Thursday, February 11, 2016

How does eating sugar or refined foods result in higher triglyceride levels?

This was too good not to share!

From Dr.Popper's Wellness Forum update

Triglycerides are fats in the blood stream. Both dietary fat and carbohydrates can contribute to high triglyceride levels. Carbohydrate can be converted into fat in the liver through a process called de novo lipogensis. This takes place under certain circumstances, such as when people eat a diet that contains a lot of refined foods, juices, and soft drinks; and/or when people overeat. Both are common practices in Westernized countries. The reason why the body converts excess carbohydrate into lipids is because fat is more energy-dense and a more efficient storage form of excess calories.

Unfortunately, the relationship between carbohydrate intake and triglyceride levels has been misrepresented by some health professionals, who tell people that the cause of high triglycerides is a high-carbohydrate diet. They conveniently omit the fact that the relationship is between refined carbohydrates, juices, soft drinks, and overeating, not between a high-carbohydrate diet and triglyceride levels. Studies have shown that eating a diet high in carbohydrate from whole plant foods does not raise triglyceride levels. One study showed that when people eat starchy foods instead of simple carbohydrates, their triglyceride levels are reduced.[i] Another study showed that adoption of a whole-food plant-based diet, combined with exercise, reduced triglyceride levels significantly in only 3 weeks.[ii]

Individuals who want to lower their triglyceride levels should keep dietary fat low (15% or less of daily calories), eliminate juices and sugary beverages from the daily diet, restrict intake of refined foods to only special occasions and holidays, and avoid overeating. A small percentage of people develop high triglycerides as a result of eating large amounts of fruit.[iii] Restricting fruit intake to 2 servings per day or less and avoiding dried fruit can be helpful in lowering triglyceride levels for these individuals.

[i] Hudgins CH. “Human fatty acid synthesis is reduced after the substitution of dietary starch for sugar.” Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Apr;67(4):631-9.

[ii] Barnard RJ. “Role of diet and exercise in the management of hyperinsulinemia and associated atherosclerotic risk factors.”Am J Cardiol. 1992 Feb 15;69(5):440-4.

[iii] Truswell AS. “Food carbohydrates and plasma lipids--an update.” Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 Mar;59(3 Suppl):710S-718S.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

30 days of "no" sugar - successes and challenges, and moving forward

DAY 30 is here!

When I tell people I'm doing 30 days without sugar, their response is usually "I could never do that." And I'll admit it's had its challenges. But looking back on 30 days, I can say with ease that there are harder things to let go of, you just have to have the right mindset and be up for the challenge. And read a LOT of labels.

First, I must include my disclaimer. Because I'm a loyal customer, distributor, and advocate for the products of the Juice Plus Company for many health reasons, I have trace amounts of organic cane sugar in my morning (and occasional lunch) smoothies (11g), my protein bars (8g), and the occasional pack of veggie chews (2g). I am mostly vegan, and I wasn't about to give up the protein that's in these products, an all-too easy addition to my diet and a staple part of my routine. Moving on.

Other than that, I have put a teaspoon of honey in my tea (6g)(about 3-4 times per week I think), and I weaned myself off night time sweets with Living Raw's cacao truffles (5g)(agave) and dates (16g). (I had the habit of downing half a chocolate bar, or any other chocolate, after dinner - a bad habit if you want to sleep well.)

I tried very hard to cut out all else. All baked goods (hidden sugars!), processed foods (think chips with flavoring - also hidden sugars!) and the typical sweets, treats, etc. My one weakness has been 1 pump of hazelnut syrup in the occasional decaf soy latte (1-2 per week)(the typical latte has 4 pumps at Starbucks). I do not count naturally occurring sugars from fruits - a cup of tart cherry juice (extremely anti inflammatory) is 24g of sugar. And I've gotten sugar-surprised a few times without realizing... the organic cranberries for instance. So I switched back to raisins for my oatmeal.

Worth note, the average American intake of sugar is 80g per day (about 20 teaspoons). The recommended consumption is 25g for women and 37 for men (assuming they burn more calories).  I would say in this past month, I've probably exceeded that amount most days even though I've greatly cut back on my sugar intake.

So because this self study was intended to eliminate the small patches of psoriasis on my elbows (drastically reduced by adding Juice Plus, but not eliminated), I intend to continue this self study for another month, and in this month, I will shoot for less than 25g of sugar per day.

I have noticed I no longer crave sugar. I go many nights without the Raw truffle or date, and often skip the honey in my tea. Perhaps it's worth saying that I've been alcohol free since August 1st, 2011, because I believe that helps my cause greatly.

In this second month, my goals are:
  • Cut out the latte (especially after hearing about what they do to make coffee decaffeinated, ugh), and to stick to my Teeccino (chickory "coffee") and tea 
  • Stick below the 25g of sugar per day and quantify that amount daily
  • Read ALL labels and stay away from anything in a box 
As you can see, I'm pretty pleased with the way my elbows feel. So all in all, WELL worth the work of being diligent with my cause. My hands have been mostly pain free from the psoriatic arthritis as well!