the impact that a diet that has an abundance of salt, sugar, calories and fat will have on our waistline and our health.  I think that when the news broke about Paula, although people weren’t shocked, they were disappointed with her reluctance to admit that many of her own actions led to her disease.  She seemed unwilling to connect the dots for her audience.  People wanted to hear a clear-cut “I’m going to clean up my act and I want you to too,” statement from Paula.   None came.

Cleaning Up Toby’s Act

Over the years we’ve been guilty of putting food in the bowl for Toby even when we knew he was gaining weight, becoming less active, and eating out of boredom.  But he was so persistent and annoying with his begging and pestering that we succumbed to it. We are a family of individuals that cannot even stand up to a cat.

Now, unfortunately, because of us – the people he depends on for everything – he has an illness that can shorten his life, or at the very least diminish the quality of it.  I’m going to apologize to him for that as soon as he returns home from his stay at the animal hospital.   I’m also going to make sure he abides by his newly prescribed diet and gets his medicine.  I may even see if I can get him to take a walk with me on the dreadmill.