There was a recent 60 Minutes broadcast about sugar being toxic. The premise of the story, relied on the theory of an endocrinologist in San Francisco, Dr. Robert Lustig. His theory is not new, and is based upon his practice and research. However, other obesity experts do not agree, nor do I – about sugar being the underlying toxin in our environment. By the way, eating sugar doesn't cause Type 2 diabetes - obesity does.
The fact is, we as a nation have been eating more calories and expending less. It’s the simple law of physics: Energy in – Energy Out. Overweight and obesity are caused by an accumulation of lifestyle habits and behaviors – not the ingredient du jour.
The challenge with demonizing the word “sugar” in this discussion – is that many believe that sugar (aka carbohydrate) is BAD… which would include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and even milk products. The foods left to consume would be meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and oil. Recent research suggests eating less beef (not necessarily eliminating it), would increase longevity. Note, non-nutritive sweeteners are not the answer (http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/08/16/skinny-on-sweeteners/).
Blood sugar is called blood glucose. It is not table sugar. All foods are made up of one of three macronutrients: amino acids (protein), fatty acids or carbohydrates. Regardless of the origin of carbohydrates, once they are absorbed from the small intestine, they are transported to the liver, and sent out to the body as glucose. Glucose is the master fuel for the body and brain. Just ask any endurance athlete if they load up on protein or fat to sustain their workouts.
Serving sizes are not the same as portion sizes. The portions listed on packages are supposed to be standardized by the food type (i.e. – all beverage are eight fluid ounces) in order to show the required Nutrition Fact panel. Some packages reflect the calorie of one package (like a 12 ounce soda can being one can versus 1.5 servings per container). The grams of sugar on a food label do not distinguish added sugars from naturally occurring carbohydrates – which is why this is so misleading to rely upon.
The solution is to CHOOSE foods that are closer to the way they are found in nature. It is okay if you eat food out of a package (after all, bread and pasta come out of package). Canned and frozen vegetables are examples of “packaged” plant foods that can be affordable and nutritious. Too many food “rules” will leave you and your family with very little left to consume – unless you live on a farm and grow it all yourself.