The following is a series of blogs published from January – May, 2017, ghost-written for a Chief Revenue Officer of a leading home delivery medical supply company. Intended to warn, even frighten readers about the health risks of added sugars in our western diet, this series, along with the entire blog program that I wrote for the client had a direct impact on the company’s sales growth from 2017-2018. These blogs are no longer current on the company website thanks to a change in leadership in January of 2019, but direct contacts from their marketing team can verify the effectiveness of my work.
Winning the War on Sugar Starts with Type II Diabetes Patients
Most Type 2 Diabetes Patients can recall the “War on Drugs” of the 1980s that tried to knock down the illegal drug trade. And we all remember the “War on Terror” that was launched last decade in the wake of the 911 attacks. In 2017, we now have a “War on Sugar,” declared almost singlehandedly by science writer Gary Taubes in his new book The Case Against Sugar.
Released last December, The Case Against Sugar spells out the harmful effects of sugars on the human body, especially how they give rise to obesity and diabetes. In addition, Taubes’ new book is described in a recent Wall Street Journal review by author Eugenia Bone as a “powerful new history” on “the role that the food industry has played in covering up sugar’s contributions to our national health crisis.” While it is destined to be a controversial work, Taube’s Case Against Sugar amplifies what most health care professionals have been complaining about for years – that the predominance of added sugars in the American diet has caused a national health crisis.
Hence, we need to declare a “War on Sugar.” And Type 2 Diabetes Patients should be the ones leading the campaign.
For those who are not convinced that there is a national health crisis, we need only to look at the influx of diabetes on expatriate groups in the United States (especially among Indian and Asian populations) that have adapted to American eating habits. We can also remember the data shared in previous blogs here, and that Bone also mentions in her review “Sugar: A Matter of Life and Death” – that almost 50% of Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
We need to declare this war, because, as Taubes argues, the powers that be in public health education have long told us that diabetes is the result of obesity, and obesity is caused by overeating and lack of exercise. The concept that consuming more calories than we are burning off as the real cause of obesity and diabetes is – according to Taubes – an oversimplification bordering on quackery.
A spinach calorie, for example, does not trigger the “progression of obesity, diabetes and the diseases that associate with them.” Calories from spinach and other health foods are not the same as sugar calories. Yet, Taubes holds that the medical science community was complicit with the food industry in focusing on fat and calories as the real culprits in manifesting obesity and diabetes.
Taubes’ historical account of the food industry’s success in “sugar-coating” the harmful effects of added sugars in our diet is both frightening and fascinating to the reader. But for Type II Diabetics and the millions of pre-diabetics, it’s Taubes’ description of how sugar affects the body and triggers this national health crisis that we should focus on here. Understanding the real cause (and doing something about it) will be our greatest weapon in our War on Sugar.
As Taubes puts it, sugar is a simple carbohydrate, and carbohydrates that we consume from foods are the source of glucose in our blood. Glucose powers our cells, and the insulin hormone carries glucose from our bloodstream into our cells. Once in the cells, the insulin “signals the fat cells to take up fat and hold onto it.”
In a relatively healthy body, the cells have no problem processing the glucose since each cell has ample resets for insulin. But when we consume high levels of raw or refined sugar, along with maple syrup, corn syrup and other sugar substances, the pancreas reacts by producing more insulin. When this happens on a constant basis thanks to a high sugar diet, the cells adapt by forming a resistance to insulin.
The glucose then builds up in the bloodstream, which causes the pancreas to make more insulin, thus signaling the cells to hold on to more fat.
This becomes a vicious loop that results in obesity and type 2 diabetes. As Bone puts in her review, the link between obesity and type 2 diabetes is so interdependent that the term “diabesity” has now been coined.
In an interview with Alden Mudge for Book Page: America’s Book Review, Gary Taubes proclaims:
“We are seeing worldwide epidemics of obesity and diabetes, and diseases associated with them – heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. It’s undeniable that as populations begin to eat Western diets, you see these epidemics come along. We now know that both obesity and diabetes are disorders of what’s called insulin resistance…and that is a fundamental disorder in what we call metabolic syndrome…The book is basically saying that the prime suspect of what’s causing insulin resistance is sugar.”
