Sugar Health and the Glycemic Index

Dr. Elson Haas
written by
Dr. Elson Haas

May 13, 2017

What is the Glycemic Index and how do I use it?

In the Total Health Magazine article below I explore the role of starches and sugars (carbohydrates) in weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Clearly, the greatest factor in overweight and obesity is the high consumption of refined sugar and refined flour products, which include breads and baked goods, candies, and sodas. Both refined cane sugar and more recently, high-fructose corn syrup, constitute an excess of non-nutrient calories, which rarely satisfy hunger or the body’s need for nutrition. As a result, we still need and crave food. However, if we are focused only on eating the quick, readily available foods typically around us, we’ll keep getting too many calories with too little real nutrient value and we’ll gain weight. Many of us tend to eat or overeat this way at stressful or transitional times, particularly in adolescence or in mid-life. When we add to our fat cells and the areas around our belly and hips, this is more “dangerous” weight gain and more difficult to lose. The key is to prevent added weight by replacing highly sweet and starchy foods with foods we enjoy that won’t cause weight gain.

Rather than just describing foods as simple and complex carbohydrates, they can also be rated on the Glycemic Index. Knowing about this can be helpful in choosing what foods to eat. Extremely sweet or very starchy foods are high on the Index; they break down quickly and cause the release of extra insulin, burdening our metabolism. Foods low on the Index are metabolized slower and provide a steadier stream of glucose and other nutrients. As a result, they’re less work and stress for the body.

Obesity is also part of this picture. Researchers report that the link between high glycemic load (highly sweet and starchy foods) and coronary heart disease risk was most often seen in subjects with “body weights above average.” They concluded that a diet high in refined carbohydrates increases the risk of obesity and coronary heart disease. My book The Detox Diet that has a whole chapter devoted to Sugar Detox.

check out the full article including a Glycemic Index chart here

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The Politics of Sugar

Dr. Elson Haas
written by
Dr. Elson Haas

May 05, 2017

TOO MUCH SUGAR IN OUR FOOD, BUT TOO MUCH LOBBYING MONEY AS WELL

Not only do we need to pay attention what food we buy and consume, but also what nutrition information we ingest and digest.

As I wrote in my last blog post, the sugar industry has much invested in promoting and selling their products. The political lobbying to keep sugar popular (and not subject to additional taxes like alcohol or tobacco) has been going on for many decades and highlights the conspiracy to promote sugar as “safe” and blame fats for many diseases. The truth is now coming to light and the great “Sugar Cover-up” is in the news.

For example, the Center for Science in the public interest recently filed suit against Coca Cola, claiming that the company, with the help of the American Beverage Association, deceived and confused the public about the science linking consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

It’s not just advertizing that’s deceptive; multinational food corporations also fund and promote questionable scientific research. As reported by Anahad O’Connor (NYT 12.19.16), The Annals of Internal Medicine, a prominent medical journal, recently published an attack on global health advice to eat less sugar. The article quickly drew sharp criticism from public health experts because it was paid for by the International Life Sciences Institute, a group based in Washington, D.C., and funded by multinational food and agrochemical companies including Coca-Cola, General Mills, Hershey’s, Kellogg’s, Kraft Foods and Monsanto.

These are not isolated incidents. They echo other news of sugar industry shenanigans going back decades, which successfully shifted the focus away from sugar and onto dietary fats as disease causing agents. For many years nutritional guidelines were adversely affected by these shady practices.

Remember that part of Staying Healthy is becoming a well-informed consumer.