Sugar is the generalised name for sweet, short-chain, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. They are of various kinds and from different sources, mainly plants, but especially extracted in sufficient concentrations from sugarcane and sugar beet.

Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose and galactose. The table or granulated sugar most customarily used as food is sucrose, a disaccharide which, in the body, hydrolyses into fructose and glucose.

In recent times, the awareness of the relationship between sugar and chronic diseases is ever-growing and cannot be over-emphasised. According to a study published in 2013, nearly one in five U.S. deaths is now associated with obesity. Obesity is, indeed, a marker for chronic and potentially deadly disease, but the underlying problem that links obesity to so many other serious health issues — including heart disease, arthritis, cancer, infertility and diabetes — is metabolic dysfunction.

Now, mounting evidence clearly shows that added sugars, and processed fructose in particular, is a primary driver of metabolic dysfunction.

One of the primary sources of calories for many of us is sugar — specifically high fructose corn syrup in soda, fruit juice and processed foods. Because of advances in food processing technology in the 1970s, fructose derived from corn has become very cheap and is widely used in the majority of processed foods for increased sales.

The body metabolises fructose much differently from glucose — which is the energy that most body cells and, indeed, all living cells utilise. Only about 20 per cent of glucose in the body is metabolised by the liver, as most cells in the body utilise it for energy. On the contrary, the entire burden of metabolising fructose falls on the liver, where excess fructose is quickly converted into fat — very low density lipoproteins and triglycerides, which explains the weight gain and abdominal obesity experienced by so many.

Refined fructose is actually broken down very much like alcohol, damaging the liver and causing mitochondrial and metabolic dysfunction in the same way as ethanol and other toxins. It also causes more severe metabolic dysfunction because it’s more readily metabolised into fat than any other sugar.

The fact that refined fructose is far more harmful to the health than other sugars was recently highlighted in a meta-review published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the premier high quality peer-reviewed clinical journals in general and internal medicine.

According to modern Mayr medicine, many of the harmful bacteria in the intestinal tract such as Candida and other fungi multiply rapidly when sugar is present in the tract, since they are able to digest sugar.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that there’s “a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for cardiovascular disease mortality.”

The 15-year-long study, which included data for 31,000 Americans, found that those who consumed 25 per cent or more of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those who got less than 10 per cent of their calories from sugar.

On the whole, the odds of dying from heart disease rose in proportion with the percentage of added sugar in the diet, regardless of age, sex, physical activity level, and body mass index.

Fructose is the primary cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver and elevates uric acid, which raises blood pressure, stresses the kidneys, and leads to the chronic, low-level inflammation that is at the core of most chronic diseases such as arthritis, and leading to heart attack and stroke. Metabolically speaking, fructose is alcohol “without the buzz.” Elevated uric acid levels have been implicated by many studies in diseases such as arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, stroke, kidney disease and preeclampsia in pregnancy — where uric acid’s ability to promote inflammation, oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction has a debilitating impact on placental development and function and maternal vascular health.

Fructose tricks the body into gaining weight by giving false signals to our metabolism — it turns off the body’s appetite-control system. It does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and doesn’t stimulate leptin (the satiety hormone), which together result in you eating more and developing insulin resistance and eventually, diabetes.

Fructose rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity (beer belly), decreased high-density lipoprotein — the good cholesterol, increased low-density lipoprotein — the bad cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure — i.e. classic metabolic syndrome X.

To be concluded.