The Mudge interview also reveals that as long ago as the 1920s, there were “very influential” public health authorities attributing the prevalence of sugar to the epidemic increases in obesity and diabetes. There is an earlier study on Arizona’s Pima Indians who experienced sudden increases in diabetes after adapting to a mainstream American diet. According to Taubes, this conversation all but vanished in favor of bad science driven by sugar and food trade groups.
In this new War on Sugar, it is the Type 2 Diabetes Patients that have the most to lose (along with the millions of us who may likely be pre-diabetic). For all of us, it is a war that can be won starting at the individual level. And the good news is that – for most patients – Type 2 Diabetes is reversible (or preventable for those with pre-diabetic conditions).
In closing, there are many great ideas for reducing added sugar levels from our diet, but the best tip for Type 2 Diabetes patients and the rest of us pre-diabetics struggling to cut added sugars from our diet is this – read Gary Taubes’ book, The Case Against Sugar.
We owe it to ourselves to treat the prevalence of added sugar in our western diet as a national health crisis, one that needs to be won one person at a time. Let’s help Taubes wage a “War on Sugar” that starts at the individual level, and spreads through the household, the extended family, our places of work and our communities.
Reviewer Eugenia Bone – a self-described “functioning chocoholic” – found Taubes’ book to be so persuasive that she cut out the added sugar snacks from her diet, and found it to be easier than expected. She asserts, “For me, getting off sugar was a health tweak, but for many Americans, it may be a matter of life or death.”
The War on Sugar Starts with Type 2 Diabetes Patients
Part II: Understanding the Addictive Power of Sugar
In our last blog, we talked about the desperate need to wage a War on Sugar, akin to the 1980s “War on Drugs.” Using science writer Gary Taubes as our champion, we identified the prevalence of added sugars in our American diet as the real stimulant affecting Type 2 Diabetes. We referenced compelling arguments from his recently published book, The Case Against Sugar, to dispel the long-held notion asserted by government authorities that overeating and lack of exercise were the root causes of insulin resistance.
In this blog, we go beyond the need to raise awareness to this national epidemic to address the second and perhaps more troubling challenge: the addictive qualities of sugar.
Like the War on Drugs, we are fighting a powerful narcotic that is truly addictive in a literal sense, and that has contributed to this national health crisis. Unlike the War on Drugs, we can’t rely on government leadership or even support in this Herculean fight. On the contrary, and Taubes gives several factual examples on this point, our government has been complicit with the sugar and broader food industry in covering up the warning signs that were there in the early part of the last century.
A comparison to hard core recreational drugs IS NOT AN EXAGGERATON when it comes to added sugars. According to medical scientists James J. DiNicolantonio and Sean C. Lucan, “similar refinement processes transform other plants like poppies and coca into heroin and cocaine,” and the end products including refined sugar affect people’s bodies and brains. In their 2014 New York Times article “Sugar Season. It’s Everywhere, and Addictive,” the two scholars cite research studies conducted on animals showing that sugar produces cravings, tolerance and withdrawal, which are three symptoms consistent with dependence.
“Animals experience sugar like a drug and can become sugar addicted. One study has shown that rats will choose sugar over cocaine…because the reward is greater; the ‘high’ is more pleasurable.”
One study they are referring to was published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI, part of the National Institutes of Health) in 2013. Entitled “Sugar Addiction: Pushing the Drug-Sugar Analogy to the Limit,” the report concludes that “the biological robustness in the neural substrates of sugar and sweet reward…explain why many people…have difficulty to control the consumption of foods high in sugar when continuously exposed to them.”
The continuous exposure to added sugars in our diet is the metaphoric element to the national addiction. There is the physical dependence, and then there is the overwhelming presence of concentrated sugars throughout the American diet that makes it hard to avoid.
Taubes gives a brief history of this phenomenon in his recent Wall Street Journal article (based on his book) “Is Sugar Killing Us?”
A few centuries ago, there were virtually no added sugars in the human diet. Taubes holds that prior to the 1850s there were no hospital records for diabetes patients. Then there was an outpouring of sugar consumption with the emergence of the candy, chocolate and ice cream industries. This was followed by the introduction of soft drinks in the 1880s. And when the nation turned to sugar in place of alcohol during prohibition in the 1920s, yearly sugar sales surpassed 100 pounds per person for the first time.
