Who says sweets are SAFE ????

By Dr. Alan Kadish

There is no question that many folks appreciate a sweet taste to their food. Our culture is oriented to association of sweets, with positive reinforcement. When we refer to sugar, please remember to include nutritive sweeteners (sugars) in the diet including honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, alcohol sugars and fruit juice concentrates.

Most patients fail to appreciate the destructive effects of sugar ingestion, until a pre-diabetic, cardiac, gross obesity or an outright diabetic situation is present.

Currently there is an overwhelming medical situation developing, termed dysglycemia and syndrome X, in most countries. In the US we are now number 2 in the world, after Mexico, with the highest percentage  of population experiencing blood sugar diseases.  This syndrome is the precursor to the above disorders and we are only addressing the obvious not taking preventive measures.

If you really want the rest of the story…..consider the some of the newest work is indicating that the high sugar diet changes your genetic expression…….Let me emphasize the importance of this statement.

What do you think will happen if instead of the usual appropriate response to turning the steering wheel, it failed to turn the front wheels of your car….. This should be a wake up call to those of us who consider our after dinner “treat” a part of an acceptable practice and it’s ok to teach our kids this same habit.

If you’re not satisfied with this potential how about losing some of your lifetime on the planet ? There actually are studies showing how the length of your telomere is decreased by higher than normal blood sugars such as those experienced after a high simple carbohydrate meal or your typical sugar treat. Telomeres are the terminal ends on our DNA and act as a protective area. In this case more is certainly better.

What about reproductive changes….yes this study is in mice but….it mimics the amount of sugar many Americans ingest regularly. The findings apply to both females and males.

I would be negligent to not mention dental decay…..but most of us agree on this issue.

If I’m not making enough of an impact on your considering a change… how about losing your marbles. Not literally of course…but you will lose neurons which translates to mean dementia and a host of other disorders, including parkinson’s disease as the potential side effects from your dietary indiscretions.

Not nearly what you bargained for eh ? This result is due to the increase in inflammation seen after a raise in blood sugar and the many hours of impact that continue, even after the sugar insult.

To visualize what takes place consider the resistance by our cells, to accept blood sugar. Think of these phenomena as a door that instead of remaining fully open, is partially closed.

The sugar in no longer efficiently cleared from the blood stream and returned to normal levels. This results in damage to many proteins, especially our enzymes as the blood sugar rises and remains in contact for extended periods, forcing the proteins to change molecularly.

Enzymes (one form of proteins)  are the glue that allows us to build and function on a cellular level. When the sugar binds to the protein their shape changes. All of our proteins have unique shapes, very much like a key, and will not function once the shape has changed. Hence the key no longer fits the lock and fails to open the door.

We now have a number of advanced testing methods to determine if indeed, you’re experiencing the problems of elevated sugar. You can assess your risk up to 10 years before you actually have one of these disorders.

At the Center, we use home loans of a glucometer, a device to check your blood sugar as well as blood testing. Additionally an excellent test known as a Metabolic Dysglycemia panel can determine a whole set of markers that are associated with these problems.The newest, about to be released Apple® product, claims to be able to monitor your blood sugar without blood, via their watch. We will keep you informed on the next generation of testing.

You do not need to put yourself at risk or be surprised by a lifelong report of bad news which  will cost you time, money and a forced change in your lifestyle.

The preferential method of diet and sweetness issues should ideally revolve around the inherent sweetness of whole natural foods. Not the use of additional agents to disguise the real taste.

There are a number of excellent books that are available regarding this subject. Consider the original and still one of the best books, “Sugar Blues” by William Dufty and “Licking the Sugar Habit” by Nancy Appleton Phd.

FYI … sugar has been primarily extracted from two major sources, sugar cane and beets. For additional information regarding sugar, you might want to consult the sugar industry site at http://www.sugar.org. The world produced about 168 million tons of sugar in 2011.

The average person consumes about 52.9 lbs of sugar each year (72.9 lbs in industrialised countries, such as the US), equivalent to over 260 food calories per person, per day. For more information go to the wiki site: Sugar for more historical background on the fiscal aspects of sugar.

