Top 9 Reasons to Avoid Sugar as if Your Life Depended on it

Woman Holding Chocolate And MilkThe harmful effects of sugar go way beyond empty calories.

Added sugar is so unhealthy that it is probably the single worst ingredient in the modern diet.

Here are the top 9 reasons to avoid sugar as if your life depended on it (it does).

1. Added Sugar Supplies a Large Amount of Fructose

The reason added sugar (and its evil twin… High Fructose Corn Syrup) is bad for you, is that it supplies a very large amount of fructose.

Sugar (and HFCS) are half glucose, half fructose. Glucose is essential and can be metabolized by pretty much every cell in the body. If we don’t get it from the diet, our bodies make it from proteins and fat.

Fructose, however, is not essential to our functioning in any way.

The only organ that can metabolize fructose is the liver, because only the liver has a transporter for it (1).

When large amounts of fructose enter the liver and it is already full of glycogen, most of the fructose gets turned into fat (2).

This process is probably one of the leading causes of the epidemics of many chronic, Western diseases.

I’d like to point out that this does NOT apply to fruit, which are a real food with vitamins, minerals, fiber, lots of water and are very difficult to overeat on.

Bottom Line: The only organ that can metabolize fructose is the liver. When we eat a lot of fructose, many things in the body start to go wrong.

2. Sugar Doesn’t Contain Any Vitamins or Minerals (Empty Calories)

Junk Food

Sugar IS empty calories. No doubt about that.

Most high-sugar foods like pastries, sodas and candy bars contain very little essential nutrients.

People who eat them instead of other more nutritious foods will probably become deficient in many important nutrients.

Bottom Line: Most products with added sugars in them contain very little nutrients and can therefore be classified as “empty” calories.

3. Sugar Causes Deposition of Fat in The Liver

Sugar cubes

When we eat fructose, it goes to the liver.

If liver glycogen is low, such as after a run, the fructose will be used to replenish it (3).

However, most people aren’t consuming fructose after a long workout and their livers are already full of glycogen.

When this happens, the liver turns the fructose into fat (2).

Some of the fat gets shipped out, but part of it remains in the liver. The fat can build up over time and ultimately lead to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (4, 5, 6).

Bottom Line: Eating a lot of added sugar (fructose) can cause deposition of fat in the liver and lead to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.

4. Sugar Harms Your Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Old Man Taking Pills

Most of the fat generated in the liver gets shipped out as Very Low Density Lipoprotein (VLDL) particles.

These particles are rich in triglycerides and cholesterol.

In a controlled study, people were assigned to drink 25% of calories as either a glucose-sweetened drink or a fructose-sweetened drink for 10 weeks (7).

The fructose group had:

  • Increases in blood triglycerides.
  • Increases in small, dense LDL and oxidized LDL (very, very bad).
  • Higher fasting glucose and insulin.
  • Decreased insulin sensitivity.
  • Increased fat in the abdominal cavity (visceral fat).

Basically, 25% of calories as fructose significantly harmed blood lipids and caused features characteristic of the metabolic syndrome, which is a stepping stone towards obesity, heart disease, diabetes and a (short) lifetime of poor health.

Bottom Line: Consuming a large part of calories as fructose can lead to serious adverse effects on blood markers in as little as 10 weeks.

5. Sugar Causes Insulin Resistance

Measure Blood Sugar

The main function of insulin is to drive glucose from the bloodstream into cells.

But when we eat a Western diet, the cells tend to become resistant to the effects of insulin.

When this happens, the pancreas start secreting even more insulin to remove the glucose from the bloodstream, because elevated blood glucose is toxic.

This is how insulin resistance leads to elevated insulin levels in the blood.

But insulin also has another important function… it tells the fat cells to pick up fat from the bloodstream and to hold on to the fat that they already carry.

This is how insulin causes obesity.

When the body becomes even more resistant to insulin, the beta cells in the pancreas eventually become damaged and lose the ability to produce sufficient insulin. This is how you get type II diabetes, which now afflicts about 300 million people worldwide.

Excess fructose is a known cause of insulin resistance and elevated insulin in the blood (8, 9, 10).

Bottom Line: Excess fructose consumption can lead to insulin resistance, a stepping stone towards obesity and diabetes.

6. Sugar Raises Your Risk of Western Diseases

Doctor Thumbs Down

Excess sugar consumption has been associated with many Western diseases.

If anything, sugar is the single largest contributing factor to the poor health of affluent nations.

Every time sugar (and refined flour and vegetable oils) enter a population’s diet, these people become sick.

Sugar has been associated with:

  • Obesity. Sugar causes weight gain via various mechanisms, including elevated insulin and leptin resistance (11, 12).
  • Diabetes. Sugar is probably a leading cause of diabetes (13, 14, 15).
  • Heart disease. Sugar raises the bad cholesterol, triglycerides and causes various other issues that can ultimately lead to heart disease (16, 17).

Bottom Line: Excess sugar consumption has been associated with many serious diseases, including obesity, type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

7. Sugar Doesn’t Cause Proper Satiety

Glass Full Of Sugar Cubes

An area in the brain called the Hypothalamus is supposed to regulate our food intake.

In a study published in 2013, two groups drank either a glucose-sweetened drink or a fructose-sweetened drink (18).

The glucose drinkers had decreased blood flow in the hypothalamus and felt satiated, while the fructose drinkers had increased blood flow in this area of the brain.

The fructose drinkers felt less satisfied and were still hungry.

Another study revealed that fructose didn’t reduce levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin like glucose. The more ghrelin, the hungrier you are (19).

Bottom Line: Studies comparing fructose and glucose show that fructose does not induce satiety like glucose, which will contribute to a higher calorie intake.

8. Sugar is Addictive

Woman Staring at a Piece of Chocolate

When we eat sugar, dopamine is released in the brain, giving us a feeling of pleasure.