When affordable home refrigerators became available in the 1930s, there was more added sugar to the diet now that Americans could enjoy soft drinks without leaving the house. After World War II, frozen concentrates were invented and fruit juices were poured at the breakfast table. Around the same time, cereals originally created as health food were transformed into what Taubes calls “low-fat dessert” as the sugary options marketed to children wielded greater profit potential.
The “final ingredient,” as Taubes calls it, “in the sweetening of the national diet” came in the 1970s in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. These sweeteners appear in many if not most of our processed foods, and in 1999, their sales had skyrocketed to more than 150 pounds per person in direct relationship with the staggering rise in Americans with obesity and diabetes.
It is estimated that added sugar is used in nearly 75% of consumer packaged foods available in the United States today. Compare this to just a couple hundred years ago when there was no concentrated sugar in the diet, except for that rare bit of honey. Back then, an occasional craving for something for sugary was healthy for building fat and storing energy. But when you consider as DiNicolantonio and Lucan contend, that a single can of soda today contains more added sugar than what people in those days consumed in an entire year, “the sweet craving that once offered a survival advantage now works against us.”
As all Type 2 Diabetes Patients and Pre-Diabetics know from our youth, an addictive drug is more powerful when it is easily accessible. With sugar, this new war is not about fighting Columbian drug cartels and urban gangs.
In this new War on Drugs (that is, the War on Sugar), we are fighting the enemy within that has manifested a daily dietary lifestyle deemed acceptable. As Taubes asserts, the government has been in cahoots with the food industry in successfully convincing us that a calorie is a calorie, and that overeating and sloth causes Type 2 Diabetes. The presence of sugar just happens to be a coincidence and manufacturers don’t feel they should apologize if sweeter taste compels people to eat too much of their products.
According to Taubes, proper government authorities like the National Institutes of Health could never justify the great expense for clinical trials on the harmful effects of sugar. As long ago as the 1960s, British nutritionist John Yudkin discovered a cluster of abnormal biochemical conditions produced by added sugar consumption that lead to cardiovascular diseases and Type 2 Diabetes. One of these abnormalities just happened to be the resistance to the insulin hormone. But when the results of Yudkin’s study (which included trials on animals AND humans) was published, healthcare experts remained nearly unanimous in their belief that fat was “the primary dietary evil,” and that sugar was “relatively benign.”
Today, Yudkin’s cluster is known as metabolic syndrome, and it affects 75 million Americans thanks to 50 years of disregard for the truth behind sugar.
For the 29 million that already have Type 2 Diabetes and the 86 million with pre-diabetic conditions, it’s on us to lead or own clinical trials. And the first step starts with “Just Say NO to SUGAR!!!”
The War on Sugar Starts with Type 2 Diabetes Patients, Part III: Just Say No! An Old Slogan Becomes the New Battle Cry
In our last blog, “Understanding the Addictive Power of Sugar,” we discussed the two-pronged addictive power that sugar holds over us as a nation.
First, there is the physically addictive properties of refined sugar that are comparable to the hard-core recreational drugs.
Second, there is the omnipresence of sugar in our national diet that is seemingly impossible to escape, especially since government health authorities have been complicit with the food and sugar industries in convincing us that overeating and lack of exercise were the real causes of Type 2 Diabetes (in spite of the overwhelming historic and scientific evidence).
We also declared that our best weapon in winning the War on Sugar is for Type 2 Diabetes Patients to conduct their own clinical trials. This should be simple since regular testing of blood sugar levels is a critical part of managing Diabetes health.
The hard part for Type 2 Diabetics as well as the multitudes of Americans with Prediabetes is following three basic words from an old familiar slogan: “Just Say No.” BUT IF WE CAN JUST SAY NO, WE CAN SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE OUR HEALTH, ESPECIALLY SINCE TYPE 2 DIABETES AND PREDIABETES IS REVERSIBLE FOR MANY PATIENTS.
- Just Say No at the breakfast table.First thing in the morning, Take away the sugary cereals and the fruit juices. It is alarming how many adults still prefer the cereals they enjoyed as kids, or rationalize the “honey-nut” or sweeter alternatives to their healthy choices as still being healthy. And stay away from the foo-foo coffee beverages at your favorite café.
