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FunTimes Magazine

Live It Up - It’s No Joke

By Chia Cheri

It is the biggest contributor to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, liver disease, gout, Alzheimer’s, and aging. It is highly acid-forming, inflammatory, and oxidizing (kills cells).

On average we’re eating 300% more than is safe every day. It’s literally killing us. Products with it don’t come with warning labels and governments haven’t removed it from eating guides. It’s hidden in places we wouldn’t expect to look. It is highly addictive, as serious as cocaine. The odds have been stacked against us. We’re being misled and lied to. It has been exploited by food manufacturers for decades to get us hooked on their products.

What is it? Yes, it is sugar, especially fructose. The recommended maximum of added sugar per day is 6 teaspoons/25 grams for women and 9 teaspoons/38 grams for men. According to a 2015 study by Euromonitor, an average American consumes about 32 teaspoons or 128 grams of sugar per day. In his book, The Sugar Fix, Dr. Richard Johnson has statistics showing that nearly 50% of Americans consume more than 225 grams per day! Sugar is composed of two molecules: glucose and fructose. Our bodies use glucose for energy (along with fat, and some protein), but it is best sourced from complex carbohydrates, such as fiber-rich vegetables (broccoli, leafy greens, carrots), fiber-rich fruits (berries, bananas, apples), beans, and whole grains (quinoa, buckwheat, chia). It can be metabolized everywhere in the body, and even produced by the body when needed. Fruit in moderation is OK, Not Juice. Our bodies are designed to metabolize the amount of fructose contained in two to three small fruits a day with its fiber to balance the sugar intake. However, fruit juice should be avoided as the balancing fiber is removed. Fructose is the worst food we can consume via sugars, syrups, sauces, sweeteners, most of our processed foods, i.e. ketchup, crackers, breads, soups, cereals, milk, yogurt, peanut butter, cured meats, salad dressings, energy bars, and drinks, especially soda which is 100% fructose. A recent Harvard School of Public Health study showed that 180,000 obesity-related deaths worldwide are directly related to the daily consumption of sugary drinks. Fructose intake has quadrupled in the past 100 years. Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver with these disastrous results: 1. Massive stress as the liver is basically called to drop everything else to process it; 2. 100% of fructose is stored as fat, leading to weight gain, fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, inflammation; 3. The by-products are toxic, including the production of saturated fats that raise LDL cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease (saturated fats in foods without fructose don’t do this); 4. Our “hunger hormones” tell us we’re never full. Blood sugar spikes are much more dramatic than with other foods, raising insulin levels quickly, requiring huge cortisol production to manage the sky-high insulin. It makes us feel hungry and anxious. 5. Elevated cortisol puts us at increased risk of depression, sleep and digestive problems, headaches, heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, memory and concentration impairment, and Alzheimer’s.Always Avoid Low Fat Products and Artificial Sweeteners (i.e., aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, Ace–k, sucralose, neotame, advantame, sorbitol, mannitol). They are carcinogenic, endocrine disrupting chemical neurotoxins that destroy cells and stress the body. They even contribute to weight gain. When our brains sense sweet tastes not accompanied by energy or calories, it is confused and makes us want to eat more. “Sugar free” foods are made with fructose. Low-fat products often substitute sugar for fat. Actually, the fat is better helping absorb nutrients in food, and keeping us feeling full longer. White Sugar 50% fructose, no nutritional value. Agave Syrup 80% to 90% fructose, the worst alternative, from a plant native to Mexico used to make tequila. Honey 40-50% fructose, nearly same as white sugar; OK for medicinal uses, i.e., a cold/flu remedy. Maple Syrup 40% fructose, has minute traces of minerals and B vitamins. Molasses 50% fructose, has trace amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Coconut Syrup/Sugar 40% fructose, does contain many amino acids and minerals. Yacon 25-35% fructose, has dubious weight loss claims, contains prebiotic fiber and antioxidants. Monk Fruit extract, 0% fructose, has antioxidants and insulin-regulating properties. Rice Malt Syrup/Brown Rice Syrup 0% fructose, perhaps the most enjoyable to use. Stevia 0% fructose, a plant-based sweetener, is also hundreds of times sweeter than sugar. Xylitol 0% fructose, however, the process to extract it from plants is highly refined, thus may be acid-forming, toxic, even carcinogenic. A healthy external alternative to fluoride in toothpaste.

The “good” glucose provided by vegetables, a little fruit each day, and foods like nutrient-packed chia are more than enough for us to function well. Use the other sweets in moderation at first to transition fructose out of our lives for good so we can have good lives. By replacing sugar with antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory, alkaline foods we up our energy, improve the glow of our skin, reduce bloat, sleep better, think more clearly, and improve our immune systems too. We have the choice to die-t or live-it up!