This is actually how drugs of abuse like cocaine function (20).

Our brain is hardwired to seek out activities that release dopamine. Activities that release an enormous amount of it are especially desirable.

In certain individuals with a certain predisposition to addiction, this causes reward-seeking behavior typical of addiction to abusive drugs.

Studies in rats demonstrate that they can in fact become physically addicted to sugar (21).

This is harder to prove in humans, but many people consume sugar and other junk foods in a pattern that is typical for addictive, abusive compounds.

Bottom Line: Sugar, due to its powerful effects on the reward system in the brain, can lead to classic signs of addiction.

9. Sugar Causes Resistance to a Hormone Called Leptin

A man who needs to lose weight

Leptin is a hormone that is secreted by our fat cells. The more fat we have, the more leptin is secreted.

This is supposed to function as a signal to tell the brain that we’re full and need to stop eating. It is also supposed to raise our energy expenditure.

Obese individuals actually have high levels of leptin, but the problem is that the leptin isn’t working.

This is called leptin resistance and is a major reason why people eat more calories than they burn and become obese.

Fructose is a known cause of leptin resistance, both because insulin blocks leptin signalling in the brain and because fructose raises blood triglycerides which also blocks the effects of leptin (22, 23, 24).

This makes our brain think that the fat cells are empty and that it needs to keep eating.

Willpower is very weak compared to the leptin-driven starvation signal.

This is the reason people can’t just “eat less, move more” and live happily ever after.

To reverse leptin resistance and make the brain WANT to eat less, sugar has to go.

91 Comments

  1. I have been completely off sugar for over 6 months now, and this is the first winter that I have not gotten sick more than my husband! Usually it is the opposite! So I am a believer. Only two minor colds for me in 6 months, none that had me down for the count. Instead, my husband who is normally healthy just because he has a stronger constitution than I, well, he has been sick for 6 weeks now!

    • Interesting read about sugar is an older book called “Sugar blues” I believe the author is Dufty. It explains how if sugar was discovered today it would be as illegal as heroin…..

      • I read the Sugar Blues in 1979 – it is excellent and pertinent today.

      • Wow, that may be a bit dramatic.

      • Lezegrim says:

        As a former heroin addict of 16 years and a sugar lover/addict (before I quit sugar, I used to eat dessert before dinner), I must say that there is no comparison between heroin and sugar.

        Do you see people en masse ordering 3 consecutive desserts in restaurants instead of entree, main and dessert? Sugar addicts lying homeless in the street begging for sugar fixes? Don’t believe everything you read. You’re smart enough to think critically.

        The only place where everyone orders multiple desserts is Adriano Zumbo which I think is an example of irresponsible business practice.

        • I don’t think anyone is saying that sugar is exactly the same as heroin, but that it’s just as dangerous. Both often result in death. I’d wager that sugar causes a lot more deaths than heroin, given that more people consume sugar.

        • Ha ha Lezegrim! GREAT response! And congrats on your recovery – good for you! If it became true that I couldn’t get sugar products legally, I suspect I WOULD get a big piece of cardboard that read: “Disabled Veteran Needs Brownies or Chocolate!”

          Since I am neither disabled nor a veteran but can look really pathetic on cue, I suspect some nice lady who has a surplus of homemade brownies would probably help me out.

        • Hi, congrats for having quit one of the worst thing on earth, but I would like to tell you that I’m a sugar addict, believe it or not.

          The thing is there’s sugar added in everything so no one will indeed end up in the street to have a “sugar fix”, even beans can have a lot of sugar in them and this is really cheap to buy. So, every time we buy food we buy our fix.

          I’ve been trying to lower my sugar intake and I end up having a lot of sugar rush after 2-3 weeks. I’m not overweight, but become worried when I realize that I didn’t fit any more in my new pants bought 2 months ago.

          I hope that I will get the same strength that you got (but for me it will be to quit my sugar intake).

    • Same here. Going on 10 months without added sugar and fruit juice and am amazed. Not one cold or virus. However, I have been supplementing vitamin D as per my doctor’s recommendation. I am convinced sugar is a killer and the lack of a DV for it on food packaging is disturbing.

    • That is great to hear. How long did it take you for the sugar cravings to subside?

      • Christian says:

        The first time took me a week or two. I found if you let it slide and try to go back, it is harder, but I’m getting there.

      • It took me 3 solid weeks before my sugar cravings stopped. And I was miserable and edgy. But after 3 weeks, all was better.

    • I have not been ill for years in the sense of virus, colds and flu. My partner says in the 7 years that he has known me, he has never seen me have a cold. But I am a sugar addict, I am an all or nothing type of person, I quit smoking and coffee cold turkey and alcohol I drink on celebrations or once a year.

      Today is the first day of not having any sugar, I thought coffee withdrawal was bad with the headaches, but it did not last more than a couple of days. I am feeling confident so we shall see…

      • I have been totally off sweets for 1 week. It was tough some days, but I know I will stay off. It’s a choice, I have an addiction. On Christmas I enjoyed so much. Lol.

  2. Interesting article! However I think you’re comparing a sugar (fructose) with a sugar (glucose) in a lot of instances which, can get confusing for people who don’t have a primer in the matter of the different types of sugars.

    All in all though, very informative. Thanks.

  3. In the 80′s it was salt, then it was fat, then cholesterol, now sugar is the devil. Hopefully we’ve arrived at the right one. I, for one, think sugar is the basis of a lot of health problems and eating less sugar seems to only be a huge health benefit.

    • As long as you practice moderation, you really don’t have to worry about your diet. A little high fructose corn syrup never hurt anyone. I’m proof.

