The love of money might be considered the root of all evil but the excessive amount of sugar we consume, sometimes unintentionally, is proving to be pure evil for our bodies.
For too long I’d fallen prey to the notion that fat makes you fat and low-fat alternatives were always better for you. I’m the first to admit that I was completely wrong and it turns out that fat makes you full and sugar makes you fat. Alarmingly, in too many cases, when the fat is removed from a product, it’s invariably replaced with sugar.
Staggeringly, the research I conducted for my book Still Half My Size (New Holland) revealed that an Australian gets diagnosed with type-2 diabetes every five minutes. Almost two million Aussies have already been identified as diabetics with at least another million around the country estimated to be living with it undiagnosed.
Medical experts have dubbed type-2 diabetes as the silent pandemic of the twenty-first century.
When you’re next visiting your GP, request to have your blood sugar level tested.
One of my favourite regular guests on my radio talkback show on 2GB and 4BC was Dr Garry Fettke, an Orthopaedic Surgeon based in Tasmania, who authored Inversion: One Man’s Answer for World Peace and Global Health (now available free online). Dr Fettke also launched and mentored Nutrition for Life, a diabetes and health research centre.
Just as aside it was Dr Fettke, who after watching Scottish comedian Billy Connolly walk across a hotel foyer, approached him to introduce himself and explain that after observing his gait, he was prompted to suggest he gets tested for Parkinson’s, which Billy did and the good doctor’s diagnosis proved to be 100% correct. Billy has shared this story in media interviews and believes this early diagnosis has helped him manage his condition better.
During my interviews with Dr Fettke, he often described the terrible effects sugar (to be more specific the fructose in sugar) has on our body.
When he first started as an orthopaedic surgeon over twenty years ago, Dr Fettke was doing one or two amputations a year. Now due to complications of diabetes, which he says can be easily avoided by sidestepping sugar and reducing our carbohydrate intake; he is now doing debridements of feet and limbs weekly with far too many new patients.
Dr Fettke advocates that our food fuel should consist of LCHF – Low Carbohydrates and Healthy Fats, preferably with seasonal and locally produced fresh food.
He says the consumption of sugar (or honey or corn syrup) and polyunsaturated seed oils (such as canola oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, margarine and butter-spread substitutes) is the most lethal combination of foods in our diet to create inflammation in every blood vessel and in every tissue in every organ of the body. And we are regularly told by the medical profession that all disease starts from inflammation.
Dr Fettke’s wife Belinda, a former registered nurse, shares his beliefs and there is a wealth of information, eye-opening interviews and studies relating to the harmful effects of sugar and bad fats on her website www.nofructose.com.
Sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine – Dr Mark Hyman US physician and New York Times best-selling author.
There is plenty of evidence around now as a result of decades of research that clearly show the addictive nature of sugar.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition realised findings from a study back in 1995 that showed the use of an opiate blocker, successful in treating heroin addicts, reduced the consumption of sweet high fat foods in obese and lean female binge eaters.
In 2016 QUT and the University of Queensland led a world-first study that shows Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved prescription drugs, currently used to successfully treat nicotine addiction, can work the same way when it comes to sugar cravings.
Instead of us having to take these sorts of drugs to control these hungers, wouldn’t it be easier and better for our health if we started by cutting sugar out of our diet and especially the hidden sugars in our processed foods? Or at least reduce them substantially?
Dr Fettke explains that sugar is labelled in more than 50 different ways and many pre-packaged foods have more than one type of sugar, not only making the reading of labels more confusing, but it could mean it contains far more sugar than we think. www.healthline.com/nutrition/56-different-names-for-sugar#section9.
In 2014 World Health Organization (WHO) dropped its sugar intake recommendations from 10 percent of our daily calorie intake to 5 percent.
For an average adult that equates to 6 teaspoons or around 25 grams of sugar a day, which is easy to measure if you’re spooning it into a cup of tea or coffee but according to the WHO there is an unhealthy amount of ‘hidden’ sugar in processed foods.
To put it in perspective;
- A single can of soft drink may contain up to sixteen teaspoons or 67.2 grams of sugar which is close to three times the recommended daily sugar allowance.
- There is one teaspoon of sugar in every tablespoon of tomato and barbecue sauces and that can be more than double in sweet chilli sauce.
- There can be up to five teaspoons of sugar in one thin slice of some supposedly healthy wholegrain breads, which is horrifying enough on its own but made worse when you compare it to a chocolate bar containing just over two teaspoons of sugar.
If you’re keen to check out the sugar content in other foods, David Gillespie, author of Sweet Poison – Why Sugar Makes Us Fat, has a free ready reckoner on his website www.howmuchsugar.com.
Everybody’s got their poison and mine is sugar – Derrick Rose US Basketball champion
In author James Walvin’s best-selling and thought provoking book Sugar – The World Corrupted from Slavery to Obesity, he says there is something crazy about the modern relationship we have with sugar. We demoralise it and yet we can’t seem to stop gorging on it.
Walvin believes that few plants could have caused more human misery than sugar cane, first through slavery and now through obesity, tooth decay and type-2 diabetes and he laments, “Yet, when we see something sugary—a ball of cotton candy, some salted caramel or chocolate fudge cake—most of us still react only with joy, as if greeting a dear old friend”.
Sugar High is the worst High! – Kartik Sarsoonia Indian lawyer, advocate & writer
Are our sugar cravings beyond our control?
How can we expect our willpower to hold when food manufacturers spend a fortune employing scientists and chemists, whose sole purpose is to find the ‘bliss point’, (the perfect combination of sugar, salt and fat) that makes us crave the food more, instead of it satisfying us?
Even slight elevations in blood sugar have been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease– Dr David Perlmutter multi-award winning US doctor, author and medical adviser on The Dr Oz Show & Men’s Health
Most of us are aware of type-1 and type-2 diabetes but I was shocked when Dr Fettke first referred to type-3 diabetes during my radio interviews with him.
The term type-3 diabetes is being applied to early onset dementia. It is a flow on effect of poorly controlled diabetes. It is devastating families and particularly in our indigenous communities.
Dr Fettke’s good news is that, in most cases, diabetes can be avoided or reversed by following a LCHF – Low Carb Healthy Fats diet.
For many reasons, I don’t agree with the growing ground-swell of support calling for sugar to be taxed and ideally, we shouldn’t be eating processed foods at all, but I do think it is well overdue for manufacturers to put warning labels on pre-packages foods, like we do on cigarette packets.
Sugar is the next tobacco, without a doubt, and that industry should be scared. It should be taxed just like tobacco and anything else that can, frankly, destroy lives – Jamie Oliver UK chef, author & TV cooking show host
Hope I’ve given you some ‘food for thought’.
Stay strong and safe…cheers susie
Susie Elelman AM
Author TV & Radio Broadcaster