Dr. Mark Wiley called it “death by sugar.”
Drinking just one can of sugary soda per day can triple your risk of having a stroke.
For decades, the sugar industry has tried to get us to believe that fat is the killer behind heart disease when really, it’s sugar that puts a strain on the heart, even in otherwise healthy people.
And, of course, consuming too much is a direct cause of weight gain and obesity.
Now, there’s new evidence that even modest amounts of the sweet stuff in your diet will cause your body to produce more of its own fat, a development that could prove deadly.
Sugar makes your liver produce too much fat
Researchers at the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland have shown that even a small amount of sugar if consumed daily, will lead to changes in metabolism that cause fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes.
Ninety-four healthy young men took part in the study. Every day for a period of seven weeks, they consumed a drink sweetened with either fructose (the sweetest kind), glucose (found in all carbohydrates), or sucrose (table sugar — a combination of fructose and glucose).
In the fructose group, the body’s own fat production in the liver was twice as high as in the glucose group. Particularly surprising was that the sugar we most commonly consume, sucrose, boosted fat synthesis slightly more than the same amount of fructose. Until now, it was thought that fructose was most likely to cause such changes.
While this is alarming, there’s something even more disturbing.
“… the overactive fat production continues for a longer period of time, even if no more sugar is consumed,” says study leader Philipp Gerber of the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Clinical Nutrition.
In other words, fructose and sucrose double fat production beyond food intake. So, even after you’re done drinking the equivalent of just one can of soda, your body is still at work producing excess fat in your liver — for up to 12 hours, they found!
This excess fat production is a significant first step in the development of both fatty liver disease and type-2 diabetes.
How to cut back on sneaky added sugars
The World Health Organization recommends limiting daily sugar consumption to around 50 grams or, even better, 25 grams. But the American Heart Association says the average American consumes about 77 grams per day. A lot of that is added sugar “hidden” in products we think may be good for us or would not contain sugar as an ingredient.
Consider this: there’s sugar hiding in your pasta sauce, granola bars, low-fat yogurt, pre-made soups and even in that serving of coleslaw that comes with your sandwich!
Here are some tips for eliminating these hidden added sugars from your diet.
Read food labels. Look for the many names it hides under, including:
- Evaporated cane juice
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Brown rice syrup
- Barley malt
Opt for fresh fruit. Not all fruit is created equal when it comes to sugar. With the water removed, dried fruit has more sugar by volume than fresh fruit. For example, a small box of raisins has 25g, while a half cup of grapes has only 12g. Whole, fresh fruit also contains fiber that helps your body process sugar from fruit.
Skip the soda. Sweetened soda has recently been linked to breast cancer deaths in women. For a refreshing drink, try fruit-infused water, or water with a splash of unsweetened fruit juice.
Cook that fruit! Think baked apples, poached pears, or grilled pineapple. If it’s a sweet taste you’re craving, then cooking your fruit will bring out more of its natural sweetness.
Bake with applesauce. Use unsweetened applesauce in place of sugar when you bake muffins, bread or cakes. Since applesauce is watery, you’ll want to reduce the other liquids in your recipe by about a quarter-cup.
Watch that takeout coffee! Check the nutrition information for your favorite coffee shop beverage. Flavored and specialty coffee drinks are often loaded with sneaky sugar.
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Consumption of added sugar doubles fat production — Scieince Daily
How much sugar is too much? — American Heart Association
Surprising Sources of Hidden Sugar — Web MD