- Just Say No to sweet snacks in between meals. Avoid chocolates, chips and candy like the plague. Even a single portion bag of chips can contain 2 grams of sugar. Say yes to healthy snacks like nuts or fruits that can also give a healthy energy boost to get you through the mid-morning doldrums.
- Just Say No to processed foods and sodas at lunchtime and dinner.This is a tougher challenge since you only have 30 minutes to an hour for lunch during the workday, and our busy lives don’t leave much time for dinner either. But bringing your own lunch or finding a good salad bar gives you more control over what you put in your body. Substitute fruit for sweets and fresh vegetables for chips. Substitute water for soda; by this one change alone you will be consuming significantly fewer calories and losing weight in the process.
- Just Say No to the break room at work.It seems like every day there is a birthday cake for a staff member or sweet leftovers from another function that someone puts in the break room for all to enjoy. These are perhaps the worst temptations, especially since co-workers partake and the blast email compels everyone to stop what they are doing and “have a nosh.” Sign a birthday card or give a personal greeting, give an email reply thank you to the snack benefactor but explain that you just entered a “biggest loser” contest with your friends and have to refrain from the yummy part of the celebration. Take advantage of the free wellness programs that your HR department offers, and appeal to your HR representative for healthy eating events or incentives that emphasize a sugar-free diet.
- Just Say No to Trendy Kids’ Food & Beverage Products.We have to raise the bar for our kids for two reasons. First, we have to re-establish responsible eating habits in order to change the frightening forecasts for this national health crisis that is also a global pandemic. Second, for more selfish reasons, we need to get these items out of the house. Many parents finish their kids’ meals in place of making one for themselves, and the fruit snacks, juice boxes, chocolate milks, sugary cereals, etc. are just as tempting to adults as they are to children.
- Just Say No to Alternative or Artificial Sweeteners.Many of these sweeteners have the same addictive qualities and harmful health effects as sugar, and the verdict is not in yet as to other health risks like stroke that are associated with artificial sweeteners.
- Just Say No to the Interior Aisles of the Supermarket.Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store for fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as the butcher. It’s a lot to ask, but voting with your wallets will put pressure on packaged food producers to come up with healthier options, and you will be going a long way to improving your health and possibly reversing Type 2 Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes. Just look at how fast food restaurants were forced to create healthy menu options in the last decade in response to high rates of obesity among their key demographics.
- SAY YES to reading labels. The American Heart Association recommends a Daily Added Sugar Limit of no more than 36 grams (9 teaspoons) for men and 24 grams (6 teaspoons) for women, or 150 calories and 100 calories respectively.Many of the sugar readings include both added sugars and natural sugars, so adherence to the healthiest options are still the best way to plan your diet.
- SAY YES to regular exercise.Taking a walk half an hour before meals has been proven to curb appetites, and an active lifestyle that includes regular exercise routines minimizes the temptation for added sugar cravings during down time.
- SAY YES to raising local and national awareness.Write or call your congressman, senators and other elected officials to make them aware of our War on Sugar. Contact local or favorite food producers to make them aware of your boycott of their products until they can reduce or eliminate altogether the added sugar levels in their recipes. Contact your children’s schools or attend a board meeting to advocate for responsible nutritional education and healthier options in the cafeteria. Find advocacy groups on your social media networks and share links and blogs like this one to help raise awareness.
- SAY YES to setting your own example. Bring healthy snacks to work. Consult with your HR department about a “Biggest Loser” Contest focused on reducing added sugars from our diet. Take a cooking class and try cooking from scratch at home, or at least trying recipes that do not call for added sugars. The internet is abundant with healthy recipes.
In closing, create your own clinical trial as the first step in fighting the War on Sugar. For Type 2 Diabetes patients, this will be easy since you are already testing blood glucose levels regularly.
As Gary Taubes argues in his recent article (based on his new book, The Case Against Sugar), sugar executives would not be surprised by “Before and After” scenarios that show better health from patients who avoid added sugar in their diets.
Americans with Type 2 Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes need to lead this new War on Drugs. This War on Sugar is not just a fight for our national health and for our children’s future. For many of us personally, it could be a matter of life or death.
