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Nutrition Diet, supplements, weightloss, health & longevity

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Old 04-30-2004, 03:18 PM   #1
Jon Pappas
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Can someone tell me again what is wrong with sugar? I just need a reminder. I haven't read the books on the subject. I don't eat foods or drinks with sugar very often, but my girlfriend does. I need to a good explanation.
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Old 05-01-2004, 11:43 AM   #2
Barry Cooper
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First of all, if you're getting the good stuff, and she's not fat, don't worry about it. It doesn't take long to find yourself in the doghouse. Diet is a lot like religion.

If she is actually curious, the basic answer is that sugar (or really any excessive simple carbohydrate consumption; white bread and crackers are effectively sugar as well) causes undesirable hormonal effects that can cause lasting damage over time.

If you think of your body as a factory with raw material going in, and finished product going out, you can compare sugar to the raw product, and your energy level to the finished product. Say you need 5 workers to process 5 units of complex carbs in 5 minutes. If you put sugar into the equation, it's like the assembly line speeds up so you need 25 workers to process 5 units in 1 minute. Now once the sugar has gone through, the 25 workers stand around with nothing to do. Eventually they leave, but not without filing a complaint with their union about the lack of work.

Over time, the union says that you need to pay those workers to stand around even when there is no product to process. Eventually, they get really lazy, and decide they actually need more workers to process the same amount of sugar. At the same time, they get restless, and start breaking things. The more workers you get, the more you need to process the same amount of sugar, and the more stuff they break.

The processing of sugar is done with insulin. Complex carbohydrates have a bunch of sugar molecules chained together--so they ultimately wind up as simple sugar--but it takes time for that to happen, so you don't need a big insulin spike. Sugar, however, necessitates an insulin spike to process it, so you don't have excessive glucose levels in your blood. A lot is released suddenly, does its' job, and then goes away after a while.

However, if you consistently cause an over-release of insulin, over time it doesn't really go away, and it takes progressively more and more insulin to process carbohydrates. This is called hyper (too much) insulin emia(in the blood). There is also a condition called insulin resistance, which is the cells asking for more insulin to do the same task.

Eventually, this can result in Type II diabetes, which is what most fat diabetics have. Then you have to be very careful with your sugar intake, and may well have to inject additional insulin.

Excessive insulin causes damage to your heart, kidneys, and overall circulation. Most diabetics are at risk of losing both their hands and feet, due to poor circulation.

All of the major diets talked about on this site--that I've seen--are versions of insulin control diets. I like the Zone, as it promotes a very balanced release of insulin. You need some carbohydrates to feel right--in my experience and personal opinion--and the Zone promotes that, along with a considerable amount of fruit and vegetable consumption, which of course have both discovered and undiscovered phytochemicals which improve health.

Hopefully, the foregoing is clear. There are of course people that know this stuff much better than me, like Robb Wolf--and listen to him if he contradicts anything I said--but I think that should cover the basics.
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Old 05-01-2004, 11:52 AM   #3
Paul Kayley
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Great post Barry...liked your analogy.
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Old 05-01-2004, 09:28 PM   #4
Jon Pappas
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Barry - your post had me laughing and learning at the same time. That was a great explanation. Thank you.
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Old 05-02-2004, 11:13 AM   #5
Brad Hirakawa
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Nice analogy Barry, you should teach! :-)
Brad
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Old 05-03-2004, 05:58 AM   #6
Barry Cooper
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Thanks, guys!
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