Coming up on this episode of the Doctor’s Farmacy.
Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s not the sugar that you add to your food that’s the problem. It’s the sugar that’s added by corporations.
Welcome to the Doctor’s Farmacy. This is Dr. Mark Hyman, and that’s Farmacy with an F, a place for conversations that matter. And if you have any confusion about sugar sweeteners, what’s good, what’s bad, should you have any, which kinds can you have, well, this is the podcast you’re going to listen to because I’m going to answer all those questions. And this is one of my new favorite forums of my podcast called Health Bites. Well, this is a very big bite because we’re going to talk all about sugar, but I’m excited to talk to you about it because sugar is so damaging to our health and increasingly to almost everything that matters to us in the world, which is a rabbit hole I can’t go down but it was in Food Fix. If you want to learn about how our food system and sugar in particular is a cause of so many of our ills, read it. But it is a driver of obesity, of diabetes, of heart disease, of cancer, of dementia, of stroke, depression, you name it, infertility.
And if that’s true, why are we eating it at the incredible amounts that we’re consuming it, which is about 152 pounds of sugar a year? And even worse, why are we giving this to our kids? I had a friend who was a pediatrician who said, “If we were having a foreign nation do to our kids what we’re doing to them, we’d go to war to protect our children. “And yet 40% of our kids are overweight. And increasingly it’s getting worse and worse. And now little kids have Type 2 diabetes. I talked to a surgeon who treats kids with liver issues and he said he literally had to do two liver transplants on 15-year-old kids because they were drinking so much sugar and soda. So today we’re going to talk about the truth about sugar, artificial sweeteners, how they’re killing us. We’re going to talk about how sugar can dramatically alter your metabolism and your brain chemistry.
It can cause you to have really bad sugar cravings and carb cravings and how quitting sugar can rapidly improve your health, just like that. And we’re going to walk through all the different types of sugars and what sugars we should absolutely stay away from. So let’s do a quick round of true or false. The main problem with sugar is that it’s just empty calories. True or false? False sugar isn’t just empty calories, it’s dangerous calories. It causes heart disease, diabetes, cancer, all the things I mentioned. It doesn’t just make you overweight, it makes you sick even if you don’t gain weight. So a lot of people are what we call skinny-fat. They look skinny, but they’re skinny on the outside, fat on the inside. Next question, agave syrup is a healthy alternative to high fructose corn syrup and sugar. Sounds great. Agave comes from a plant, it’s all natural.
Yeah, yeah, cool. But no way. That’s false ’cause it sounds healthy, but it’s pure fructose. Now, fructose is fine when you have it in fruit, but if you have pure fructose, it drives all these metabolic pathways that cause fatty liver, diabetes, inflammation, high uric acid, which causes all kinds of dangerous downstream effects, you can read my friend David Perlmutter’s book Drop Acid, if you want to learn about that. It creates dangerous types of cholesterol and it’s produced with all sorts of toxic chemicals. So no Agave syrup, sorry, fans. Next question, saturated fat from butter or meat causes heart disease but not carbs or sugar. In other words, it’s meat and fat that cause heart disease, not carbs and sugar. False. That is a lie we’re all told for years. But we now know that sugar in all its forms, not fat, is a leading cause of heart disease.
And this is well documented in study after study, which we’re going to share with you on our show notes. But it is very, very significant that saturated fat for most people is not the boogeyman, but sugar and carbs are, and I mean refined carbs. Obviously, broccoli is a carb. Sugar also, next question, may be more addictive than cocaine. That true or false? Sounds false, but it’s actually true. And I actually documented this in my book Food, What The Heck Should I Eat? And the 10-day Detox Diet. And what they did was they took animal studies because it’s hard to do on humans, but they also did it in humans, they found real withdrawal symptoms when people stop sugar like heroin or cocaine. But they found that if you took a rat and you put an IV of cocaine in its arm and you let it push the levering as much cocaine as it wanted, if it had sugar next door, it would always go to the sugar and give up the cocaine.
