Warnings to Cut Sugar “Based on Weak Evidence + Not to Be Trusted”
Or so says a study which was the focus of an article (1) in last week’s NY Times.
Guess that means it’s great news for everyone who’s made cutting down on, or eliminating sugar completely one of their top resolutions (or ideally, goals) for the start of the new year?
Not so fast.
It takes no further investigation than to see who funded this study; “the review was paid for by the International Life Sciences Institute, a scientific group that is based in Washington, D.C., and is funded by multinational food and agrochemical companies including Coca-Cola, General Mills, Hershey’s, Kellogg’s, Kraft Foods and Monsanto. One of the authors is a member of the scientific advisory board of Tate & Lyle, one of the world’s largest suppliers of high-fructose corn syrup.”
Ah! That explains it.
The article goes on to further clarify that, “review is the latest in a series of efforts by the food industry to shape global nutrition advice by supporting prominent academics who question the role of junk food and sugary drinks in causing obesity, Type 2 diabetes and other health problems.”
The issue isn’t just that we’re being fed inaccurate information about whether everything in moderation is actually ok (it’s not; don’t forget, sugar is a drug and even a little, for many people, is far too much. A study in rats (2) found that a brain region important for pleasure was activated more strongly when the animals were exposed to Oreos compared to cocaine), it’s a multi-faceted problem and reducing or omitting the amount of obvious sugars is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Someone with the very best of intentions could be steering clear of candies, cakes, cookies and pouring white sugar into their coffee but not realizing the affect of still eating a diet which is too high in carbohydrate, still too low in fat, still too low in overall calories (cyclically, that is… until days or weeks of attempting too strict of a regime backfires, creating the all too familiar, for many, yo-yo effect) and still made up of an unfavorable macro nutrient ratio could very well still be leading themselves, albeit unknowingly, down the path to pre-diabetes, weight gain, poor mental focus and low quality sleep to name just a few of the risks of eating in this manner.
A study published by Harvard (3) showed a low-carb diet was most beneficial for lowering triglycerides, the main fat-carrying particle in the bloodstream, and also delivered the biggest boost in protective HDL cholesterol.
And too much fruit factors in here, too (4).
While avoiding fruit completely doesn’t necessarily have to be the answer, understanding the glycemic load of fruit and when it makes sense to incorporate them strategically into your regime (a handful of berries on your salmon salad after a morning run, sure. A ripe banana sitting at your desk in at 10am? Not so much).
Once again- it’s back to basics:
- Eat in Balance. Not too much protein, not too much fruit. Eat plenty of veggies; enough to cover your plate, then douse on a hefty portion of a variety of natural fats (olive oil, avocado, coconut oil as well as oiler fish like wild salmon and black cod and a balance of lean as well as fattier cuts of grass fed meats and organs.
- Eat in Season. What grows near you is inherently fresher, will taste better and will be healthier for the planet due to reduced carbon footprint.
- Eat Simply. Those very local veggies and proteins which were sourced very close to where they grew, ran or swam will taste better as well, eliminating the need for sauces, flavorings and dressings.
- Count the number of steps it took to get to your plate and ingredients. Picked and cooked? Hunted and chopped? Fished and sliced? Perfect. Compare that to the number of steps to create a grain or sugar-based, boxed, mixed item. If you are using something from a bottle or container, which we all do now and then, such as olive oil, check for a very short list, as in one. And make sure you can clearly identify those one or two things on the list as food!
- Make it a priority to educate yourself and your family. There are no short cuts. Even if you’re reading this and thinking about how much longer it will take to lose the extra weight following a real food approach, compared to a quick fix, potentially dangerous diet, know it’s worth it in the long run.
Eat food (vegetables, wild proteins and ample sources of natural fats), don’t eat things that are not food, and move.
That’s the big secret! Now let’s all do our part to get the word out that it’s not a secret at all! Share this information and lead by example. Motivate others by the transformation that occurs in your own life and watch the benefits grow in those all around you.
Now that’s a great goal for 2017!
(1) O’connor, Anahad. “Study Tied to Food Industry Tries to Discredit Sugar Guidelines.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 Dec. 2016. Web. 03 Jan. 2017
(2) “Is Sugar a Drug? Addiction Explained.” LiveScience. Purch, n.d. Web. 03 Jan. 2017.
(3) Low-Carbohydrate Diets.” The Nutrition Source. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 12 Apr. 2016. Web. 03 Jan. 2017.
(4) “Certain Fruits May Be Linked to a Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk.” Mercola.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Jan. 2017.