The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that obesity and diabetes cost $1 billion a day! And sugar may be the culprit, or it is at least complicit in these health dangers.
A little history: medical records up to the 1850s indicate virtually no existence of diabetes. Post Civil War saw an increase in this diagnosis, along with sugar consumption. Early in the 1900s, particularly after the invention of home refrigerators, Americans were able to enjoy cold sugary soft drinks at home. In the 1940s, children/parents were able to substitute dessert for breakfast with the introduction of sweet cereals such as Sugar Crisp and its progeny. Today, a walk down any grocery aisle reveals the ubiquity of sugar in our national diet. Why not, it tastes good!
The argument against targeting sugar was the notion that a calorie is a calorie, and that there is nothing in the chemical makeup of sugar that is more insidious that a calorie of, say, animal fat.
However, starting with research occurring in the 1970s by nutritionist John Yudkin, it may be that sugar’s chemistry produced something that is referred to as “metabolic syndrome.” High metabolism means you’re skinny, low metabolism means you’re a bit heavier.
This syndrome, it is hypothesized, rather uniquely results in resistance to the hormone insulin. Insulin regulates how the body uses food, such as protein, carbohydrates and fats, and whether the body accumulates or burns them. According to this and other corroborating research, too much sugar interferes with insulin. Insulin resistance is the primary characteristic in Type 2 diabetes, and is common in patients suffering from obesity.
There is some controversy over the causation aspect of sugar in the American epidemic of obesity. Large scale trials would be needed, and thousands of subjects would have to give up the delights of sweet food for an extended period of time. However, there are regions in the world where sugar consumption is relatively low and there is a low incident of obesity, cancer and the remaining list of what many researchers believe are opportunistic diseases.
The jury is out, but they are certainly leaning toward the guilt of sugar in the diet. There may very well be something in the chemical profile of sugar which makes it a particularly bad calorie.
As always, the key is to moderate, if not eliminate sugar in the food we eat. But sugar is sneaky. The key is to examine the label of food products and look for the ingredients which contain sugar in any form, such as fructose. There are many healthy flavorful alternatives to breakfast and snacking choices. For example, substituting pure nut butter for peanut butter with a piece of fruit or in the oatmeal would be a great start.
At Futters Nut Butters we never add sugar to any of our butters. Pick some up here!