The War on Sugar Starts with Type 2 Diabetes Patients
Part IV: How Taxpayers Subsidize the Sugar Industry
Thanks to science writer Gary Taubes and his new book, The Case Against Sugar, we now have a driving force for a new War on Drugs that we are calling The War on Sugar.
In the last three blogs, we’ve revealed three facts about sugar:
- The prevalence of added sugars in our American diet are the root cause of Type 2 Diabetes
- Refined sugars that appear in 3 out of every 4 domestic consumer packaged food products are powerfully addictive; as addictive as hardcore recreational drugs
- The government has been complicit with the sugar and food industries in covering up the harmful effects of added sugars. For most of the 20thcentury, they have cited overeating and lack of exercise as the real causes of Type 2 Diabetes. According to government-sponsored medical and scientific authorities, a calorie is a calorie and the omnipresence of sugar in our western diet is a mere coincidence.
If these three arguments are not enough to convince the 29 million Americans with Type 2 Diabetes (as well as the 86 million with Pre-Diabetic conditions) to wage an all-out on war on sugar, here’s one more that should send everyone over the top:
- We as taxpayers pay over hundreds of millions of dollars per year to the sugar industry so that they can double the price of sugar at over twice the world price per pound. This means that we as consumers pay twice the amount for our sugar and food products at the store compared to the rest of the world!
That’s right, we subsidize the sugar industry so that they can raise prices on us!
The U.S. Sugar Program that exists today was created in 1934 with the intention of reducing sugar production in favor of raising sugar prices. It is a scheme of protectionist policies that may have been critical for saving the agricultural sector during the Great Depression, but since then has only benefited the sugar industry at the double-whammy expense of Americans as taxpayers AND consumers.
A 2011 Iowa State University study showed that if the sugar program was vacated in favor of a free market scenario, American consumers would save between $2.9 billion to $3.5 billion as sugar prices would drop by 26-33%. The research also concluded that there would be an increase of 17,000 to 20,000 new jobs in industries that depend on sugar.
Proponents of the sugar program – which included 109 Democrats and 92 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives during the 2014 election cycle – will argue that the sugar program saves American jobs. But since domestic confectioners are already moving production beyond our borders to take advantage of lower foreign sugar prices, abolishing the sugar program would reverse this trend.
There are several key organizations leading the fight to reform the sugar program, including The Coalition for Sugar Reform, The Americans for Tax Reform, and E21 Manhattan Institute. But Type 2 Diabetics and the millions of Americans with Pre-Diabetic conditions can NOT count these groups as brothers and sisters in arms in our war on sugar. Their ultimate goal is a free market condition that lowers our tax burden and saves us the average American $125 per year in consumer spending (not to mention thousands of more new jobs). A healthier economy is good for everyone, but it doesn’t solve the omnipresence of added sugars in our western diet and their addictive qualities that are the root causes of Type 2 Diabetes.
For Type 2 diabetics, consider the existing exorbitant healthcare costs to manage your diabetes (as well as the time expense for testing blood glucose levels two or more times a day), and when you add the unfair tax and consumer burden that the sugar program has exacted on you, the power which added sugar holds over your life borders on slavery.
Our greatest weapon in the War on Sugar is to JUST SAY NO (hyperlink to Part III Blog with tips) to added Sugars in our diet.
Vote with your wallets and conduct your own personal trials. Publicize your projected improvements to anyone who will listen or read on social media.
Let’s use the Sugar Program to our advantage, as our ammo to enrage fellow diabetics and pre-diabetics, as well as family, friends and fellow citizens who are also at risk in this national health crisis.
Winning the War on Sugar Part V – The Farce of Sweeteners
Americans love artificial sweeteners because they have fewer or no calories and can thereby help us lose weight. In theory – and both the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association both support this, when consumed carefully, non-nutritive sweeteners can even help lower your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
Sounds great! Looks like we have our solution for cutting added sugars out of the western diet, right? Sorry, but NO! Not only are sweeteners not the panacea for this national health crisis, they are a bigger part of the problem.
First Problem – They are as addictive as added sugars. Some are even more potent.
A National Institutes of Health NCBI study on rats concluded that they preferred water sweetened with saccharin over intravenous cocaine. The study also found that most mammals including humans have a hypersensitivity to sweeteners that give us an astounding stimulation when we consume them. This can lead to addiction.
