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Sugar: Added Sugars are Poison

The following excerpt is from Rip Esselstyn’s excellent book, “The Engine 2, 7 Day Rescue Diet”:

“SUGAR: The average American consumes nearly 30 teaspoons of added sugar a day. In case you were wondering, according to the American Heart Association, the suggested upper limit is 9 teaspoons of added sugar for men and 6 teaspoons for women. Most people in the US are now consuming nearly 160 pounds of added sugars per person, per year! (at the dawn of the American Revolution in 1776, Americans consumed just 4 pounds).

Added sugars hit your digestive system like a freight train. In response, your body immediately pumps out insulin to deal with all that excess blood sugar. In the hours following, you actually become hypoglycemic, which means all that insulin has actually made your blood sugar too low. The only option remaining for your body is to dump fat into your bloodstream to get things under control. This added fat creates a constant level of inflammation and contributes to many of the chronic Western diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and autoimmune disorders.

Naturally occurring sugars, however, like those found in berries, kiwi, eggplant, quinoa, butternut squash, and pinto beans, do not cause these blood sugar and insulin spikes. This is largely due to the high fiber content of whole-plant foods. Fiber—which is found only in plants—has a wonderful gelling effect that not only makes you feel nice and full, but also binds to sugar and slows down the rate at which it is absorbed into your blood. There is almost no limit to how much naturally occurring sugar you can eat! These sugars represent your body’s primary fuel source, and you do not want to shy away from them. For example, even though a large banana contains more than 15 grams of natural sugar, we let it slip because fructose in a banana is attached to nearly 4 grams of fiber. But remember, when you remove sugar from its fiber—which happens when you juice—you lose most of the health benefits.

I recently came across a fantastic article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that broke down how fiber works its magic. In a study that took place at the University of Eastern Finland’s Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, one group of participants drank both a glass of sugar water and a glass of berry juice. A second group drank the sugar water and then ate a bunch of actual berries. Predictably, within fifteen minutes the juice group experienced a massive blood sugar spike. But among the berry group, despite consuming the same amount of sugar overall, there was no such spike. The soluble fiber in the berries was even able to neutralize the additional sugar water, and the result was no insulin shock and no inflammation-promoting fat dumped into the blood. Added sugars are added poison. Simple as that.”

Click here for a link to Rip Esselstyn’s “The Engine 2, 7 Day Rescue Diet” book.

Click here for more on sugar from

Click here for a comprehensive review on sugar & sugar substitutes from The Food Revolution Network.

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