Sugar Industry Fraud and How it Affects Your Health

Recently, documentation has come to light showing a history of “bribes” from the sugar industry and other concerns that sell and promote sugary products. These concerns have been paying large sums of money to researchers to influence their publishing findings, in an effort to brand saturated fats as the primary risk contributor to heart disease, and minimize the impact of sugar.

As revealed in a N.Y. Times article last month, in the 1960’s, the Sugar Research Foundation, now known as the Sugar Association, paid Harvard scientists to allow them to hand pick aspects of their research on the relationship between sugar and saturated fats to heart disease, and publish the findings most blameful of saturated fats, and ones that show sugar as a lesser risk (Read the full article here). Additional correspondence shows that the researchers assured the funding sugar executives that they would indeed publish the most complimentary results possible. At the time, no requirements were in place as to disclosing the funding sources of research projects, so the end results seemed credible and unbiased. These findings were then published in credible medical journals, so the public was led to accept them as fact.

The pattern continues through today, with proof coming forward that soft drink and candy manufacturers have been funding research all along to provide a favorable spin for their products. Coca Cola, Pepsico, Nestle and other companies with widely distributed sugar based products have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to fund research with findings friendly to their interests. The medical and scientific facts, however, differ drastically from these influenced publications. One reputable study, for example, found that for each additional 12-ounce soda children consumed each day, the odds of becoming obese increased by 60 percent over the next 1 and a half years, so the stakes are huge.

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Why should this influence on scientific research matter? By diminishing the knowledge of the threat of sugar to our health, and by implying that there was minimal negative consequence from sugar consumption, many people have been led into making bad choices that impact their health.

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How Sugar Consumption Impacts Fat Loss

Where our blood glucose levels rise over 100, our pancreas releases insulin to allow the sugar to be absorbed into cells as energy. Insulin’s primary job is to maintain safe and steady blood glucose levels of around 80-100 mg/dl. Otherwise, sugar is antagonistic to our cell structures. When our blood sugar numbers stay high, our insulin levels stay high as well, and decreases the usage of fat as energy. High levels also increases fatty acid synthesis in the liver, which is step one in the process of gaining body fat. In other words, with high insulin levels, exercise may results in burning zero body fat as energy. Insulin also inhibits an enzyme called hormone-sensitive lipase, which is responsible for breaking down adipose tissue. If you can’t break down stored fat (triglycerides) and turn it into a form that can be burned (free fatty acids), you’re not going to get leaner (T-nation.com).

How can we use our own diets as positives? First, especially if trying to lose weight, eliminate foods that cause high glycemic indexes, and consequently, high insulin levels. A Harvard publication reminds us that white bread, white rice, mashed potatoes, donuts, bagels, sugary snacks and many breakfast cereals have a high glycemic index and glycemic load. Sugary drinks, like soft drinks, energy drinks, sweet tea and the likes also cause high glycemic numbers, and can keep your body from burning fat as energy. By avoiding foods that drive high GI numbers, we can achieve a higher fat burn from our exercise. Make sure your food plan has lots of clean protein and carbs, plenty of leafy green vegetables, minimal sugars and you’ll see your progress improve.

Jim Harris