I don’t want to sound like an alarmist but the more I’m reading about added sugar, the more I realize how much better off I am without it! My curiosity has lead me to this week’s article on what eating too much added sugar actually does to the human body. I started by looking at the health association websites to find position statements on the effects of added sugar on cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and then broadened my scope to the Harvard and Web MD type websites. I did find a few disconnects when it came to getting real answers. In the meantime, while more research needs to be done, most sites agree to stop eating the white stuff and start eating more of the real stuff!

1) Sugar and Obesity

There is no definitive statement that says that sugar causes obesity. What we do know is that there are plenty of calories in sugar and we certainly don’t need the ones from added sugar as they provide no real nutrients. As discussed in my last article, added sugar can cause the brain to think you’re still hungry after you've eaten: it doesn’t tell you when you’re full, and is addictive. It would seem to me that one could conclude that sugar causes obesity and the Heart and Stroke website agrees!

2) Sugar and Heart Disease

The Heart and Stroke website’s position statement: "Excess sugar consumption is associated with adverse health effects including heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, cancer and dental caries (cavities)." They go on to say: "Individuals who consume greater than or equal to 10% but less than 25% of total energy (calories) from added sugar have a 30% higher risk of death from heart disease or stroke when compared to those who consume less than 10%. For those who consume 25% or more of calories from added sugar, the risk is nearly tripled." (1) I guess it’s safe to assume that added sugar is not good for your heart!

3) Sugar and Cancer

Many of the cancer websites agree that sugar does not cause cancer. Cancer.ca 's position is that “eating sugar does not make cancer cells grow.” The site does say that ‘Being overweight increases your risk of cancer” (2) and we know that eating too much sugar increases your chances of being overweight.

4) Sugar and Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes.ca quotes “From 2000 to 2010, the prevalence of diabetes in Canada doubled from 1.3 million to 2.5 million people. Today, more than one in four Canadians live with diabetes or prediabetes.”(3) They go on to say that while researchers haven’t found a direct link between eating added sugar and diabetes, there is an increased risk of diabetes with obesity. And we know that eating too much sugar increases your risk of being overweight. There does seem to be a direct link between type 2 diabetes and sugar sweetened beverages, and the Diabetes association is recommending Canada join other countries in putting an added tax on these sugary drinks. Just this week the Dietitians of Canada released a position statement saying that all sugary drinks should be taxed 10-20% (see article below)

5) Sugar and Chronic Inflammation

I am most interested in sugar, chronic inflammation and athletic performance but also found the greatest disconnect here in terms of agreement. If you look on the more holistic websites, they strongly suggest that added sugar causes chronic inflammation and we should be eating a low sugar anti-inflammatory diet. Other more evidence-based websites agree that we should follow an anti-inflammatory diet but can’t prove that sugar is the cause of the inflammation. I did find a few studies showing inflammation markers drop when people lose body fat but is that because they ate less sugar or just dropped 5% body fat?

One of the reasons I stopped eating added sugars was to help in producing healthy stem cells so that the stem cell procedure which I had done on my knee would have a better success rate. Dr. Centenno, a world renowned stem cell therapy doctor from Regenexx Colorado, has seen in his research that there is a relationship between high triglycerides, chronic inflammation and osteoarthritis.(4,5) So for now, I will put all the chances on my side.

While sitting in my office chair, I must confess I have been uncomfortable about writing this article. My intention is to share what I have learned about what added sugar can do to our health, but I am not a Doctor. Ultimately it is your choice about what you eat and whether you think added sugars really do have adverse effects on your body. And that my friends, is the Sugar Coated Truth.

If you would like help kick starting your way to healthy changes, shoot me an email. We can trade in the added sugar for healthier options and get you training to your maximum potentital now! julia@pbest.ca

Coming up next: Added sugar and atheletes: Sticky gels, power candy bars and Gaotr drinks. Do we really need all of those processed products to keep us fueled?

(1) http://www.heartandstroke.on.ca/site/c.pvI3IeNWJwE/b.9201375/k.48EB/Sugar_heart_disease_and_stroke.htm

(2) http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-101/what-is-a-risk-factor/diet/sugar/?region=bc

(3) http://www.diabetes.ca/about-cda/public-policy-position-statements/sugars

(4) http://www.regenexx.com/how-can-i-grow-more-stem-cells-top-10-list-of-things-to-do/

(5) http://www.regenexx.com/more-on-blood-sugar-control-and-knee-arthritis/

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