      • Christian says:

        I am astonished at how many people are still finding this old story and posting nonsense in response. Sure, people don’t die from eating fructose, at least not overnight. And some people have the discipline or the lifestyle or just the taste in food to stop themselves from being overweight. But the rise in obesity tracks with the rise in sugar consumption, the science proves it, and your opinion and the single data point you provide, are insignificant.

      • “All in moderation” is a bunch of hooey. Ever try heroin “in moderation”? Refined sugar and modern wheat are the cause of an endless list of diseases.

        • The problem with proclaiming a specific food is evil is that it’s never quite true. All foods are OK in moderation. People who claim to have found a wonder diet or a cure for all illnesses by simply avoiding one or a group of foods usually are experiencing a good amount of placebo effect – unless of course they are adjusting from eating an unhealthy amount of a given substance for a long time.

          Food fads generate a lot of misinformation and unrealistic expectations – they can even be unhealthy. I’ll never give up sugar, animal fats, or whatever else you want to designate as the devil (like gluten, etc.). But I also won’t eat a whole bag of peanut butter cups every day either. It’s called common sense and enjoying the little treats in life.

  4. Good article but I think you’re incorrect when you say that it does not apply to fruit. Fructose is fructose. And I think it’s very easy to overeat fruit, especially in the form of smoothies etc.

    • Stanley Frank Young says:

      Fructose for many should be zero in ANY Form… Until they are lean machines…etc…for a year…. then Once a week… One serving…

      and never ever…. in liquid form!!!

      Yes…. I agree…. Fructose….is and should be ZERO!!!

    • Shelly Elliott says:

      I agree that I too thought this was incorrect. I was informed by my nutritionist to watch all sugars, including fruits, corn, honey.

      But good article. I am going to check out the book Sugar Blues. Thanks.

    • Sarah White says:

      The only difference between the NATURAL fructose in fruit, and the ADDED sugar in processed foods, is that in fruit it is delivered with a high fibre content at the same time- triggering the ‘fullness’ response in the brain and making it extremely difficult to overeat. So yes, fruit has fructose, but no- it can hardly be considered unhealthy (in most cases).

    • Fruit has fructose, but it also has FIBER. When you spin it in a smoothie, you’re destroying the fiber integrity and reducing it to tiny particles. The fiber slows absorption of the fructose so you get less of it into your system. As Dr. Lustig, an expert on fructose says “the fructose in fruit is packaged with its own antidote”. It only works, though, if you EAT THE FRUIT. If you juice it or smoothie it, you’re removing the benefit of the fiber.

      • Very interesting, does that mean you can eat more sweets if you eat something rich in fibers at the same time? :)

  5. Kimberly Robinson says:

    I too have been off sugar since September 2011 and this is the first winter in decades that I didn’t get sick once. I’m usually good for one bad upper respiratory infection. Yet despite all of my coworkers being sick at one time or another I haven’t been sick once.

  6. Peggy Holloway says:

    Just be sure to clarify that it isn’t just added sugar that causes the above-named health problems. All carbohydrates metabolize as sugar and that sugar can be every bit as damaging, especially to those who are insulin-resistant genetically or from bombarding their bodies with sugar for years. And fructose is fructose – even if it comes from a piece of fruit. The body can’t tell the differences, so fruit is not an “eat all you want” food.

  7. LowCarbHippie says:

    Sugar gave me cancer and killed my parents. :(

    • The only molecule your body can use as fuel is glucose, which a sugar: C6H12O6. Fructose is also C6H12O6. It’s not that bad in moderation.

  8. Your articles are so interesting and I read everything on your blog! It’s great but the pictures drive me crazy! I have a weakness for chocolate so seeing pictures of people eating it makes me crave it so much! (It’s also annoying how slim and good looking the people in the pictures are, extremely unrealistic if that were their diet). Ah well I guess I better get used to resisting temptation. Thanks for the info! :)

    • Holly, you can eat a piece of 85% or higher cocoa sometimes. I have a small square of it every day w/ a teaspoon of peanut butter. I like a glass of milk or cup of coffee with it. Yes, it is an “acquired taste.” The good news is, no one in the household is going to steel your chocolate!! Check out the label, a small square has about 4 carbs in it. It is just right, because a larger piece gets to be too much… except on special days…

  9. Hi Kris! Nice and informative article. Just wanted to ask one question related to your previous article on how keeping away from wheat and sugar you have lost so much weight. Please let me know if by wheat you mean the refined flour or the unrefined variety too.

  10. Great article! It’s always so funny to me how people are so anti-fruit because of “all the sugar.” As mentioned in the article, whole fruits are full of nutrients and vitamins… and eating whole fruit is NOT the same as having a smoothie. Smoothies are usually chalked full of other crap- they’re not just fruit. As someone in the medical profession, I can say with confidence if you gave up eating all refined sugar, but continued to eat fruit, you’d still be healthier than 99% of America. As a vegetarian, I can tell you that it’s definitely hard to over-eat fruit… and if I did, so what? My BMI and cholesterol are really low. Whole fruit found in nature is absolutely good for you.

    • Stanley Frank Young says:

      G,

      You are so right Whole Fruit is so good for us.
      YET There are many who have hidden inflammation to all that sugar. They eat 3 to 8 servings a day and wonder why they can’t lose the 10 to 100 pounds. I have seen it over and over again… Cut out the Fruit… and when the body resets… after a year… then reintroduce but carefully. I am CONVINCED that Fruit the way I had it as a boy in SEASON and or ONCE a week or so is better than 2 to 5 apples/servings a day. I have watched my life on 3 to 5 bananas and watermelon(I love watermelon) etc… drop to ZERO and Weight and Health markers improve JUST as IF I gave up sugar!!! and BMI means nothing… Let’s hear your % of body fat….

