Heart disease and cancer remain as two of the leading causes of death throughout the world. Initially, a diet high in saturated fats was blamed for causing heart disease; but, new research has proved that sugar, specifically fructose, is actually responsible. And when you consider the overuse of sugar in today’s foods, sugar is also a major contributor to cancer cell growth. Nevertheless, there are some simple steps you can follow to avoid both of these potentially fatal diseases.
Fructose and Glucose - what’s the difference?Fructose and glucose are not dramatically different, as they are both sugars. Fructose is the sugar found primarily in fruit whereas Glucose is the sugar found in carbohydrates. Overconsumption of any sugar is dangerous to your health because it can cause insulin resistance or leptin resistance. And without serious lifestyle changes, both of those conditions can lead to a number of diseases. The reason why fructose stands alone as the main culprit in causing heart disease and cancer is that it has been added to a variety of foods and beverages. This “hidden sugar” commonly called high fructose corn syrup is loaded into almost all processed foods as well as some healthier foods like yoghurt and grain-based breads and cereals. So, unless you are paying close attention, you may be unaware of just how much sugar you are consuming.
Fructose causes chronic diseaseDozens of studies have tested the effects of fructose overconsumption and linked it to 78 different diseases and conditions. And now, heart disease and cancer can be added to that list. One study found that fructose causes the arteries in your skull to narrow and harden. This finding proves that eating too much fructose increases your risk for heart disease more than eating saturated fats. Another study determined that cancer cells use fructose more readily than glucose for their cell division and overall growth. In other words, fructose makes it possible for cancer to thrive and spread. As your body metabolises fructose, it produces uric acid as a by-product. And high levels of uric acid increase your risk of all fructose-related diseases and conditions including heart disease and cancer. Watch this short video from 60 Minutes in the US:
What you can do to fight back!
- Read the label Monitor everything you eat and make sure you understand how much sugar a food or beverage contains before you eat or drink it
- Limit grain carbohydrates Some carbohydrates are necessary for maintaining energy, but avoid over-eating these so that you do not consume too much glucose
- Consume fruit in moderation Fruit is an essential component of a healthy diet, but too much of it can also add to your fructose intake. Keep this in mind even when drinking fruit juices
- Avoid processed foods This might seem obvious, but just one soft drink can put you over the daily recommended limitation of 25 grams or less of fructose
- Eat vegetables, protein, and fat As far as quantities, think HIGH for vegetables, LOW to MODERATE for protein, and MODERATE for fat. Most people actually require 50 to 85 percent of healthy fats in their diet for optimal health.
- Exercise A healthy diet combined with exercise is your best defense in fighting all chronic diseases.
- Consult a healthcare professional Regularly, ‘Ask a Naturopath’ to check your levels of insulin, leptin, and uric acid. These numbers will keep you aware of not only your sugar intake, but also how your body is processing that sugar