Overview

I could summarize this entire chapter in a few words: Don't eat sugar, it will kill you! Let's look at some very unsettling statistics. A little over a century ago, the average amount of sugar consumed per person per year in the United States was 10 pounds. By 1937, the amount had skyrocketed to 100 pounds. By 1958, this per capita consumption of sugar was up to 120 pounds. And now (fasten your seat belt), the average American consumes as much as 150 pounds of sugar per year! This amounts to well over a third of a pound of sugar per day. When you see what sugar does to your metabolism, you'll appreciate that it's amazing that the human body continues to live as long as it does (although it does so in the face of more and longer-term chronic degenerative diseases).

This tremendous increase in the consumption of refined sugar in the United States (and throughout the world) has been accompanied by an equally impressive increase in the incidence of heart disease-related deaths. Dying from heart disease around the turn of the century was relatively rare. Now it accounts for almost half of all deaths. Cause-and-effect, or irrelevant? The data strongly indict sugar as the primary culprit in this skyrocketing of heart disease, as well as other degenerative diseases, including cancer.

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Sugar abuse can eventually lead to chronically elevated insulin levels in the blood, which will be discussed in detail later in this chapter. These elevated insulin levels not only promote the formation of fat in the body, they also directly correlate with the risk of heart attack. Pyorala et al. found that among healthy, nondiabetic policemen in Finland aged thirty-four to sixty-four years, those with the highest insulin levels were more than three times as likely to have a heart attack as those with the lowest insulin levels.1 Since sugar abuse can be the cause of chronically elevated insulin levels, this suggests at least one mechanism by which sugar might be scientifically blamed for the skyrocketing incidence of heart disease today. Furthermore, overconsumption of sugar is one strong factor in the causation of diabetes, a disease that also increases the risk of heart attack. In fact, diabetes is such a major risk factor for heart disease that people with diabetes who have no sign of heart disease have the same risk of dying of a heart attack as nondiabetic people who have already suffered a heart attack.

Sugar abuse is also an important factor causing many people to be seriously overweight. Periodontitis, or gum disease, has also been shown to be independently associated with a greater incidence of heart disease. Saito et al. showed that obesity appears to increase the risk of having this kind of gum disease.2 It would appear that at least one way in which sugar can affect the incidence of heart disease is in its ability to cause the obesity that is positively associated with the periodontitis.

Diabetes 2

Diabetes 2

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...

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