There are a number of options available that may be more appropriate for those of you in a transition period, between sweet tooth cravings that lead to junk sweets being consumed vs more natural, less destructive options. However the key is  not substitution, but rather a change to a more natural approach to your eating style……it’s called eating real foods…..

Focus on more vegetables, nuts, seeds, and clean proteins while minimizing the use of concentrated fruit products, obviously the white foods and the artificially concocted  “foods” that nature never intended us to consume.

Some options to transition from the use of Sugar:

Stevia Root: Powder and liquid forms

Claims of 100 times sweeter than sugar. Unique to this product is the fact that it is completely non-nutritive. It fools the taste buds into believing that the taste is sweet. No blood sugar influences take place, making this an appropriate substitute for diabetics.

But keep in mind that multiple studies have clearly indicated that any sweetener will influence your desire for additional sweet products……so keep prospective.

You can cook with this product as well as use it at room temperatures. A slight after taste is present and somewhat dependent on the product form used. I have found that the clear liquid in alcohol or in glycerin is preferable. A reasonably useful cookbook, “Stevia Sweet Recipes” by Jeffrey Goettemoeller is a consideration when using stevia.

Splenda® : (sucralose) Powder and liquid forms

Claims of 600 times sweeter than sugar. Currently Splendia™  is FDA approved and available in the yellow packages you see everywhere. Sucralose, a chlorinated sucrose derivative, is a non-digestible sugar. This means that we lack the enzymes necessary to breakdown this product. No blood sugar influences take place, making this an appropriate substitute for diabetics or so the claim goes. However, it is reported that pre-approval research showed that sucralose caused shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage) and enlarged liver and kidneys. This will need to be a wait and see situation, as long term human exposure studies are not yet available. For additional information regarding potential toxicity issues reference these sites,  holisticmed.com/splenda/ and at mercola.comsucralose-dangers.aspx. The industry site is at http://www.sucralose.com/ .

Sweet and Safe™ / Sunnett™: (acesulfame potassium) Powder and liquid forms

This chemical is claimed to be 200 times sweeter than sugar.There are some VERY questionable issues surrounding this product. I would reference you to this organization at cspinet.org for additional safety information. Until these issues are resolved, one should exercise caution and consider other sweeteners. The Sunnett™: site is located at www.acesulfame-potassium.com.

Nutrisweet™ or Equal™

This almost ubiquitous product has racked up the most complaints of any food additive with the FDA. I have a number of patients in my practice who react violently to the product with a numerous array of symptoms., generally head aches. I do not recommend its ingestion. A good site for further reference is located at www.holisticmed.com/aspartame. The Nutrisweet™ site at www.aspartame.org/science.html is the manufactures response to the safety issues. If your wondering who to believe….go to the FDA site and get very worried….

Saccharin™: Powder and liquid

You’re probably not going to be surprised to find an organization representing this sweetener at, www.saccharin.org.  This very old product, discovered in 1896, has been in commerce for greater than 100 years. The safety issues as well as my perceived aftertaste have prevented me from recommending this product. There appears to be a substantial body of evidence mounting that suggests that the original rat studies and bladder cancer association may have been misleading. At their web site, you can derive a substantial amount of information. If you’re faced with a choice between the Nutrasweet™ or Saccharin™ products, I recommend the latter.

Remember that the key to the proper diet, remains moderation, with the MAJORITY or your intake consisting of whole natural, preferentially and principally organic vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and clean proteins. Also recall that adequate fluid intake, especially water, is a prerequisite to good health.

You’re individual reactions to foods (ex. Food Allergies) along with your current health status, coupled with your gender and age, will play an important part in determining your optimal intake of proper nutrients. When all of these factors are considered, you will enhance your longevity and decrease your potential to become dis-eased.

Although there is an abundance of conflicting “diet” information available, consider using the expertise at the Center to personalize your needs, after a scientific healthcare consultation.

Most foods have their own inherent sweetness. Eat well and use common sense to enhance life.

Copyright Center of Health™ 4/2014  For permission to reprint this article, please contact the author.

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Dr. Kadish is an unusual physician often referred to as a "doctor detective". His expertise is the evaluation and treatment of complex disorders, typically after other physicians have been stumped, is renowned. He provides care for all family members and has additional training in autistic spectrum disorders and chronic complex diseases.