Sugar: sugar, diseases and detoxification

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

Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose and galactose. The table or granulated sugar that is often used as food is sucrose. This is a disaccharide that hydrolyses in the body 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 deaths in the United States 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 are 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 it 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 utilize; so that only about 20 per cent of glucose in the body is metabolised by the liver as most cells 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. This explains why many people experience weight gain and abdominal obesity.

Refined fructose is actually broken down very much like alcohol, thus 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 is readily metabolised into fat than any other sugar.

The fact that refined fructose is far more harmful to health than other sugars was recently highlighted in a meta-review published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings — the premier high quality peer-reviewed clinical journal 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 two times 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 the 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, like arthritis, that  cause heart attack and stroke.

Metabolically speaking, fructose is alcohol “without the buzz”. Elevated uric acid levels has been implicated by many studies in diseases like arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, stoke, kidney disease and preeclampsia in pregnancy — where uric acid’s ability to promote inflammation, oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction have a debilitating impact on placental development and function, as well as maternal vascular health.

Fructose tricks our 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 —  and increased low-density lipoprotein or the bad cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar and high blood pressure.

Most of these changes are not seen when humans consume starch (glucose), showing that fructose is just outright a bad carbohydrate, especially when consumed at more than 25grams daily.

The majority of all this sugar is hidden in processed foods and beverages, so to address obesity and related health issues like diabetes, arthritis and heart disease, ridding our diet of processed foods, especially sugar, is key for success.

To prevent chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, the World Health Organisation suggests limiting sugar consumption to a maximum of five per cent of our daily calories, especially if one shows signs of insulin resistance such as being overweight, has high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.

At Mart-Life Detox Clinic, we help to relieve the liver of its daily burden of refining the crude materials we put into our body and, hence, rescue it from the harmful by-products of these substances, fructose being one of them.

The liver is rested, supported and rejuvenated by our various treatments and techniques specialised for this overworked organ of the body. Using our various therapies and procedures, we remove toxins from the body, reducing the stress on the liver.