    • Christian says:

      You’re partially right. There’s so much fibre in fruit, that it’s hard to overeat it. But there’s not ‘so much goodness’ in fruit that you need it. Not eating fruit, but being on a western diet, will result in no deficiency. Eating fruit increases the number of vitamins in your pee, and not by very much.

      Probably the correct statement is ‘one or two pieces of fruit a day will not harm you, but won’t really help you either, but you should never eat dried fruit, or drink fruit juice, in any form, because the sugar is concentrated and you will eat too much’. But, ‘don’t eat fruit’ is a simpler message that is easier to understand and does no harm, I think that’s why some people say that, instead.

      • Not eating fruit and eating a western diet WILL result in a deficiency of vitamin C. Fruit contains everything needed by the human body, including water. If people ate more fruit, they wouldn’t have to worry about getting their “8 glasses of water” every day.

        • Vitamin C is a pre-cursor for collagen. The body only requires it to make connective tissue if the diet is otherwise poor in fresh animal products. In other words, it’s not necessary for someone eating as a true omnivore. The Inuit certainly don’t need citrus to prevent scurvy on their traditional all meat diet. On the flip side, the British did because what their sailors ate was of such low quality.

          Also, the whole “8 glasses of water” a day thing has never been proven and it pretty counterintitutive. We would have died out eons ago if our thirst mechanism wasn’t reasonable accurate. When I tried it, all it did was make me go to the bathroom more.

    • G, I agree 100%. I wonder why people think nature created fruits and berries, and made them so flavorful to our palate. Funny how some people think we’re NOT supposed to eat delicious natural things that make us salivate, but they think we’re supposed to eat grains or furry, stinky animals.

      • Up until the advent of modern agriculture, most fruits were seasonal and not easy to gather. For instance, strawberry season lasts 1 month in most places. Wild strawberries are both small and hard to gather in large quantities. Without a means to store such seasonal finds other than on their body, it makes sense that survivor ancestors might develop the capacity and inclination to gorge on such food when it was discovered.

        Eating quantities of fruit daily, especially in it’s current forms, which are bred for sweetness and size is an easy way to over-do sugar.

        And I tend to think those furry, stinky animals would take on a whole in a new light about a week after the end of berry/fruit season.

    • My cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin and blood pressure numbers are probably better than yours, and I don’t eat much fruit at all, usually one or two pieces a day.

      I eat meat, fish, seafood, poultry, eggs, cream, cheese and vegetables. I eat no potatoes, corn, refined sugar or grains. ZERO.

      I’m 51, and my doctor lives to find any of my numbers out of whack. This is because he made the mistake of asking my secret was, expecting me to be a smug little vegetarian zealot, but got a big surprise at my answer. Which was that not only are pork rinds my favorite snack, but also that one of my favorite meals starts with coating some chicken with whole eggs and ground up pork rinds, and frying it in LARD. Then I cook sliced zucchini in butter with some pepper and garlic, slather a ton of Parmesan over the whole thing, and then cover and let the cheese melt.

      Oh, and I usually toss together a wilted spinach salad with bacon vinaigrette.

      The MD nearly had a heart attack when he realized I was serious. But now that he goes so many years, and all my numbers are so great, he’s finally getting it: Meat isn’t the enemy. Fat isn’t the enemy. Saturated fat (and I eat TONS of the stuff!) isn’t the enemy.

      SUGAR IS THE ENEMY.

      BTW, you don’t eat fruit found in nature. You wouldn’t recognize it, and it would probably be inedible to you. Go look at a wild banana sometime. It’s full of tons of seeds, and it isn’t nearly as sweet.

      The reality is that nearly all the fruit you eat has been developed over many millennia by farmers to be as appealing as possible to humans–and as productive as possible so that farmers can stay in business.

      • For a few months I’ve been eating hundreds of grams of sugar a day. Mostly in the form of fruit and juice. I’ve never felt better. Also, it’s not fat – you’re right, it’s PUFA specifically. I also believe metabolic issues (Mthfr, a common one) cause most of the problems.

      • If you naively avoid all fruit because you think you’re some sort of expert on the subject, then you miss out on a multitude of polyphenols, many of which have incredibly potent anti-cancer properties.

        To group all fruit together, as if they all have the same properties, is equally stupid. Take the Avocado for example, which has relatively small amounts of sugar and yet practically every amino acid and fat that the body requires.

        Your saturated fat isn’t going to stop your cells mutating, so please don’t advise people on what to eat based on your own experience.

  11. So if I must use a little something in my oatmeal, what is my best option?

    • Your best option is to use water only with oatmeal. Oatmeal is not a healthy food anyway it stick to your gut wall and causes so many issues. Virtually impossible to get gluten free oats as well.

      • Try soaking the gluten free rolled oats that Trader Joe’s sells.

        • First of all, Gloria, ALL oats are considered gluten free. Do a simple bit of research on Google – only those commingled with wheat and such during processing contain gluten. Second of all, enormous amounts of studies link reduced cholesterol to people who eat oats. Finally, a teaspoon of organic maple syrup isn’t going to do anything bad to you.

          Bon Appetit!

    • Stanley Frank Young says:

      Gloria,
      3 choices come to mind…actually 10…
      1. 100 calories of coconut oil, butter, olive oil or ground up flaxseed… that last one is amazing..
      2. Strawberries, blueberries…
      3. If U really want to go out on a limb… Make it… runny… drink half… then at work for lunch drink the other half… Try Munch pause Munch… extend your overnight fast an hour or two…then add another… etc…and watch your body take off…. I rode 55 miles this afternoon and at the end… I was 25 hours without food… I ate rice, lentils, Chocolate whey in a puree with spices….YUM….then… 6 eggs, potatoes, butter, onions, cottage cheese, avocado, whole milk, then for desert I had a carrot dipped in peanut butter.

