Diabetes and Sugar

Diabetes and Sugar

According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 30 million Americans have Diabetes, only 23 million are diagnosed. Sadly, as many as 7 million people who have Diabetes do not know they have it as they have not been diagnosed!

Testing for Diabetes can be done easily at any doctor’s office or even with a glucometer (blood sugar meter) that you can buy from a drug store. 90-95% of all Diabetes are Type 2 Diabetes. This type of Diabetes is caused by insulin resistance. What that means is your body is no longer sensitive to insulin, this is the hormone that helps you lower your blood sugar and use that sugar for energy in your cells. This hormone is at high levels in people with Diabetes in response to high levels of blood sugar. Insulin is also the fat storing hormone, converting extra sugar into fat which contributes to weight gain.

Diabetes is basically caused by excess blood sugar which primarily comes from eating too much sugar. Now sugar is found in nature in whole fruits but when we eat juice or when we eat candy or other simple carbs like pastries or white bread that have little to no fiber, we increase our blood sugar and over time this can lead to Diabetes.

Changing our diet to avoid refined sugar and eat whole fruits instead of juice and whole grains like sprouted grain bread with fiber and combining these with healthy fats like walnuts or pecans or almonds can help to reverse and treat Type 2 Diabetes. Unfortunately it is not that easy to avoid refined sugar as the food industry has added sugar to foods that you would not expect to have sugar like ketchup, bread, cereal, chips and many foods. 

To make matters worse, there are over 60 different names for sugar making it confusing for us to see if a given food label has sugar in it! Here are a few names for added sugar to avoid when looking at labels: corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, brown rice syrup, hexitol, rice malt, raisin syrup and the list goes on. The FDA has recently agreed to require food labels to show ADDED SUGAR to help us identify the sugar that has been added. 

So keep your eyes open and read labels to make sure you avoid hidden sources of sugar that can cause Diabetes! My next blog post on Diabetes will talk more about foods that can help treat and reverse Diabetes, so stay tuned for more!

Dr. Shad

Dr. Shad (Farshad Fani Marvasti, MD, MPH) is a Stanford-trained medical doctor, associate professor in academic medicine, speaker, and author with expertise in nutrition and culinary medicine, wellness, public health and prevention.

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