It’s still bad (even if you’re thin)

Yes, you know how I stand on sugar. It’s bad for you.

But you know that already.

And admittedly, I link cutting back sugar to losing weight a lot.

Let’s assume for a second that you don’t need to lose weight. Or don’t want to.

Sugar tastes good. Everyone has their favorite treat, be it ice cream, cookies, cake or pie.

What’s the harm, Jeff?

Well… glad you asked.

Just for review, keep in mind that Americans eat at least twice if not 3x the amount of sugar they should. Some of us a lot more than that.

So what happens if you cut back? Even if you’re not the least bit concerned about your weight…

What say we start with blood pressure? Typically, we think of salt as the devil when it comes to BP, but sugar can be just as bad.

Added dietary sugars can raise your BP, and the downstream impact on your heart, kidneys, arteries… it’s not good.

If you cut your sugar intake in half, you cut your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease in half too. Funny how that works.

Plus, less sugar means brain protection. Sugar can impair your memory, and even alter the structure of your brain. Plus, a diet high in sugar reduces your body’s ability to produce a chemical known as brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF).

You know who have low levels of BDNF? People with dementia and Alzheimer’s, that’s who.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a zealot. I have cake on my birthday. And like I’ve said before, put a shoofly pie in front of me and I am there with a glistening fork.

But I also focus on avoiding sugar when I can. Both sugars that I can see (I take my coffee black) and those that I can’t (I pass on sugar-laden ketchups, sodas and salad dressings, for example).

It’s the little things.

And the thing about sugar is, once you cut back, your taste for it changes. You don’t crave it as much.

Reaching for an apple instead of a cookie sure seems boring. But if it means trading the health of my brain or heart for a sugar fix… I can easily take a pass.

I have an old friend who likes to “diet.” Now, I’m not one to use that term much. Putting yourself on a diet is typically a recipe for deprivation and rebounding.

But he’d announce he’s on a diet, then grab two cookies off the potluck plate.

When I’d ask him about it, he’d say “Well, normally I’d have 3. So… diet.”

You gotta start somewhere.

God Bless,

Jeff Reagan

Editor, Patriot Health Alliance

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11 thoughts on “It’s still bad (even if you’re thin)

  1. Today is my 77rh birthday! This email was the best present of all!! I have been eating WAY TO MUCH SUGAR! This email was a gentle reminder…

  2. I read your post regarding sugar. I have had a sugar addition for many years. My father would buy every dream cycle off the ice cream truck and we, my siblings and my dad. A life full of sugar went on and on. I had a life of yo-yoing in weight for many years, all my life.

    I took care of a sick husband for two years all the while stress eating knowing with CHF he would not survive. I could carry a lot of sugar laden junk food to my office where I could eat until I was sick.

    He passed away a year ago Nov the 13th. The night of his service Nov the 18th. I had a long talk with the Lord asking for His help in overcoming this terrible habit.

    I am not taking the credit for this because I had tried this for many years and failed within a week.

    But this time every time I had a craving for some cinnamon, sugar and pecan, my favorite right up there with ice cream, dessert, I would call on Him for help and he was always there to rid me of the terrible cravings.

    Since November 18, 2017 until now, November 2018, I have had not one grain of refined sugar and 72 lbs has literally melted off of me. I have now been maintaining for the last six months.

    It works and thanks for the good article this morning on the harm of sugar.

  3. Speaking of dementia and Alzheimer’s, finally the last 20 or more years of diet recommendations are falling apart. We need fat for healthy brains. This is from 2009, but I was looking for something that just came out on WBZ about low fat diets and came across this. Valid but still relatively unknown.

    http://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/alzheimers_statins.html

    Some of the highlights are below, but I suggest reading the entire article. There is much more in it, speculating on mechanisms that contribute to Alzheimers, but for which research is generally ignoring them or heading in the wrong direction.

    Researchers are only recently discovering that both fat and cholesterol are severely deficient in the Alzheimer’s brain. It turns out that fat and cholesterol are both vital nutrients in the brain. The brain contains only 2% of the body’s mass, but 25% of the total cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential both in transmitting nerve signals and in fighting off infections.

    “If you deprive cholesterol from the brain, then you directly affect the machinery that triggers the release of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters affect the data-processing and memory functions. In other words — how smart you are and how well you remember things.”

    Adding to the problem – A common side effect of statins is memory dysfunction. Dr. Duane Graveline, fondly known as “spacedoc” because he served as a doctor to the astronauts, has been a strong advocate against statins on his web page where he is collecting evidence of statin side effects directly from statin users around the world. He was led to this assault on statins as a consequence of his own personal experience of transient global amnesia, a frightening episode of total memory loss which he is convinced was caused by the statin drugs he was taking at the time. He has now completed three books describing a diverse collection of damning side effects of statins, the most famous of which is Lipitor: Thief of Memory [17].

