SICKLY SWEET: PART 4

Isn’t there lots of sugar in fruit?

Some foods contain their own natural sugar – milk (lactose), sugar cane (glucose), malt (maltose) and fruit (fructose). Unlike glucose which can be metabolized by body cells, the fate of fructose when eaten as fruit, is somewhat different. Fructose is almost entirely metabolized by the liver. As the liver has only a limited storage capacity, most of the excess fructose is stored as fat. This is a challenging concept for fruit lovers, however, don’t be dismayed. Fruit contains essential vitamins, minerals and fibre which is essential for good health with the deleterious effects of fruitopia surfacing only when you DRINK it, not eat it. You see, the processing of solid to liquid strips most of the fibre from the fruit allowing overconsumption. How many whole oranges can you eat in one sitting? One, two at max. How many glasses of fruit juice could you drink in one sitting? Easily one maybe two. Considering that each glass contains four medium oranges – that’s a lot of excess fructose! As a rule, eat your fruit rather than drink it as the high fibre content will fill you up and naturally restrict consumption.  My advice:  if you want to clean-up your diet don’t include fruit juice bought off the supermarket shelf.  If you want to enjoy the benefits of ‘self-juicing’ make sure you buy the machine-type which doesn’t remove the fibre from the fruit during the jucing process.

What is the relationship between sugar and insulin?

Whenever blood sugar levels rise (after a meal) the pancreas secretes insulin in the blood. Think of insulin as the ‘ferryman’ – as it allows the transfer of glucose across cell walls where it can be converted to energy in the cell itself. Without insulin glucose is blocked at the cell wall and remains in the bloodstream. This condition is extremely toxic and is known as Type 2 Diabetes. Over 25% of diabetic conditions are brought about by the excessive intake of sugar where insulin is copiously and continuously called for. Over time the pancreas’s supply of insulin simply diminishes and the ferryman is made redundant. Diabetes brings with it a range of insidious and life threatening conditions including kidney malfunction, blindness and poor circulation leading to amputation. Insulin is also a powerful hormone which regulates fat utilization and fat storage within cells. An alternative theory points the finger squarely at insulin being a major driver in the world’s obesity epidemic. The theory states that high levels of insulin in the blood (as a response to food intake) prevents the body’s ability to burn its own fat as a fuel source. Interestingly, in most cases when insulin is brought under control the health and corresponding body fat of the individual improves.  Take home message:  you should limit (one day a week) or indeed eliminate any food which causes a quick-rise in your blood sugar levels.  This is by far the most important diet transformation you can ever make – 10 x better than any reduction in dietary fat.  A complete list of foods to avoid is contained within my 50Fit program eBook ‘Choosing Food’.