      Never knew I could Not be hungry…and have this much energy… It truly works for an ever increasing number…and it is so flexible… 12 hours… to 48 hours… I love being full rather than having several meals that total 1500 to 4000 calories…depending on my caloric burn for the day… and I ingested all the sugar I needed without any Fructose…

      Many demonize all kinds of foods.

      Potatoes, white rice, lentils, are so much like sugar….NOT!!! They sure work for me. Of course no added sugar as in ZERO with Zero cheat days helps. Ok, maybe 2 or 3 times a year.

  12. JD Greer says:

    Except for the fact that our body’s cells need sugar to survive. Sugar provides energy for cells to function properly. Without sugar, we’d all die… yes, even us Type 1 Diabetics. Now, should you go out and chug a liter of Pepsi every day? Of course not. But to say you should “avoid sugar as if your life depended on it” is absolutely ludicrous.

    • It is pretty clear that the article is about added sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup.

      Our bodies need glucose (we can produce it if we don’t get it from the diet), but no one needs fructose.

    • Merry Weather says:

      JD Greer,

      ABSOLUTELY…Ludicrous???? Tell that to 339 million type 2 diabetics and a billion ? overweight and obese suffering people with all manner of diseases that would virtually disappear with Zero sugar and Zero processed foods. They are sick and dying and the cure is simple. There is amazing power in NONE !!! Just because they make it…(THE WHITE POISON) and we are conditioned to INGEST it doesn’t mean we can’t do away with it….and the benefit??? It is beyond words. Almost as Ludicrous as the countless doctors who smoked when I was a boy… Where are they now?

      Refined Sugar in all its forms…. is simply and clearly a disaster… IT makes the Holocaust Look like a walk in the park. The fact that many can eat some… just shows… how calloused we HAVE become to the plight of those who like the alcoholic… MUST… find NONE to be the magic… glorious life saving pill.

    • JD Greer, what planet do you practice medicine on? There isn’t one healthful thing one can say about sugar with the exception of its rocket fuel ability. When was the last time you needed to run from a predator? We carry 1 teaspoon of glucose in our bloodstream. Any glucose our “few” cells that rely on it, retina, red blood cells, our liver can produce through gluconeogenesis. Burning ketones is the healthiest fuel for your body. Your health is determined by one equation… “the proportion of fat versus sugar you burn in your lifetime. The more fat you burn, the healthier you will be. The more sugar you burn, the less healthy you will be.” Dr. Ron Rosedale.

    • Christian says:

      Everyone gets confused by this. Lactose is fine. Glucose is fine. Fructose is the issue. The article came close to making this clear, but kept saying ‘avoid sugar’, which is an over simplification.

  13. Thanks for the clarification Kris! I will try and remove all wheat and sugar from my diet and benefit from it.

  14. Christian says:

    There’s a book by an Australian called David Gillespie, called ‘Sweet Poison’. It’s full of details of studies and so on, very up to date. I read it, stopped eating fructose, and lost 20 kg in 6 weeks, without ever being hungry. I eat far more fat than I ever did, and have kept that weight off (again without ever being hungry, I eat whenever I feel like it ,and whatever I like, just no fructose), for over a year now.

  15. Wenchypoo says:

    Avoiding sugar (excess or otherwise) becomes even more paramount in menopause–your body will grab onto any little manufactured fat cell (of any type) and store it. A keto diet with very low carb (I’m talking Atkins Induction-style carb levels) is recommended to avoid a ballooning waistline that won’t be tamed.

  16. I think I am lucky as I do not have a sweet tooth. So my sugar consumption was always low. But I was still overweight. Cutting gluten from my diet and doing strength training brought me to my ideal weight. Gluten was constipating me. No more suffering from constipation and bloating for me!

  17. I have a slightly different view to what one should eat. Nature is the best recommendation and one should eat whatever your body feels like eating, if you feel like a sweet eat it, just remember everything is OK in moderation, overdoing the good things are also harmful. I am 72 years old and weigh 82Kg, have never gone to a gym and the most stressful exercise done was Big Game Fishing.

    I am a chocaholic and consume lots of sweets mostly Dark Chocolate (85% Cocoa) and plenty of dried fruit, I eat a large bowl of fresh fruit every morning for breakfast and dring’k at least a litre of fresh fruit juice per day, mainly freshly squeezed orange juice, drink several cups of coffee with two heaped teaspoons of sugar daily, use only full cream milk and normal salted butter – no low-fat or margarine products.

    During my later working career I had a record of 9 years without a single days sick leave. I have about one glass of wine a month and did smoke from the age of 21 till 40 then stopped completely, Maybe you will say I am an exception to the rule but I have several friends and family that follow a similar trend and lead healthy lives.

    My mother lived till 98 and loved red meat and plenty butter on her food and bread, did not like vegetables but loved potatoes and ate lots of fruit. The only time that I had some health issues was in my fifties when I cut down on sweets, butter and used sweetener instead of sugar to try to lose some weight on my belly, needless to say it did not work, lots of fruit instead of starches and bread did the trick.

    My Motto: Eat what your body wants when it wants it and everything in moderation, do not eat anything just for the sake of eating or because it’s meal time.

    • I agree. And I also think it’s not so much what we DO eat that leads to health problems but more likely what we DON’T eat.

    • I’m glad you have a strong constitution and have managed to avoid most processed food.

      Other than that, your experience doesn’t mean that it pans out for the rest of the population. “All things in moderation” doesn’t help the sugar addict who finds lots of fruits and fruit juice naturally leads to lots of processed desserts. An urge for Ring Dings is hardly to be followed as “natural”.

    • Christian says:

      This is nonsense. Your body craves sugar, for a world where it was hard to get. It has not had time to evolve to the point of knowing that sugar is easy to get, and that you can eat as much as you want. It’s scientifically proven that sugar messes up your appetite control, simply because your body cannot process fructose. A single data point (your life) is not science. It simply means you have a metabolism that can cope with your choices.