According to Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity and weight loss specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital, “non-nutritive sweeteners are far more potent than table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. A miniscule amount produces a sweet taste comparable to that of sugar, without comparable calories. Overstimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners may limit tolerance for more complex tastes,” Ludwig also maintains that people who are using artificial sweeteners regularly may find healthy options like fruits and vegetables with less sweetness intensity unappealing or unpalatable.”
Second Problem – Along with Addiction, people who use artificial sweeteners may replace calories with foods and beverages that contain added sugars.
It is a common justification for people to opt for cake or a bowl of ice cream because they are drinking diet soda. Furthermore, research shows that people who are consuming sweeteners regularly may associate sweetness with calorific intake.
This results in craving more sweet food over nutritious food, without discriminating between those with added sugar and those with sweeteners, and eventually gaining weight.
Third Problem – Sweeteners can cause Type 2 Diabetes, as well as other life-threatening diseases.
A multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis found that daily consumption of diet soda show a 36% increase in developing metabolic syndrome and a 67% increase in the risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes.
There is still a lot of definitive research to be done to clearly determine if non-nutritive sweeteners directly affect insulin resistance and hence, Type 2 Diabetes. Perhaps what the multi-ethnic study doesn’t reveal is that people who are drinking diet soda every day are also consuming foods and other beverages that are high in added sugar. The aforementioned addictive qualities of sweeteners can certainly support this argument.
The inconclusive studies notwithstanding, it’s hard to believe that artificial sweeteners would not have the same or similar malignant attributes as added sugars when entering the human body.
A 2013 Washington University study found that obese patients released 20% more insulin when drinking a beverage sweetened with Splenda (sucralose) than they did when drinking another beverage with the same amount of added sugar.
The research here suggests that when your tongue tastes a sweet flavor – regardless of its chemical make-up – it sends a message to your brain and stomach that signals the pancreas to start producing insulin with the expectation that sugar is on its way. Even though added sugar is not entering the blood, your body is not functioning properly.
Not all artificial sweeteners are the same, so they each have their own unique impact on the body. There is a lot more research to be done on understanding the metabolic effects of non-nutritive sweeteners, which leads to our next point.
Fourth Problem – Artificial Sweeteners can potentially cause cancer and the jury is still out on several other health risk factors.
During the 1970s, research conducted on rats wielded initially conclusive results that saccharin caused cancer. Warning labels appeared on many packaged products, including a popular soda that used this artificial sweetener. These findings would be debunked years later, but by this time the damage had been done as new alternative sweeteners would exploit this bad publicity to gain the greater market share that saccharin once occupied.
A lot of these next generation sweeteners have been cleared by the FDA, but research in 2012 warns that despite safety reports, health-related concerns such as the risk for lymphoma and leukemia remain when consuming sodas with the artificial sweetener aspartame.
Even stevia, lauded as the “natural” artificial sweetener because it is extracted from a South American plant bearing the same name, has NOT been approved by the FDA as it may have a negative impact on the kidneys, on reproductive and cardiovascular systems, as well as on blood sugar control.
One Certain Conclusion: Artificial is Still Artificial
Non-nutritive sweeteners when used in moderation can help people lose weight and in theory curb the risk of diabetes, obesity and other health factors. But as the Mayo Clinic warns, “just because a food is marketed as sugar-free doesn’t mean it’s free of calories. If you eat too many sugar-free foods, you can still gain weight if they have over ingredients that contain calories.” What’s more, processed foods containing artificial sweeteners still do not offer the same health benefits as whole foods like fruit and vegetables.
This leads to our final point. Sweeteners are a farce because they are an artificial substitute for the same 20th Century western diet that – as argued in our previous blogs – has been saturated with added sugars for greater profit at the expense of our national health.
The sweet tooth we need to reinvent is the one that craves whole foods containing sugar in their natural form. Whole fruits and vegetables should be our drugs of choice because they tend to be highly nutritious, high in fiber and low in glycemic load.
Non-nutritive sweeteners in spite of their marketed health benefits are a more addictive flavor that lead to people craving more sweetness. One could even argue that they are a gateway back to added-sugar consumables.
