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Dangerous Sugar?

Think those cans of soft drink, sugared coffee or tea and sweet treats don't add up to trouble?  Check out this report in the Bowditch Group newsletter.  It's a little technical, but slog through it anyway:

"Excess sugar in the blood appears to increase the production of free radicals-- byproducts of normal metabolism that have been linked to aging and heart disease, US researchers report. The finding may help to explain the increased risk of heart disease and circulatory problems in diabetics (who have high blood sugar), and in the obese.  High sugar levels trigger increased free-radical production by white blood cells, leading to arterial damage and blocked arteries.  The investigators found that a drink containing 75 grams of pure glucose (sugar) increased the formation of free radicals in healthy volunteers.  The study results are published in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.  ‘’We believe that in obese people, this cumulatively leads to damage and may cause hardening of the arteries,’’ Dr. Paresh Dandona, the study's lead author, told Reuters, ‘’Until now it was a mystery as to how in obese people there is a marked increase in heart disease and stroke.’’  ‘’The implication is that free-radical damage (leading to) atherosclerotic lesions is definitely mediated by nutrition.'' (Aug 30)"

Naturally the cause of the problem isn't limited to sugared drinks and treats; refined foods throw sugar quickly into the bloodstream; even fruit contains sugar.  But while fruit has other important benefits, sugared mostly empty calories are not only a waste of money, but a danger to health. 

Note that refined foods and sugars of all sorts, if eaten with protein and/or high fiber foods that take longer to digest, raise the blood sugar less.  This is a good argument for eating a variety of foods, and make snacks or drinks other than water healthy and nutritional ones.    

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