And if they basically had to work to get sugar, they would work eight times harder to get sugar than they would to get cocaine. So it’s really bad. They even put them on an electric shock pad and they kept feeding them sugar and they kept drinking the sugar water even while they were getting electrocuted. So that’s how addictive it is. Next question, one of the benefits of eating sugar is that it provides fuel to your brain. Your brain has to have glucose, right? I was trained that that’s true in medical school except it’s false. In fact, your body will make whatever sugar you need. There are essential amino acids, there’s essential fatty acids, but there’s no such thing as essential carbohydrates. Now with that said, you can get plenty of glucose and sugar from eating fruits and whole foods. Grains, nuts, seeds, beans, obviously all have that carbohydrate but that’s fine for your body.
But you do not need sugar for your brain. In fact, it runs better on fat, particularly MCT. And we know a lot of studies now are looking at brain disorders, whether it’s schizophrenia, autism, whether it’s Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, brain cancer even, that putting people on a ketogenic diet can actually improve or even cure some of these problems. Now, next question, high fructose corn syrup, it’s just sugar with a different name. Is it really that different, true or false? Well, it’s not just sugar with another name. It’s particularly bad for a number of reasons. And I think I wrote a blog, we’ll link, two years ago called Five Ways That High Fructose Corn Syrup will Kill You. And here’s a reason. When you have sugar, it’s bound with a bond with a glucose and a fructose molecule, which is table sugar and it’s 50/50 and it takes the body work to break apart those bonds.
Table sugar is glucose and fructose bound with a bond and it’s 50/50 and it takes work to break apart the glucose and the fructose. Whereas high fructose corn syrup is free fructose and it’s anywhere from 55 to 75% fructose. Now, free fructose is not found in nature. It’s bound up in fruit, for example, on other foods. And it’s incredibly dangerous to the body in that form and causes tremendous amounts of fatty liver. This is how the 15-year-olds need a liver transplant because they’re drinking high fructose corn syrup sodas. It’s an industrial product that is metabolized very differently than sugar and it also may contain mercury as part of the making of it. They use chlor-alkali to actually kind of separate it out and make it. And that actually contains some mercury. So it might have mercury in it. And it also is harder for the body to absorb it.
In other words, it takes energy to absorb fructose. Where glucose just goes in, the body uses the ATP or energy to absorb fructose. And what that’s done, this is the work of Bruce Ames and others, it literally causes a depletion of energy in the gut or ATP. And you need energy to keep the tight junctions, the little Lego kind of connections that keep your intestinal cells together, you need those in order for your gut to not be leaky. When you have a leaky gut, it creates inflammation, obesity, cancer, heart disease, you name it, autoimmunity. And so when you eat a lot of fructose, free fructose, it causes a leaky gut which compounds the problem. So it just should not be in your diet. If there’s one single thing you can do to dramatically improve the quality of your diet, is never, ever, ever, ever eat anything with high fructose corn syrup. Read the labels.
Next question on the quiz is if you want to lose weight, just replace sugary drinks with diet soda. True, right? No, it’s actually false. And this is because when we look at the data on artificial sweeteners, they are a thousand times sweeter than regular sugar. They trigger the brain to all sorts of weird metabolic chaos. In other words, Pavlov’s dogs, when they just rang the bell, the dog would salivate even if there was no food. The same thing happens. You ring that sugar bell on your tongue and your brain goes into gear, produces insulin, it makes you store fat, it shuts down your metabolism. It seems to lead to diabetes and it’s really nasty to the gut floor. It actually promotes obesity, Type 2 diabetes, weight gain. So we’re going to link to a lot of the studies that show this, but it’s just no place for traditional artificial sweeteners that we have saccharin or Aspartame or surculose or any of these.
And the different ones that are problematic for different reasons. And we’ll talk about the natural ones like monkfruit, and we’ll talk about Stevia and other ones but basically if you have to ask, “Can I have…?” It generally means that you’re an addict and you should pay attention to that voice in your head that’s trying to negotiate with me about what kind of sweetener you can have. That’s a very important thing to learn. Okay, so what’s the problem with sugar? We’re going to kind of recap a little bit, but it causes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, actually causes low HDL, the good cholesterol. It causes small particles which are super dangerous, super high triglycerides, and heart disease. In fact, they looked at 75% of people who came into the emergency room with a heart attack had either diabetes or pre-diabetes based on a glucose tolerance test.
