28 Mar The Sugar Industry and its Scheme to Fool Us
In the 1950s, scientists raised red flags about the unhealthy relationship between sugar consumption and cardiovascular disease—but because the key research was funded by the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF), an international sugar trade organization, the warnings were never publicized. Instead, they were conveniently concealed to protect the sugar industry.
Research Links Sugar to Heart Disease and Obesity
We now know the truth. A few years ago researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) examined sugar industry internal documents(1) from the 1960s and 1970s uncovering long-hidden truths that manufacturers of sugary foods would prefer us to ignore.
The analysis revealed documented research linking sugar consumption with cardiovascular disease. But the health hazard was buried deep in the corporate vaults.
Rather, a momentous (yet erroneous) decision was made to single out fat as the dietary causes of cardiovascular disease—this has had a lasting impact on US dietary policy and public health.
Although the sugar industry tried to cover up the connection between sugar and heart disease, the latest research increasingly confirms a relationship between the two.
Diets high in sugar increase risk factors for cardiovascular disease and obesity, including insulin resistance, blood glucose, and inflammation. Diets high in sugar(2) are associated with a threefold increased risk of heart disease in adults. Also, added sugars contribute to cardiovascular disease and obesity in children at intake levels well under the current consumption levels.
Sugar Intake and Obesity
Sugar intake has increased threefold since the 1950s, and the rate of obesity is growing right along with it.
- The average American consumes an astounding 57 pounds(4) of added sugars per year.
- In the US, close to 40% of adults(5) and nearly 1 in 5 school age children and young people are obese.
Obesity is an effect. Insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and inflammation, for example, are presumed mechanisms. Excess consumption of sugar, carbohydrates, highly processed food, and food toxins (wheat, liquid fructose, seed oils, etc.), stress, exposure to environmental chemicals, infections, etc. are presumed causes.
Let's take a closer look at how sugar impacts your health and weight.
Sugar Addiction Leads to Weight Gain and Obesity
Once you eat something sugary, your taste receptors activate and send signals to your brain that set off an entire cascade of stimulation. In particular, the sugar activates your dopamine reward circuit and makes you feel good—this is the same pathway in the brain that mediates the response to rewarding stimuli such as food, social interactions, sex, and drugs.
The reward circuitry is designed to increase your likelihood of engaging in behavior that produces feelings of pleasure and euphoria driving you to seek out substances or rewarding experiences repeatedly.
When sugar activates the dopamine reward circuit, it also initiates anticipation and food seeking behavior. So as your reward pathway is repeatedly stimulated, the dopamine receptors become desensitized and need more dopamine to get the same euphoric feeling.
Therefore, to elicit the same response, there needs to be more consumption of, in this case, sugary food or drink. This increase in sugar consumption results in weight gain and obesity among children and adults.
Also, obese people show dysfunction(6) in the dopamine reward circuit meaning that these individuals require a higher level of sugar to get the "feel-good" levels of dopamine in their brains—this is a classic example of tolerance, which is a key feature of addiction.
Sugar Leads to Weight Gain and Obesity
Too much added sugar affects the balance of hormones that manage critical functions in your body. Sugar increases glucose levels in your bloodstream, which leads your pancreas to stimulate the release of insulin. Raised levels of insulin, in turn, cause the body to deposit more calories as fat.
Insulin also affects your hormone called leptin, which is a natural appetite suppressant that tells the brain when you are full and to stop eating. An imbalance in insulin levels, along with copious consumption of certain sugars, especially fructose, is linked to leptin resistance(7), in which the brain no longer receives the message to stop eating, thus supporting weight gain and obesity.
Leptin resistance was beneficial at one point in time. It enabled our ancestors to survive long periods of limited food supply by encouraging them to overeat when plenty of food was available and allowing the conservation of more calories as fat.
In today's world, this function is not a benefit. And it's no surprise that people with leptin resistance also tend to feel sluggish, making it a challenge to be active and therefore contribute to further weight gain.
Prevent Weight Gain and Obesity
An abundant body of scientific evidence shows that we should reduce our consumption of refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and artificial sweeteners as much as we can to have a positive effect on our health. However, this doesn’t mean we need to be afraid of natural sugars in whole, real foods. For example, the sugars contained in a sweet potato or whole fruit do not have the same influence on your health as a candy bar or soda.
In my Practice
In my practice, I have seen thousands of patients with excess weight and symptoms of fatigue, low energy, and low focus. I have seen many patients that are on heart medicines and statins, diabetic, and whom have cancer. And perhaps one of the biggest culprits is excess sugar in their diet.
My primary therapy is therefore to help their bodies regain their inherent ability to heal itself, and we achieve this by drastically reducing their sugar consumption. This realigns their natural healing processes, awakening their health and balance.