  18. Well, I’m 42 and very athletic, the only health issue I’ve had is gout at age 32. I cut out alcohol, red meat, seafood and pasta and white bread, I only eat sprouted bread made with no flour, I’ve been gout free for 7 years now, but I am very active cycling 300km per week and spinning hard in the winter so that helps to keep my body fat at 7-8 percent and I eat for 2 people.

    I do consume a fair amount of good raw honey and maple syrup with no problems, ton of fruit and a lot of greek yogurt about 500grams per day, chicken, and fish, greens. That is pretty much my whole diet, and my elixir to keep my body ph up is apple cider vinegar with water or a bit of baking soda twice a day, feel great and no meds.

    I do not drink coffee. I use the nutri bullet for smoothies and love vega products. The protein after workout has about 2 scoops per day which is 50 g of protein a day so have about 100 g of protein a day and weigh 177 lbs. But I am very active. This diet has worked great for me. Hope this helps someone.

    • How often do you struggle with colds? Joint pain? Depression? Allergic reactions?

      I don’t know…I’ve become very suspicious anymore of anyone’s self proclaimed “I’m the picture of health”. I did that, too, when I was vegetarian and frankly I wasn’t. The amount of exercise alone begs for overtraining injuries. Eating for 2 people is very hard on digestive system only meant to fuel one in the long run.

      • Colds, 2 x a year and very minor. I use the saline solution in my nose and that really helps to clear up my sinuses.

        I have to eat a lot when you burn 2-3 thousand calories once in a while, about once a week and the other days, 800 on light riding days. No joint pain, no depression and no allergies.

        Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.

        • A couple of people have associated eating sugar with catching colds. I have no idea how that has ever become correlated. I have eaten way too much sugar over the coarse of 20 years now (admittedly prob 30lbs over weight), but I never get colds. To associate a healthy diet with how often you get colds is completely ridiculous to me.

          Also, this article (blog post?) claims that eating fruit is fine because it has other materials and is hard to overeat. Sure, some fruit is better, and certainly better than fruit juice (which is just as unhealthy as soda), but as someone that is addicted to sugar, I can tell you that it is easily possible to over eat some fruits.

          Sugar is all the same, no matter the source. The poster below me has claimed that sugar from honey is somehow better than table sugar. It’s exactly the same as Hershey’s syrup as far as the sugar goes.

          • “Sugar” is a catch-all phrase for a class of polysaccharides. Not all sugars are made the same, but we just label them all “sugar” because they’re sweet. Sucrose is a balanced disachharide of half glucose, half fructose, bound together. Not only is it different from the saccharides in other sugars, but the binding between them matters. HFCS may have close to the same proportion, usually only 3-5% higher in fructose, but the bond between them does not exist. It doesn’t have to be broken before the body can assimilate it, it can just grab the constituents directly. Sucrose is a compound — HFCS is a MIXTURE. Also, some forms of sugar are higher in fructose than others. Agave nectar, for example, can be as high as 90-95% fructose.

    • Just so you know, one of the by-products of fructose metabolism in the liver is uric acid. Purines are only a tiny amount in comparison to what the liver makes from fructose. Now, if you gorge yourself on pepperoni and liver sausage, you might have difficulties eventually, but if you eat an occasional bit of purine-rich meat, but stuff yourself with cane sugar and things like agave nectar, you’ll have more trouble from the fructose than from the meats. I’m allergic to seafood, so I can’t eat it, but I wish I could — it’s a lot healthier than some foods. Red meat also isn’t the bugaboo some make it out to be — they get on red meat’s case largely because of saturated fat, which is NOT a cause of heart disease.

  19. This article contains misleading information. I’ve been doing a ton of research, and firstly nobody consumes pure fructose in their diet. Fructose always comes packaged with glucose and actually prevents some of the more deleterious effects of glucose. Second, the most important aspect to life is energy.

    The chemical cyanide kills in a matter of minutes by blocking the body’s ability to produce energy. Sugar is in fact the only legitimate source of energy for the body. Ketones are a backup, but it causes a disruption of stress hormones and jacks up the metabolism long term. One should eat food best suited to energy production, that comes with the least antinutrients and estrogens as possible.

    Fruit, milk, and honey are natural foods that were designed to fit that purpose. Vegetables are part of the plant and serve to help the plant grow and produce seed, convert light into energy, etc. they contain oxylates and phytoestrogens, goitrogens and other harmful compounds.

    A high sugar, high protein, and a diet low in fat but mostly made up of saturated fat, high in salt and cholesterol sounds crazy but it supports metabolism, healthy hormone levels, and protects the body against arterial calcification, obesity, metabolic syndrome.

    The real killer is polyunsaturated fat, and the author would do well to look into the dangers of these industrial byproduct a being passed off as food. Namely cottonseed oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and anything that comes from a nut or seed. The only safe oils are grass fed milk and butter fat, tallow, coconut, olive and palm.

    PUFAs are highly unstable, oxidize quickly, cause inflammation, lead to disease and ultimately death. They suppress the immune system and promote cancer and metabolic syndrome. My initial research indicates that an excess of PUFA can alter cellular membranes and it is my theory that these alterations are what make the cells resistant to insulin.

    Additionally the American diet is quite low in sulfur which is a highly important and beneficial substance. Protein contains only 3-6% sulphurated amino acids and mostly cysteine at that which has a negative interaction with nitric oxide in the body. Methionine is the other amino acid and the body can convert it to cysteine quite efficiently.

