Sugar – The Deadliest Drug of All (Part 2)
What effect does sugar have on our bodies? Infertility, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance. They have all been linked to excess sugar consumption.
I recently spent a cold, cloudy sunday learning about these conditions and how we can help reverse and prevent them from becoming an epidemic. A fantastic seminar held in Sydney by well known naturopath Angela Hywood, respected Professor Kerry Bone (founder of mediherb herbal medicinal company), and experienced Perth clinician Chevonne Clasen.
So here is what I learnt (WARNING this may shock you)
There are 3 recurring themes that are related to these lifestyle conditions:
- Obesity (this means your BMI is over 30, a waist measurement of over 88cm for women, and 102cm in men).
- Limited exercise (less than 150 minutes per week).
- A diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugars, and trans fats.
Part 2- Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is also known as Syndrome X, Dysmetabolic syndrome X, Insulin resistance syndrome, or cardiometabolic syndrome. This condition was first described about 100 years ago, and the common signs and symptoms include:
- Obesity (mainly abdominal obesity)
- Impaired glucose metabolism
- Hypertension (also known as high blood pressure)
- Abnormal lipids in the blood (eg. high triglycerides, cholesterol etc).
So not be sexist, but this is pretty much every second male over 60. And in saying that we women are catching up with to the men.
Looking at this list above its no surprise that the diseases linked to Metabolic syndrome are: Cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver, PCOS, Chronic kidney disease, Cancer, Dementia, Prostate conditions, and Gout.
How does metabolic syndrome become an issue?
There are a few theories:
- Sleep apnea (intermittent hypoxia)
- Visceral fat acting as a gland producing its own hormones (also known as the portal theory)
- Microcirculatory dysfunction (poor circulation)
- High fructose diet and unregulated nutrient intake
From a naturopathic stand point the answer is poor diet, and lack of exercise, with a touch of genetic predisposition, and environmental factors (like accessibility to good nutrition). Let me discuss diet for a moment. The scientific term for poor diet is ‘unregulated nutrient flux’. So instead of sending patients off to a nutritionist to educate them in healthy eating they are telling them that they just aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals. Perhaps they should take a multivitamin (sarcasm intended). The reality is they are overweight and need to change their habits before they don’t even have the choice too.
In modern times we are eating more refined carbohydrates, fast foods containing sugar and trans fats, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and in many cases eating too much red meat. The problem with these 4 foods;
- Trans fats
- Branch chain amino acids (from animal protein)
is that they are not insulin regulated, and they lack the appropriate turn off mechanism for excessive substrate (too much food). In general terms, there is no hormone or internal message for your body to tell you that you have had enough. This results in enhanced lipogenisis (fat cell production) and fat storage.
Unlike saturated fats, which we now know are good for us in moderation (thanks pale pioneers!). We have a hormone called leptin to tell us we have had enough and to stop eating.
In summary metabolic syndrome can put you at HIGH risk of many deadly diseases, but it can be managed almost entirely with diet and exercise (the foundations of naturopathic medicine).
For more information, or if you would like to look into this further for yourself contact me via Facebook, website, phone, or email and we can make an appointment to get you back on track!
See the link to sugar is the dealiest drug part 3 here: