How Fructose Affects Our Health

By December 17, 2019 Weight Loss

The science of thermodynamics once dominated the weight loss world. The simple principle that one calorie equaled one unit of energy meant that if you used up more energy than you consumed, the natural outcome was weight loss. “Eat less; do more!” This is the basis of every fad diet that’s ever been created. Some of these fad diets promise dramatic results with little to no scientific evidence. Others have proven to help you achieve positive results—the Atkins and South Beach diets, for example. But these are also examples of diets that can work wonders for one person and not result in any changes for another.

Of course, the basic concept of eating less and doing more carries some truth, but a very small fraction of the truth.

The principle was like the goose that laid the golden egg for companies that manufactured high sugar content products like Coca-Cola, for example. There was a period of time when fat was the villain. Our focus was directed toward labels like “low-fat,” “no fat,” “saturated fat,” “trans fats,” etc., and marketing firms for food companies ran with these terms. “Low-Fat” was all over labels in grocery stores and still is today. During this time, sugar crept in through the back door and none of us noticed. We were too busy trying to avoid consuming fat. Sugar has been gently choking the health out of us ever since.

The average American now consumes around 152 pounds of sugar per year! Think about that for a moment.

To give you some context on what 152 pounds of sugar looks like, it is the equivalent of 17,233 teaspoons. So, if you like to add sugar to your daily cup of coffee, you would be adding a little over 47 teaspoons of sugar to it. You might see there is a huge problem with this.

Fructose, which is very sweet, white, odorless and the most soluble of all sugars is found not only in most processed foods but also in table sugar (50%). Fructose is a huge culprit in diabetes, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and fatty liver. This is because unlike other sugars, the only way our bodies can process fructose is through the liver. What is not immediately converted into energy is stored as internal fat (visceral fat- a type of fat that’s stored within the abdominal cavity) surrounding our liver and other internal organs.

This all sounds terrible and may make you want to skip your teaspoon of sugar in your coffee today. But as bad as this sounds, fructose isn’t finished with us yet. It is also highly addictive. It affects the same regions of our brains as cocaine and alcohol, producing a sugar “high,” then a “crash” followed by cravings.

We experience these cravings as hunger. The more fructose we consume, the bigger the crash and the more extreme the cravings (hunger). A crash results in decreased productivity and low energy levels.

The pervasive nature of sugar in our diets makes it almost impossible to avoid, but with insight and careful self-management, we can actively reduce our sugar consumption.

Planning our meals ahead of time is one way we can avoid excess sugary snacks. Sometimes when we’re hungry, we reach for the easiest thing. If you’re at work and haven’t thought about what’s for lunch, grabbing a candy bar or “energy bar” loaded with sugar is the fastest and easiest way to satisfy your hunger in that moment. The problem with that is that it won’t sustain you for very long and will just lead to more hunger and low energy or fatigue.

You can combat these sugar crashes by—you guessed it: not consuming simple sugars like fruit juices, desserts and candy. You can also avoid it by eating a balanced diet when you do eat simple sugars. Balance eating sweets with protein, carbohydrates and fiber. Eating smaller, balanced meals more often throughout the day can also help in maintaining a healthy diet.

We know fad diets can work for some people and not for others. Also, diets like these are not usually sustainable long-term. Consuming sugary foods and desserts on a regular basis can also be detrimental to our weight loss journey and our overall health and wellness.

Planning meals ahead of time and deciding what you can and cannot eat can be overwhelming. When we’re busy with our day-to-day activities and juggling a good work and home-life balance, thinking about what we eat can fall to the wayside, thus resulting in making unhealthy decisions. Yes, prepping a balanced meal of proteins and veggies for the week is not as easy as reaching for a cereal bar or processed frozen dinner.

We understand the challenges that come with changing the way we look at food, the way we shop for food, and the choices we make when ordering entrees at restaurants. You have to make a change in your daily habits and choices in order to create positive changes in your health. That’s where we come in!

At Physicians Weight Control and Wellness, we utilize the nutritional science of today while learning from the mistakes of the past. Everyone’s metabolism and responses to certain foods and macronutrients is different. We take all factors (science, environmental and cultural) into account in creating a customized nutrition plan for the individual patient. There is no one-size-fits-all in medicine and certainly not in managing weight and wellness.

Most of our patients respond to a lower carb, moderate caloric restriction diet. We focus on using the natural, nutrition rich foods as well as scientifically engineered food products and supplements when convenience is needed. We also teach how to survive at restaurants and what to do when you need to eat on the go. The success of our patients and the ability to learn and apply sound nutritional principles for weight loss and lifetime healthy living is what sets us apart from others.

Get in touch today to learn more about our various programs – from wellness coaching to nutrition consulting – and get on a path toward your best health. We’re also starting a 100 Day Challenge 2020 Vision program. Sign up to commit to better health and wellness in 2020!