Like added sugars themselves, the warning is still the same for sweeteners: just say no.
And say yes to a better quality of life that fruits and vegetables offer, including better sleep habits, more sustainable energy, and lower risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Winning the War on Sugar Starts with Type 2 Diabetics, Part VI:
Imagine What the Last Fifteen Years of Your Life Will or Could Look Like
Prelude: In writing this blog series about the national health crisis caused by added sugars in our diet, I am reminded of Moishe the Beadle, the eccentric loner in Elie Wiesel’s portrait of his Holocaust experiences called Night. After surviving a mass grave for foreign Jews in the Galician forest, he returns to Wiesel’s hometown of Sighet, Transylvania to warn every one of the Nazi threat to exterminate all Jews everywhere. All of the locals dismissed his words of caution as mere rants from a mad man who was getting crazier in his old age. As we look back on this episode from Wiesel’s book, it is easy for us to ask the question “why didn’t anyone take this man seriously?”
As I write the blogs, I can definitely relate to Moishe the Beadle, even though I am not an eccentric loner, but an executive with over 20 years of experience in the health care supply distribution sector, who is happily married family man who likes to coach my kids’ lacrosse and football teams in my leisure. Although I am perceived by most people as normal or sane, I fear that my warnings about the epidemic forecast caused by added sugars will also be easily disregarded as mere paranoia from a guy who wants to sell your more medical supplies. As stated in previous blogs and our corporate literature, we at CCS Medical are in the business of LOSING customers to improved outcomes.
In this final submission of our War on Sugar blog series, I appeal to all of you to look at the facts: 29 million Americans with Type 2 Diabetes (10% of the population), 86 million more with Pre-Diabetes (and most of them are NOT aware of their condition), and global projections show a 54% increase of Adults with Diabetes by the year 2040. Read Gary Taubes’ book The Case Against Sugar to gain an understanding about the history and health consequences since added sugars became a prevalent part of the American diet since the early 20th century.
But first and foremost, I am appealing to current Type 2 Diabetics, who understand the pain, the daily inconveniences and the looming health risks that come with this disease. While the task of managing your Diabetes is dubious and daily, almost like having a second job, I am urging you to look beyond your current routine to ponder what your future will look like…
If you are a Type 2 Diabetic or have Pre-diabetic conditions that remain uncontrolled, think of what the last fifteen years of your life will be like.
You may have to endure the pain and discomfort of a dialysis treatment as often as three times per week because you suffered from kidney failure. Each treatment can take up to four hours. Worse yet, you may even require a costly kidney transplant surgery. The National Kidney Foundation projects that up to 40% of Type 2 Diabetics will suffer from kidney failure.
You will also experience weight gain and swelling in your ankles because the damaged blood vessels caused by Diabetes – especially in your kidneys – will require your body to retain more water and salt. You will also have difficulty emptying your bladder because Diabetes has damaged the nerves in your body.
Damaged blood vessels can also cause Diabetic Eye Diseases including Glaucoma, even blindness, as Diabetes is the #1 cause of blindness in the United States.
Damaged blood vessels and nerves from Type 2 Diabetes means you will likely suffer from a heart attack and/or a stroke, perhaps more than once, along with a host of other heart-related diseases and brain damage. For adults with Diabetes, heart disease and strokes are the most common causes of death.
You may require a shopping list of over a dozen prescriptions, including high blood pressure medications like ACE Inhibitors which also slow the loss of kidney function. Prescriptions for pain management may also be a necessity as many over-the-counter pain medications can cause kidney damage.
Your likelihood for living independently will greatly diminish as family members or professional care takers will be needed to help you with your medications, your transportation and even your housekeeping, thus bearing additional financial expense as well as emotional costs to yourself and the people you love.
Worst case scenario, what if you couldn’t even remember the last fifteen years of your life? When Diabetes is not controlled, too much sugar remains in the blood. Eventually this will damage organs, including your brain.
Scientists are finding a greater link between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s. A recent Albany (NY) University study published last June suggests that Alzheimer’s could in essence be the late stages of Type 2 Diabetes!
According to researcher Edward McNay, “People who develop Diabetes have to realize that this is about more than controlling their weight or diet. It’s also the first step on the road to cognitive decline.”