    Bottom line: sugar is the perfect food when it comes in fruit, milk, or honey. It’s full of vitamins, beneficial compounds, and dietary nutrition can be met with grassfed liver 1x or 2x a week, brewers yeast, and an occasional serving of we’ll cooked greens. I’ve been on a high sugar diet for about 3 weeks now and my weight has fluctuated between 183 and 186 which is below the normal range of 186-192. I’ve over eaten on calories many nights 400-600 and on one occasion 1200 calories. I’m consuming 200-400g of carbohydrate per day mostly sugars.

  20. I actually did the no sugar and no processed foods change earlier in the year (and fell off and am trying to get myself back on, hence reading these types of articles). I wasn’t sick at ALL while eating this way. I have horrible seasonal allergies, but guess what? I didn’t have even ONE ALLERGY the whole season. I have a continual drip down my throat all year long, and while I ate the healthier foods, I actually stopped having to clear my throat constantly. Any phlegm I had was easily coughed out of my body (without even trying).

    My husband, who is a type II diabetic, had AMAZING numbers with his doc. His A1C which had previously been EXTREMELY high, dropped by two points, and his doc was amazed and actually worried about him not eating sugar and processed foods. That tells me the medical community doesn’t know everything about health. I think more studies should actually be done, but that is besides the point. A lot of his back issues were non-existent during this time, too.

    We pretty much ate a fruit smoothie every morning with amazing grass and a little whey, flax and chia seeds. For lunch, I might have a turkey sandwich (hold the nitrates & nitrites) on 2 pieces of Ezekiel bread, with lots of veggies, maybe a slice of cheese, mustard. If I wanted a snack with that, I love the olive oil popcorn with salt from Trader Joe’s. A typical meal might be a piece of fish, 1/2 of a sweet potato and a large veggie salad with romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, sometimes olives… you get the picture.

    I also cut out man-made sweeteners and used only Stevia products, raw honey or pure molasses/maple syrup to sweeten. You know how you get tired or foggy during the day? That never happened. I never woke up feeling tired. I never had the 3 pm hunger hit me. I felt AMAZING! I’m a big believer in eating this way as a way of life.

    • Cut out the honey/molasses/maple syrup or reduce them to tiny quantities. Unlike cane sugar, they’re HIGHER in fructose by volume. The worst offender of this sort is Agave nectar, which can be as high as 95% fructose. You can only really safely process about 25 grams of fructose a day.

  21. Oh, and I highly recommend a book called The Science of Skinny by Dee McCaffrey. She is a chemist who was over 100 lbs overweight and started noticing the chemicals she used in her laboratory on food ingredient lists and couldn’t believe it (detergent type ingredients). It was pretty eye opening to see the science behind the different ingredients in a lot of processed foods. Before she came along, I would say that we ate a diet RICH in processed foods and all of the wrong foods. That is probably why we had such an amazing turnaround in health through this plan.

  22. Anyone else out there think there’s a link between sugar and acne breakouts? Not to mention the link between sugar and skin inflammation as well…

  23. The type of food we eat and how it affects us is varied and differs from culture to culture in my opinion.

    Up until recently we operated as a fragmented society, filled with isolated communities scattered around the world. Each community faced with its own environment and particular set of challenges. Each community having its own particular diets due to availability of resources and preservation techniques. Our time as a global society is just a tiny spec on the chart of our evolution. And our bodies have learnt to deal with what food was available, for good or for bad. Those minor tweaks to how your body processes food is likely passed on through generations as a trait. So just because I can eat, and very effectively process, a potato, doesn’t mean you can. Maybe my body is just more efficient at absorbing the vitamins and processing the starch because my ancestors had to eat potatoes to survive for generations.

    My point is the quest for the “holy diet” is likely a little too simplistic of an approach. Our digestive systems and internal mechanics are unique. I believe the saying feed your body what it wants holds true, we just need to figure out how to establish what it wants from a scientific standpoint.

    Let’s fight one battle at a time and just agree that chemical processing of government subsidized corn crops in order to blanket the country with cheap high fructose corn syrup is terrible. And we talk about taxing unhealthy food to prevent people from eating it. Wow. How about we just stop using tax payers money to subsidize corn manufacturing, which in turn makes hfcs too expensive, which in turn makes food manufacturers raise prices a bit and start using sugar instead?

    Then we can work on changing the sugar culture. Starting with schools that sell out our childrens health and future for profits.

  24. To feel gratitude for our food is also very important :)

  25. I’ve been off sugar for more than a year now. Not in any form. And I’ve never felt better health before. My energy levels are much, much higher. My mood is excellent… ready to go all the time. My body is back to its 20′s shape.

    I’ve not really fallen sick in the last 1 year, where otherwise I used to have a cold about every month… sugar ruins your hormones. Stay COMPLETELY away from it for a year and you’ll see the difference. I know it’s not easy but you have to do it. Sugar is white poison.

    • Megan, can you give me ideas on what to eat? I want to try to stop eating sugar (in all forms) because of my hypoglycemia and my adrenal fatigue but have no idea what I can eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner and snacks without getting bored. Thanks.

  26. Hi Kris,

    I have never taken sugar even as a child. I did not like the taste of sweet foods, i.e. sweets, cakes, biscuits, fizzy drinks or the like.

    I am now 59 and I am not overweight and my health seems ok for a man my age living in a large city, so my advice would be forget the old wife’s tale that you have a sweet tooth and cut out the sugar.

    Forgot to add, I still have most of my teeth with only 3 missing and 2 fillings. All down to not having a so called sweet tooth.

    Regards, Don Mac.

    • I read somewhere that sugar weakens your immune system, hence the correlation between reduced sugar consumption and fewer colds etc.

  27. Granny2Shoes says:

    I am trying to absorb all the no-no’s and yes-yes’s. I will be 75 next week and am a good example of the western diet of processed foods and sugary desserts. When I was a child (born at the end of the great depression and near to the beginning of World War II), our family of nine children ate mostly bacon gravy and homemade bread and greens gathered from a vacant lot. I was a normal child – neither fat nor skinny. However, we didn’t have extra money for the sugary junk and they were a treat for us.

