Is there such a thing as a safe amount of sugar?
Ideally, you should eliminate all refined sugar from your diet. I'm aware do realize that such a feat may not be realistic for everyone, particularly since a large number of the foods you find at the grocery store have been made with refined sugars (plus the fact that nutrition labels don't have to list the amount of added sugars a product contains).
Many people subscribe to the bizarre logic that if they overindulge in sweets and don't wake up the next day with diabetes or some horrible disease then it must be okay. Dr. Abraham Hoffer, a psychiatrist in British Columbia who has been studying the effects of sugar on health for more than 40 years, says that it takes roughly 15- 20 years of steady consumption of refined sugar and junk food before an individual develops a chronic illness like diabetes. And it doesn't take a lot of sugar to put you at risk. Hoffer's statistics show that once intake exceeds 20 teaspoons daily, the risk of chronic disease increases exponentially.
If you can't completely cut sugar from your diet, due to eating out and not being in control of ingredients, try not to ingest more than two or three teaspoons a day. That way you will stay well below 70 pounds annually (20 teaspoons daily) which is the cut off point for sugar-induced chronic disease. At the level we're eating sugar now (20 teaspoons per person daily), it is only a matter of time before we're facing an epidemic of sugar-induced diseases. In fact, the epidemics may have already begun - according to the Centers for Disease control in Atlanta, the incidence of adult-onset diabetes, has increased by 70 percent among people in their 30s in the past 10 years.
What does processing do to sugar?
Processing sugarcane, or any whole food, strips it of most if not all of its nutritional value. Researchers found that the refining process of sugar removes 93 percent of its chromium, 89 percent of its manganese, 98 percent of its cobalt, 83 percent of its copper, 98 percent of its zinc, and 98 percent of its magnesium. Ironically, the end product, the refined sugar, is what we consume, while the nutritious residues are discarded and generally fed to cattle.
In the 1920s, Sir Frederick Banting, the Canadian medical researcher scientist, who first discovered insulin, visited Panama to study diabetes among workers in the sugar cane fields. He could find almost no incidence of diabetes among the workers who ate the whole sugarcane plant daily. But among their Spanish employers - who incorporated the refined end product, white sugar, into their diets - the disease was rampant.
Is fructose healthier than sugar?
Many people mistakenly believe that fructose is a healthier sugar - especially since it is used in many so-called "natural" foods. While there is a small amount of fructose naturally present in fruit, the fructose that is added to many commercially prepared foods is nearly as refined as plain white sugar.
Most of the fructose you'll encounter is in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which has nearly eclipsed sugar as the most consumed sweetener in the United States. It is added to thousands of products, from cola to cookies and even to canned vegetables. HFCS is a highly refined sweetener that is virtually identical, chemically speaking, to refined white sugar; during digestion sugar breaks down into equal parts of glucose and fructose; HFCS contains 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose.