Posted in Healthy Eating

Is Sugar Really Toxic? - By Gretchen Scalpi RD, CDE

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, author and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private nutrition practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness. Gretchen provides lectures and workshops on a variety of nutrition topics to corporate and community groups.  She is the author of the "The Everything Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd ed.," and "The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Prediabetes".  If you would like to learn more about Gretchen, or read her newsletter or blog visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com.

 

If you had a chance to watch an episode of 60 minutes back in April, you may be wondering whether that statement is true. Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviewed Dr. Robert Lustig, professor of clinical  pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, who cited sugar as the culprit for the serious health issues facing many Americans.  It’s no secret that the incidence of diabetes and obesity has increased at alarming rates, and sugar is being cited as a cause.  During the interview, Dr. Lustig referred to sugar as “toxic.” Many people have been in this camp for a long time, and now hearing it from a credible source makes it seem even more convincing.  Toxic is a strong word indeed.

 

From my own perspective as a nutrition professional and diabetes educator, I would agree that sugar consumption has negative implications for many people.  People with diabetes, who are overweight are well advised to get excess sugar out of their lives.  But, I believe sugar is not the only dietary problem we have, and agree with Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University Prevention Research Center.  He says that focusing on one dietary problem exclusively makes it all to easy to ignore the rest.  While acknowledging that sugar is harmful, Dr. Katz says “It’s not the sugar that’s the poison, but the dose that makes the poison.”

 

The sad fact is that sugar is found in so many foods, most of us don’t realize the hefty dose of sugar we get on a daily basis.  From soft drinks and desserts, to sauces and ketchup, added sugars in our food is just plain adding up everywhere.  Trying to cut out all sugar from our diets could be a daunting task.  A focus on the differences between added sugar and natural sugar could help you start sorting things out.

 

There are differences between naturally occurring sugar found in food, and sugar that has been added to foods.  Knowing whether sugar is added or is in the food itself, could help you make better food choices and reduce your overall consumption.  It’s the added sugar in food that usually puts the average American’s sugar intake over the top.

 

The natural sugar found in fruit, whole grains, milk, and certain vegetables are part of a healthy diet:  we still need to include those foods.  Let’s not forget that portion size also affects the amount of sugar we get on a daily basis.  Too much of even a healthy food could cause us to get more sugar than we need.

 

In light of all we know about the deleterious effects of too much sugar, cutting down seems to be good advice for everyone.  First, target the foods with added sugars:  soft drinks, fruit juice drinks, desserts, certain cereals and packaged foods.  Then while you’re at it, make sure your portion sizes are in check!

 

 Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, author and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private nutrition practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness. Gretchen provides lectures and workshops on a variety of nutrition topics to corporate and community groups.  She is the author of the "Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance at Health," and "The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Prediabetes".  If you would like to learn more about Gretchen, or read her newsletter visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com.

 

This article is courtesy of the Top 1% Club and the Top 1% Club Mentor Gail Kasper. For additional information on Gail Kasper, her television appearances and speaking engagements, please visit gailkasper.com.