And most of them were undiagnosed. So it’s really the sugar that’s the problem. Also, cancer, we know that cancer is driven by insulin resistance. Pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, the common cancers we see are fueled by sugar. And so when oncologists go, “Oh, just have milkshakes,” and whatever, I’m like, “No, no, no, no, this is bad.” So you want to make sure that if you are at risk for cancer or if you have cancer that you don’t eat a lot of sugar or very much at all. In fact, there’s work being done in this space with Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee who wrote the Emperor of all Maladies. I think it won the Pulitzer Prize and won some award. Amazing book about cancer. He’s an oncologist and he’s really leading some of the research on ketogenic diets and cancer reversal, whether it’s stage four melanoma or stage four pancreatic cancer.
I was at a conference once with him and he said, “Mark, we found what’s the real driver of cancer.” And I’m like, “Sugar?” He’s like, “How did you know?” I’m like, “Yeah, well, pretty obvious.” Not only does it lead to cancer, but it accelerates every aspect of aging. And I just finished my book Young Forever, which is coming out on February, 2023. And in there I talk about how every age related hallmark of aging, all the things that go wrong with aging are worsened or caused by sugar and starch. And if you want to get dementia, for sure, eat a lot of sugar. I remember Ronald Reagan, his big jar of jelly beans. Well, I don’t know, but I think that might have had something to do with the dementia. We know very clearly that dementia is linked to the amount of insulin resistance.
In fact, lots of dementia researchers are now calling dementia or Alzheimer’s type three diabetes. Also just like alcohol does, it damages the liver and causes fatty liver, which affects about 90 million people in America and it leads to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, everything else. It’s just bad news. If you think artificial sweeteners are good, well, think again. They actually may be worse for your brain and metabolic health. Aspartame is a neurotoxin. We know this, I have so many patients who have cognitive issues and memory issues, headaches, migraines. We get them off the diet sodas and drinks, they feel so much better. They actually make you want to drink more sugar and more food. In fact, they’ll eat more food if you have more artificial sweeteners because you’re hungrier because you’ve created this Pavlov response in your body that makes you think.
And then what happens when there’s no food? So your body’s go like, “Wait a minute, there was no sugar. I don’t know what’s going on.” And it just creates this whole process of slowing your metabolism and increasing weight gain. All right, so what are the six things that we need to know about sugar? One, it’s addictive. Despite the industry’s best efforts, it’s not a secret anymore that sugar is bad for you. In fact, just to kind of recap on a study that was done in the sixties by the two leading Harvard nutritionists, at the time there were not a lot of nutritionists in academia, but these were Harvard nutritionists who were the leading thinkers at the time in nutrition science, and they wrote an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, this is before peer review. And in that article they basically said fat was the problem, not sugar.
And it turns out that a forensic analysis essentially by researchers today found that those authors were paid off the equivalent of about $50,000 to write the article saying it was fat, not sugar. And they were paid off by the sugar lobby, basically the sugar association. So there’s been a lot of suppression of the sugar conversation even in our dietary guidelines. I mean the food lobby is so big. So I’ve written a lot about this in Food Fix. You can read about that there. But it is very addictive and it’s why people struggle to give up their cookies, cakes, and ice cream. And it also alters your metabolism and brain chemistry. They’ve done studies, for example, on these men who are overweight and they gave them this milkshakes, they both tasted the same and they gave the same group of men the one kind of milkshake on one day and another type of milkshake another day.
And the one milkshake was same protein, same fat, same carbohydrate, same fiber, everything was the same except the carbohydrate in the one was fast acting and then in one, it was slow acting. So when they took the slow acting carbohydrate, nothing really happened. Their blood sugars didn’t spike, their cholesterol didn’t change, their insulin didn’t spike, their cortisol didn’t spike, their brain chemistry looked fine. When they gave them the quickly absorbing sugar, and by the way, the people didn’t know they were eating something different, it tasted the same, so they thought they were having the same milkshake, their insulin went up, their cortisol went up, their adrenaline went up. It’s like a stress, their obviously blood sugar and their cholesterol went up. All these things happened. And when they looked at the brain imaging on a functional MRI scan, they found that the area called the nucleus accumbens lit up like a Christmas tree, which is the addiction center that gets lit up by heroin or cocaine.
So we know the biology of this is real. Next thing you should know about sugar is that stopping will quickly fix things. It’s so over the place, it’s so easy to access, and it’s effect on our brain is so powerful that it feels like you are never going to be able to quit. And I did a workshop once with this sort of on sugar detox and it was a long time ago. And anyway, there’s a woman there, she’s like, “Oh look, I’m addicted sugar, I know it. I can’t stop. There’s nothing you can do. I know this isn’t going to work but I’ll do it anyway.” I’m like, “Okay, just see what happens.” So like day two, she came up to me and she goes, “I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it. I don’t have any cravings for sugar. I feel totally different. It’s amazing.”
And all I did was feed her in a way to balance her blood sugar by having protein and fat in the morning, getting rid of all the obvious sugars and refined carbohydrates, lots of veggies, lots of fiber. It’s not that hard. Your body wants to be healthy. And I wrote a book called The Blood Sugar Solution, 10-Day Detox Diet, which is about sugar addiction. And it takes you through in 10 days how to reset your whole nervous system. And not only will you not crave sugar anymore, but average person lost about seven or eight pounds in a week. In 10 days, their blood pressure dropped 10, 20 points. They reduced all symptoms from all diseases by about 70%. So if you have migraines, digestive issues, sleep problems, joint pain, whatever it was, everything dropped 70% by getting your system healthy.
So that’s important to remember. It’s quick. You don’t have to wait forever to see the results. So we had a woman in our Cleveland Clinic program called Functioning For Life. Within three days of joining the program… This woman was on insulin for 10 years, was severely overweight in three days. In three days, she was off her insulin by changing her diet. In three months, she reversed her diabetes completely and her heart failure and everything else. Pretty impressive. Next thing you should know about sugar is there’s many ways to say sugar and to quote Shakespeare, “A Rose is but a rose by any other name.” The other thing you should know is that we have many names for sugar.
I think the Inuit from the Arctic say they have a hundred words for snow and we have so many ways of saying sugar and often we miss it on the label because it’s kind of hidden. So what food companies will do, they’ll literally put four or five different kinds of sugar in some product because you’re forced to list the ingredients in order of the amount on the label. So basically if they’ve put five kinds of sugar, they can list like a healthier ingredient first, like flour or something and not actually put sugar as the main ingredient. So it’s really, really sneaky what they do. Then other thing you should be aware is there’s a lot of words that you might see like agave, cane sugar, corn anything, rice, even brown rice syrup, any kind of evaporated cane juice. What the heck’s that? That’s called sugar.
Even fruit. You might see fruit concentrate or fruit juice, I mean that’s just basically sugar. Anything with -Ose in the end, like fructose, dextrose, maltose, triose, sucrose, these are all sugar. Anything with malt in it like malt syrup, flow malt, maltodextrin, also sugar. Anything with -iso like isoglucose, isomaltose. Basically there’s a million names for sugar. Syrup, bright maple syrup, sorghum syrup, corn syrup, pancake syrup, which is usually per fructose, molasses. Anything with the word sugar in it, date sugar, coconut sugar, brown sugar, beet sugar, confectioner’s sugar, it’s all sugar. So sugar, sugar, sugar. Now is high fructose corn syrup a little worse? Yes. But in the end, it’s all bad. Next thing you need to know is that artificial sweeteners are also not so great for you. So here’s a classic example of what happens when you try to outsmart mother nature.
Rather than accepting that we really shouldn’t be eating a lot of sugar or we shouldn’t be having a lot of artificial sweeteners and rather than accept the fact that we just should try to eat less and not have so much sugar, we kind of want the hack, we want the magic loophole to avoid doing what’s really good for us. We tried this with fat. “Butter bad and saturated fats bad so let’s get margarine.” I grew up on Fleischmann’s margarine, but it turns out that trans fats are not only not good for you, they’re very bad for you and they’ve killed hundreds of thousands of people and they cause heart disease, diabetes, and they’re really unsafe. And the government finally, after 50 years and a lawsuit, finally caved and said, “Oh gee, it’s not safe anymore.” They called it a grass, generally recognized as safe. They removed the grass label. The problem is it’s still in the marketplace because FDA is in cahoots with the food industry and essentially they gave them a lot of loopholes and ways to kind of leave it in there.
So I go to the store regularly and I kind of hunt for products. Now a lot of companies have taken it out, but what they’re replacing with may not be any better. So I think we have to be very careful. Like palm, palm shortening, which can be from palm trees, but they’re often kind of harvested in ways that destroy rainforests and destroy habitats of orangutan, I mean it’s really bad. So there are also five things that have received FDA approval, that are sweeteners, saccharin, Sweet and Low, Acesulphame which is Sunett or Sweet One, and Aspartame, NutraSweet, Equal, and others, surculose which is Splenda, and Neotame. So these are all things you should avoid. They’re really bad for you and don’t have them. People who drink diet drinks every day in a study about heart disease had a greater risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
They’re carcinogenic in animal studies, they destroy your gut microbiome. I mean they’re really bad for the good bugs in your gut and they cause more glucose intolerance, diabetes, certain compounds are cytotoxins like damage neurons like Aspartame. In the brain, have neurologic issues. So not so good. And you go, “Well, what about sugar alcohols? Aren’t those not bad? Cause we don’t absorb them.” Well, sugar alcohols sound great, but they’re kind of these weird strange names. They’re derived from plants, fruit and vegetables sometimes, and they’re in everything, candy to bubble gum to cough drops, to chewable vitamins, to smoothies. Even “health foods” often have these. Now they’re kind of less sweet than traditional artificial sweeteners. They do have calories, but we don’t absorb them because they’re too big. So anything with the word -ol on it, mannitol, maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol, these are things you don’t want to eat. When you do, they tend to cause a lot of gut issues.
The bugs in your gut, they love these. They just munch them down and they’ll create bloating. I mean, I remember once when these first came out 25 years ago or something, this patient of mine gave me this chocolate bar. “Look, Dr. Hyman, here’s a chocolate bar and there’s no sugar and it’s amazing and it tastes good.” And I’m like, “Great.” And I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to eat it.” So I was tired that day I think and I just scarfed the whole thing down in the afternoon. I was hungry, I was seeing patients, and my stomach blew up like a balloon. Literally my gut bacteria did not like it. So I would not really consume these at all. They can cause diarrhea, bloating, gas, all kinds of digestive issues and they mess with your gut flora. So there’s some that are a little bit better like erythritol, but still be very, very careful with these.
Don’t think you have a free pass and it can ferment, it can cause all kinds of issues. So don’t take it, especially if you have gut issues. Now some natural sweeteners are a little bit better than others. I mean listen, we all like sweet stuff. But my view is if you’re going to have something sweet, just have it. You have a large, sugary coffee drink in the morning, that can have more sugar than a soda. That can have eight or nine teaspoons of sugar or more in that. Now you wouldn’t put eight or nine teaspoons of sugar in your coffee. So if you even take a teaspoon of sugar and you put it in your coffee, that’s probably a lot better than trying to do all these other things and being really aware. So I would say not more than five teaspoons a day, but that can be even too much for some of us.
Most adults consume 22 teaspoons a day, kids about 34 teaspoons. Artificial sweeteners, as we said, not good. Sugar alcohols, not good. “Dr. Hyman, you’re killing me. What am I going to do?” Well, first of all, if you stay healthy, if you’re metabolically tuned up, if your metabolic engine and your muscles and your mitochondria and your weight and you don’t have a lot of organ and belly fat and you want to have a little sugar and you exercise regularly, okay, it’s not going to kill you. But if you are not metabolically tuned up, which by the way is 93.2% of Americans are not in good metabolic health, which is frightening to me, and how you tell is check your insulin. If your insulin’s less than five, you’re probably okay. If it’s less than two, you’re good. But if your insulin’s high, you’re kind of in trouble and you’re not going to have a lot of tolerance.And what I call metabolic degrees of freedom.