If this isn’t scary enough, what if the last fifteen years of your life were the next fifteen years of your life? And what if you only had ten years or five years left to live. No matter the time length, the quality of those years along with the pain you have to constantly manage and endure will not be time well spent.
In addition to yourself, there is yet an even greater “worst case scenario:” imagine your children being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and all the related health risks at a much earlier age than yourself when you first became diabetic. With a projected 54% increases of Type 2 Diabetes cases within the next 25 years, your children’s risk should be taken very seriously, too, especially given the predominance of added sugars in our American diet.
What the Last Fifteen Years of Your Life COULD Look Like
Fortunately, there is hope for the 29 million Americans with Type 2 Diabetes, as well as the 86 million with Pre-Diabetic conditions. The epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes is reversible for many of us, and for the rest of us, Diabetes can be managed in order to live a better, healthier quality of life with greater independence. It all starts with one pledge, one promise to yourself.
Just Say NO to added sugars in your diet. Join us in the War on Sugar.
As we have stated in our previous blogs, the War on Added Sugars starts with Type 2 Diabetics. If you are reading these blogs for the first time, please refer to the first five in this series for more information:
INSERT THE FARCE OF SWEETENERS HERE
In a nutshell, these blogs and our new “War on Drugs” were inspired by a new book released last December by science writer Gary Taubes called The Case Against Sugar. In this “must-read” exposé of science, history and straight talk, Taubes makes the convincing case that added sugar is the tobacco of the new millennium, backed by powerful lobbies, entrenched in our lives, and making us all very sick.
Furthermore, Taubes establishes that added sugars are the root cause of Type 2 Diabetes.
Whether you read the book or not, see for yourself what your life could be like without the overwhelming presence of added sugars in our western diet.
Start your own clinical trial on what your life could be like by just saying NO to added sugars, along with a new regiment for life consisting of healthy foods & beverages and even just a light amount of daily exercise.
Just Say NO to sugar also means saying YES to 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables in your daily meal plan. It’s as simple as filling a measuring cup and pouring the required amounts in a bowl or on a plate. There is joy in experiencing real food on a daily basis, and the natural sugars in our fruits and some vegetables can satisfy our sweet cravings over time as well as give us an authentic “high” with sustainable energy to get us through the day.
Just Say NO to sugar also means saying YES to daily exercise. It can be as simple as a 30 minute walk every day, especially before a meal, to curb your appetite while decreasing the amount of sugar and fats that accumulate in your body.
Now imagine the last fifteen years of your life in a much more distant future. It’s the type of future in which you are enjoying an active lifestyle, watching your grandchildren’s games and recitals, and doing what you love. It’s the last fifteen years preceded by several more years of better intentional living, free of chronic pains and the looming risk of life-threatening diseases.
You are traveling more with the disposable income that you would have spent on costly prescriptions and medical procedures that a life with uncontrolled Type 2 Diabetes would have sucked from your budget.
You are also saving tax money that once went to subsidize our domestic sugar industry for many years. Because you Just Said NO back in 2017, you and millions of other Americans forced the federal government to repeal this anachronistic New Deal-era subsidy and sent a message to the sugar trade that they had to be self-sustaining and compete in a free market economy.
You are free of the addictive power of added sugar, and on that rare occasion when you have a holiday dessert or piece of birthday cake, your head will spin from the sugar rush and you will remember how you used to eat processed foods and cereals that were high in added sugars throughout your day many years ago. You will be amazed that you once lived with such a diet!
The restaurants and consumer packaged goods companies would be providing healthier options in response to the market demands that you helped to create by Just Saying NO many years ago.
You are watching movies about the 20th Century and are laughing at scenes that show people drinking soda like it is water, much like we marvel at entertainment depicting a bygone era with cigarette smokers puffing away in an office or at a bar.
You may even be swimming, riding bicycles or skiing well into your eighties, all because you chose to JUST SAY NO to added sugars in your diet.
Your bones and your vision might start to deteriorate, but only from old age, while your kidneys, blood vessels, nerves and the rest of your body will continue to be heart-healthy!
In this future scenario, you and your contemporaries could be known as the next greatest generation because you chose to JUST SAY NO to added sugars, and you liberated yourself, your children and your neighbors from the sinister power that sugar once held over our lives.