    Another investigation where fats were shown to afford protection against heart disease has just been completed. It involved a long-term study of a large number of Swedish men [22]. The authors looked at low- vs high-fat dairy, as well as consumption of fruits and vegetables, meats, grains, etc. The only statistically significant result that afforded protection from heart disease was a combination of high-fat dairy and lots of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables with low-fat dairy afforded no protection.

    I suspect one of the critical nutrients the fruits and vegetables provide is antioxidants that help prolong the life of the fats. Other excellent sources of antioxidants include richly colored fruits like berries and tomatoes, coffee, green tea, and dark chocolate, and several spices, most especially cinnamon and turmeric (a major ingredient of curry). These should be consumed in abundance along with fats for optimal results.

    If we stop trying to get by on as few fats as possible in the diet, then we don’t have to become so preoccupied with getting the “right” kinds of fats. If the body is supplied with an overabundance of fats, it can pick and choose to find the perfect fat to match each particular need; excess or defective fats can just be used as fuel, where it’s not very important which fat it is, as long as it can be broken down to release energy.

    In addition to refusing to take statin therapy, another way in which an individual can improve their odds against Alzheimer’s is to consume plenty of dietary fats. It seems odd to suddenly switch from a “healthy” low-fat diet to an extremely high fat ketogenic diet, once a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is made. A ketogenic diet consists, ideally, of 88% fat, 10% protein, and 2% carbohydrate [11]. That is to say, it is absurdly high in fat content. It seems much more reasonable to aim for something like 50% fat, 30% protein, and 20% carbohydrate, so as to pro-actively defend against Alzheimer’s.

    Recommended is a recent book written by the pediatric brain surgeon, Larry McCleary, M.D., called The Brain Trust Program [33]. This book gives a wealth of fascinating information about the brain, as well as specific recommendations for ways to improve cognitive function and avert later Alzheimer’s. Most significantly, he recommends a diet that is high in cholesterol and animal fats, including an abundance of fish, seafood, meat, and eggs. He also recommends coconuts, almonds, avocados and cheese, all foods that contain a significant amount of fat, while encouraging the avoidance of “empty carbs.” His knowledge on this subject grew out of his interest in helping his young patients heal more rapidly after brain trauma.

    Our nation is currently bracing itself for an onslaught of Alzheimer’s, at a time when baby boomers are approaching retirement, and our health care system is already in a crisis of escalating costs and shrinking funds. We can not afford the high cost of caring for the swelling population of Alzheimer’s patients that our current practices of low-fat diet and ever expanding statin usage are promoting.

  4. How true that is about not craving it once you cut back! I have had a few things along the way since doing the sugar decrease that I have found to now be too sweet for my taste buds. I like that! 🙂 And I had to smile when I read the “glistening fork” statement. Me too – I will still enjoy a fave sweet treat now and then. And I take my coffee black too. 🙂 God bless.

  5. How do you feel about using honey instead of sugar? Or how do you feel about using Stevia instead of sugar?
    Both of these questions are for health, not considering weight loss.

  6. With your research, how does using Honey instead of sugar affect our health? Same question with using Stevia instead of sugar, again in respect to health, not weight.

  7. I concur! I’ve been sugar free since September 9, 2018, and I can’t believe the difference. Soft shiny hair , clear face with young glow and some amazing test results. I have my power greens every day and have passed out the word to anyone who likes being energetic and drinking something that tastes good.

  8. We ALL must consume carbohydrates to fuel our bodies.
    The trick is to eat less of the “simple” carbohydrates (table sugar, most fruits and starches) and eat more “complex” carbohydrates. (There are charts available on the web listing simple and complex carbohydrates foods.)

    You are correct in saying that eating less carbohydrates will reduce your appetite, if
    one takes all carbohydrates from one’s diet, one won’t want to eat at all! This could cause
    fast weight loss, but robs one’s body of needed nutrients.

  9. I totally agree with you about sugar. My mom was diabetic and passed at age 67 because of this disease. but my dad who lived to 94 ate sugar like it was his main course! He had a major “sweet tooth” and used excessive sugar in all foods that required sweetness. His favorite dessert was ice cream but also loved pastries, cookies, pies, you name it, he ate it and never ever had high blood pressure, high glucose or was overweight. Go Figure!

  10. Love your articles, some things I knew, a lot I didn’t. Keep up the good work.Like your style of writing, down to earth and easy to follow. My wife and I have been taking the Power Greens for a month now and have noticed that we both feel better overall, more energy and a better sense of well being.

    Bill Morris

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