    Once I became an adult, I ate all the sugary “junk foods” as an indulgence. I might add that in my forties and fifties I too was in relative good health, active with very few health problems. As the body ages, its immune system does not function as well as it did in the younger ages, then you see the results of eating wrong and not exercising. Now I have type II diabetes w/insulin, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, thyroid problems, cardiovascular disease. I have had quadruple bypass, ovarian cancer, and multiple other surgeries.

    The reason I have gone into detail is because of several people who have bragged about their eating badly and are still in good health. Each person is unique and each person is a result of their culture and hereditary genes, what works for one may not work for others and also the habits formed in your adult years seem to be stronger than those of your childhood years. Probably because these are the habits we form by choice and they are not easily broken as in your younger years.

    By the time the illnesses start you not only have to try to break habits by willpower but the illnesses themselves have repercussions, such as insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and craving the highs of dopamine releases. I no longer can eat one little square of chocolate candy or a cracker with cream cheese because I cannot stop at only one. I am addicted to starches and sweets and like an alcoholic I cannot touch them or will eat them until my stomach hurts and my brain keeps telling me I am still hungry.

    I’m sorry this is so long but as an “elder” I want the younger people to know that what you ingest does affect your latter years and there are times you have to experiment to see what works for you and do it to have better health. This also includes many drugs on the market today that affect your health detrimentally. Check to see how they affect your system and if you have to get another doctor to work with you, then do it, because once your health is gone it affects what you are capable of doing with your life. Your health is your responsibility, not anyone else’s.

  28. Hi,
    thanks for this article. Very clear and well organized. I have been on a no-GMO diet for some time now, and my health improved. Two days ago I decided to remove sugar and wheat from my diet as well.

    So far I notice an increase in energy that is causing me trouble, as I need to stay sitting for long periods of time due to my work.

    I guess it calls for a total life reorganization. :)

    There is one tiny detail that called my eye as off in the article. You mention vegetable oil as one of the present maladies. I might be wrong, but I think that it is grain based vegetable oil the one to avoid.

    One last comment. There is a connection between the sugar abuse and criminal behavior. Look into Russel Blaylock material.

  29. Dale Mallie says:

    Age 65.
    Just in the past six months I have eliminated Xanax, sugar (agave nectar, honey, brown Sugar, basically all sweets and fructose), bread, but added sprouted 100% whole grain, started eating mostly organic fruits and veggies, eliminated 1800 mg of ibuprofen, but still use 1200, stopped drinking wine with dinner and added turmeric and boswellia joint support for arthritis. I take multiple vitamins, Re yeast rice, B-12, glucosamine and chondroitin.

    Constant arthritis pain was the straw that forced me to start this new regime after finding out the sugar was the culprit. I have lost 10 lbs in two weeks, but am now concerned about muscle loss. I live a strenuous and very physical life producing architectural stone products.
    Lifting and placing heavy objects is common.
    Can you recommend a joint lubricant other than glucosamine and chondroitin and do they help lubricate joints and revitalize cartilage, or is that a myth.

    Can the natural sugars in an apple or grapes aggravate arthritic joints also.
    Should I avoid the sweeter fruits and use vegetables more to avoid any sugar at all, glucose as well as fructose.

    Do omega fatty acids play a role in joint pain and if so is EPA or DHA more important?

    What is your experience with hyaluronic acid?

    Can coconut oil help solve arthritic joint pain when used for cooking?

    Is any of this discussion pertinent to Meniscus Repair without surgery?

    Thanks for the Blog and I’m looking forward to your reply.
    Dale Mallie

    • Dale Mallie says:

      Selling and other additives to Dale’s post:
      Reduced 3000 mg of Advil to 1200 mg of ibuprofen in three 400 mg doses per day.
      Spelling error of red yeast rice.
      Is Krill Oil better than typical Omega 3 Gels from Costco? (1000 mg of fish oil)
      What role does probiotics play in joint pain, if any? Is the product key biotics actually better?

      Thank you again,
      Dale Mallie.

  30. Yes, I’ve been avoiding chocolates for a month now. Helps me shed off a few kg too! Try replace them with fruits. Believe me, it works with determination and mind over matter.

  31. I want to stop eating sugar. I do like a margarita and will be leaving for vacation. I have found a “skinny” margarita mix but the label says sugar as the second ingredient. This is obviously “sugar” but I am confused with the fructose part. Is sugar okay… just not fructose, or is no sugar at all best?

  32. I have drastically reduced my sugar intake over the last few days. Yesterday I was irritable, and hungry for sugar, but I managed to avoid succumbing. I had no idea why, until I cottoned on that it might be to do with the lack of sugar – so I read up online and found that all my symptoms were withdrawal symptoms. So I went for a long walk which helped. Today I feel less sugar needy.

  33. I recently spoke with a real health guru and the subject of coming off sugar came up in the conversation.

    I have had Psoriasis on my knees and elbows my whole life.

    After about 50 years of it all over his back, he changed his diet and eliminated sugar in all forms. Psoriasis is a virus that attacks the immune system in the skin and can be very painful. His condition cleared and has been totally eliminated.

    Sugar is everywhere. It goes under the names of Honey, Agave Nectar, Fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup (TWO OF THE WORST), glucose and of all things, SUGAR.

    The correlation between sugar and probiotics in our guts is also a factor.

    I am trying to level off after a long antibiotic run for the last month.

    Can anyone shed some light on the subject of weight loss, probiotics and how our immune systems react to eliminating sugar.

    PS. My arthritis has basically been eliminated, and I think the small patches of psoriasis on my elbows are receding.

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