Chef Wendell: Got those Sugar Blues?

New research shows that processed sugar is a direct cause of obesity in children. Sugar also causes heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other diseases, as well as adult obesity.

To cut back on added sugars, be wary of the word sugar in any form, such as beet sugar or invert sugar and any word ending in “ose” when reading food labels. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 100 calories a day for women and 150 calories a day for men. That’s 6 tsp. and 9 tsp., respectively. One Coca Cola has 13 tsps.

“60 Minutes” Sonja Gupta, respected institutions, and medical experts argue that the way people eat sugar, a human toxin, leads to heart disease, cancer (by leading to the creation of insulin, which cancer cells use to trigger their growth), and that sugar can actually be compared to certain street drugs, like “cocaine,” in that it triggers the pleasure centers in the brain.

• Science has proven sugar is addictive and hits your brain like crack cocaine. http://mic.com/articles/88015/what-happens-to-your-brain-on-sugar-explained-by-science

• Average American consumes a quarter to a half pound of sugar a day. (The New York Times)

• Big Food spends $10 billion a year marketing sugary soda, fast food and cereal to children. (The FTC)

• Beverage company’s market directly at youth ages 2-17.

• Eating too much sugar contributes to cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, obesity hand kidney disease. (James J. DiNicolantonio-cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. Sean C. Lucan-assistant professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine).

• The higher your sugar consumption, the higher your risk for a high triglyceride levels, low “good” cholesterol levels and high “bad” cholesterol levels.(A 2010 study published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association.”)

• Sugar is cancer cell fertilizer.

If you’re trying to reduce sugar in your diet, you may be turning to artificial sweeteners or other sugar substitutes. Table sugar isn’t the only culprit when it comes to sugar.

• Sugar goes by many names on food labels, including corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice, glucose, maltodextrin, maltose and molasses.

The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) have given a ‘cautious nod’ to the use of artificial sweeteners in place of sugar to combat obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, all risk factors for heart disease.

A better approach to sugar rehab is to promote the consumption of whole, natural foods.Healthier Processed Sugar Alternatives:

• Raw honey, stevia, sucanat (sugar cane natural),coconut sugar, maple syrup, dates, raisins, brown rice syrupSweeteners to avoid:

• High Fructose Corn syrup-Fructose is just as bad. HFCS consists of 24% water and the rest sugars. Nasty.

• Agave Syrup is not a “whole” food. It’s a fractionated and processed food.

• Aspartame is a neurotoxin. The most complained about of all. Linked to fibromyalgia, cancer, diabetes and psychological disorders, vision problems, and brain damage.

• Splenda is a highly processed chemical. Sucralose is not natural.

• Sweet n’ Low-(Saccharin) is a byproduct of coal tar processed with chlorine and ammonia.

• “Processed” stevia-Read labels for additional ingredients like maltodextrin.