We get more metabolic degrees of freedom by being healthier and more resilience, metabolic resilience, but most of us are metabolically just a train wreck. So be careful, but let’s say you want to have a little something. I mean, I’m not against having a little maple syrup, a little honey, a little actual sugar sometimes but I would not use these kind of hacks like agave or corn syrup or brown rice syrup. They’re just not healthy for you and they’re going to be mostly fructose and not a good thing. Date sugar can be okay. They might have antioxidants. Molasses actually has iron and things, that could be okay, little bit. You can use dates just as a sweetener. Little maple syrup, a little raw honey, okay, fine. But it’s not the sugar that you add to your food that’s the problem, it’s the sugar that’s added by corporations that’s the problem.
If you have one 20 ounce soda, that’s 16 teaspoons of sugar. You wouldn’t put that in your coffee, right? Now here’s another thing you should know about sugar. It’s not just bad for you, it’s bad for the environment. According to the nonprofit, the Worldwide Fund for Nature, sugar production has severe consequences on our air, soil, water, wildlife. Sugar mills pollute waterways. They create toxic environments for aquatic life and conventional production of sugar cane and sugar beets requires massive amounts of pesticides, glyphosate, which is terrible. It causes cancer. I mean there’s like, I think, 14,000 lawsuits talking about glyphosate and billions of dollars in settlements. They’re really bad for farm workers, for wildlife consumers. I mean glyphosate is terrible for your microbiome. So bad news. High fructose corn syrup, another one.
Most of corn we eat in America is not corn. Of all the bushels of corn grown in America, I think 5% we actually eat as corn on the cob or tortillas or whatever. Most of it is industrial food products. Obviously maltodextrin, food additives. But also the growing of it and the production of high fructose corn syrup comes from this. It depletes the soil of nutrients, the tilling and the industrial agriculture and the pesticides, the herbicides causes the destruction of organic matter in the soil, promotes climate change, just uses huge amounts of fertilizers, they destroy our waterways, all kinds of biodiversity loss because of the herbicides and pesticides. I mean it’s just nasty. And then of course the mercury thing, you don’t want to be eating that because that’s not good for you. What about Splenda? Well, according to researchers at University of North Carolina, Splenda is also bad for rivers and oceans. In fact, your body absorbs about 10% of it. The rest is kind of flushed down the toilet and goes into the waterways. And the EPA says it’s a contaminant of emerging concern so another reason not to have that.
Honey can be okay but industrial beekeeping has terrible practices like cutting the wings off queen bees. And it’s basically turned into this insect factory farming with pesticide use. And there’s all kinds of diseases that pop up and kill huge numbers of bees and it threatens the entire world bee population. I mean, I don’t know if it’s true or not, I think it’s attributed to Einstein, he said, “Once we lose bees, humans have four years left to live.” And a lot of our food requires pollination. One of the shocking things I learned was that these giant almond orchards in California have to be pollinated and they’re so big that there’s just not enough bees locally to pollinate them. So they literally fill up jumbo 747s with bee colonies from all over the world, they ship them to California, they release them for a while, put them back and then they take them back in order to pollinate the trees, which is just nuts.
There’s also these class of pesticides, these nicotinoids which are especially harmful for bees, that are dangerous. And honey bees are dying. So it’s a problem. Now what? Eating some sugar. Well, for getting ethically produced sugar, you use fair trade organic palm sugar or maple syrup, organic maple syrup. There’s great options on the website of Fair Trade USA. For non caloric sweeteners, Stevia can be okay, but I would say the whole plant Stevia, not rebaudioside A, which is made by Cargill and Pepsi and Coca-Cola. So that should tell you something about it. Also, there’s other kinds of sweeteners that you can use, which is like monkfruit sweetener, which is I think my favorite.
It’s generally well-tolerated, it’s tasty. I don’t particularly like Stevia because I think it causes problems. But any sweetener could be this brain stimulant so be careful. Look for a product with the Rainforest Alliance certified seal to make sure your Stevia was grown in ways that are sustainable. If you want honey, you can check out the Ethical Consumer Guide. We’ll provide the link in the show notes. And sweeteners, what are things we can include? Well, juice, puréed fruit juice, molasses, organic palm sugar, date sugar, coconut sugar’s got a little lower glycemic index, monkfruit sweetener which is a non-caloric sweetener, organic maple syrup, honey as I mentioned. Stevia and monkfruit typically are the ones I would recommend, but sparingly and erythritol, some people can tolerate it but don’t have that much. And what should we avoid? Well, we shouldn’t be eating mounds of sugar of any kind.
But artificial sweeteners, big no-no. Liquid sugar, calories. If you want to do one thing for your health, besides the high fructose corn syrup, it’s getting rid of sugary beverages. Liquid sugar calories are the worst because of how they affect your metabolism. High fructose corn syrup, don’t eat that. Anything with the word syrup in the name except maple syrup. Anything that are all natural. Agave is natural, sugar cane’s natural, evaporated cane juice is natural, brown rice sugar is natural. That mean it’s good for you. So is arsenic, that’s natural. Packaged foods that have added sugar, just stay away from that stuff. In order to make food taste good, this industrial food, they have to add sugar or salt or fat. And it’s surprising. There’s more sugar in a serving of Prego tomato sauce than there are in two Oreo cookies. So salad dressings, granola, cereals, ketchup, soups, candy, yogurt.
I mean I was surprised. I’m Jewish and we had Passover and I didn’t even look at the label, I just bought some jar of filleted fish that my mother used to buy and I’m like, “This is kind of sweet.” And I kind of looked at the label, it was full of sugar. And I’m like, “Why do they put sugar in fish?” So it’s pretty much in everything. And obviously refined sugars of all kinds, brown sugar, Aspartame, surculose, saccharin, Acesulphame, just pass on those things. And there are a lot of ways to enjoy sweetness. Also a little hack, use a continuous glucose monitoring levels. That’ll help you find out what things are affecting you and what are not. You can also eat protein and fat before you eat something sweet or carby. For example, if you drink a glass of wine or alcohol on an empty stomach, you get a quick buzz.
But if you basically have it after a meal or in the middle of the meal, you don’t get that instant buzz. Why? Because of the quick absorption. Same thing with sugar. We may not get a buzz, but our bodies don’t get the buzz if we eat protein and fat before. So that’s a lot about sugar, probably more than you want to know. But it is one of the most important things to know about in terms of how it affects your health, how it affects the environment, how getting rid of most of it in your diet can create dramatic improvements in your overall wellbeing and health. And there’s only really one really long term solution, we need to ween ourselves off and then we need to eat them as a recreational treat. I talked about having it occasionally and sparingly. I like tequila, but I might have a shot maybe twice a month.
That’s not going to kill me. So learning how to live without all this stuff may take a minute, but your brain will reset, your hormones will reset, your immune system will reset. And if you look at the data, even on Covid for example, if you eat a lot of sugar and are overweight, it suppresses your immune system. So that’s another reason. So if you learn about other foods and other tastes and spices, I mean phytochemically rich food and bitter foods and sour foods and savory foods, so enjoy other foods and get your palate kind of having more fun things. And of course, I know, be realistic. I mean we love sweet, we always go for sweet. It’s just how we’re programmed because when we got something sweet, in nature, if we found a berry patch or we found a honey thing, we’d store all of that for the winter.
Because we wouldn’t be eating all winter, but we just keep eating all winter. So if you have also insulin resistance or diabetes, autoimmune diseases, a lot of gut issues really, you should stay away from all the sugars and sweeteners. If you want to use sugar occasionally at home, go ahead, but use some of the choices I said and understand that it’s not the sugar that you add to your food, typically it’s the sugar that’s added by corporations. So I know that’s a lot about sugar, but I had to do it because I think it’s one of the most important things to know about for people to take care of their health long term and to live a long, healthy life. And that is all for today’s Health Bite. If you loved it, be sure to share it with your friends and family on social media. Leave a comment. Have you navigated your sugar habits and either gotten off it or what are your struggles? We’d love to hear from you. Subscribe wherever you get your podcast and we’ll see you next time on the Doctor’s Farmacy.
Hi, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. Just a reminder that this podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. If you’re looking for help in your journey, seek out a qualified medical practitioner. If you’re looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit ifm.org and search their Find a Practitioner database. It’s important that you have someone in your corner who’s trained, who’s a licensed healthcare practitioner, and can help you make changes, especially when it comes to your health.