Video: Does Sugar Cause Diabetes?

If you have diabetes, you have way too much sugar in your bloodstream. So does eating a lot of sugar cause it?

Watch video at You Tube (5:50 minutes) . . . . .

Sugar May Be Stealing Your Happiness

Thomas Rutledge wrote . . . . . . . . .

According to legend, vampires could not enter a home until invited. Only then could they prey on their victims. Knowledgeable of this barrier, vampires skillfully concealed their intentions, mastering the arts of guile and seduction in ways that have made them the subject of both fear and fascination (see the “Twilight Saga” for a romantic Hollywood incarnation). Although scientists are still searching for their first confirmed vampire, they have discovered an even more seductive villain that we have unwittingly welcomed to our homes and schools: sugar.

Thanks to researchers such as Dr. Laura Schmidt and journalists such as Michael Moss, we now know that the sugar industry engaged in decades of deceptive marketing, research manipulation, and even outright bribery to portray sugar as a harmless source of pleasure (1). Contrary to this industry-manufactured image, however, a fast-growing mountain of metabolic research shows that sugar is a dietary wolf in sheep’s clothing. This research directly implicates sugar in the development of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, fatty liver disease, high cholesterol and hypertension, and potentially even cancer and dementia (Dr. Lustig’s “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” on YouTube for an introduction to this research).

After years of false starts, the tide may finally be beginning to turn. Nutrition guidelines from the federal government and influential organizations such as the American Diabetes Association are lowering their recommended intake of sugar. More than two dozen countries have instituted sugar taxes in an attempt to recoup the staggering healthcare costs associated with metabolic diseases. And sales of sugar-containing beverages and foods in the U.S. have even shown modest declines. Make no mistake, however, battles for public health are fought over decades, not months or even years. In the meantime, it is primarily up to us as individuals, families, school systems, and communities to make changes that can improve our health and quality of life.

Although most of the research attention given to sugar in recent years centers on its metabolic disease effects, there is also now a large scientific literature demonstrating adverse sugar effects on mental health. This is counterintuitive to many. Sugar may seem like an obvious contributor to negative health effects such as tooth decay and weight gain, for instance, yet we stereotypically associate sugar with positive emotional effects from sources such as desserts, birthday parties, and holidays. Similarly, many people turn specifically to sugary foods to lift their negative moods and manage stress. How can these widespread celebratory practices and intimate comfort food experiences with sugar be wrong?

Neuroscience explains how sugar can simultaneously make us happy and unhappy. At the neurochemical level, sugar induces short-term feelings of reward and desire by increasing the action of an important neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine has many effects, among them the ability to induce temporary increases in pleasure chemicals such as endorphins and endocannabinoids. This means that our personal associations of improved mood and stress relief when eating sugary foods are real but fleeting.

At the same time, when the occasional dessert becomes a regular diet of added sugars (more than 75 percent of foods in a typical grocery store now contain added sugars), two happiness-stealing chemical consequences emerge: 1) the transient dopamine activity is followed by hormone responses that perpetuate cravings and negative emotions over time; and 2) the more we rely on dopamine to feel good and escape feeling bad, the less we are able to produce serotonin. Because serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of contentment, confidence, and satisfaction (e.g., antidepressants and psychedelics both increase serotonin activity in the brain, for example), this is a disastrous tradeoff.

Recent laboratory and neuroscience research suggests relationships between high sugar intake and each of the following mental health outcomes:

1. Cravings, addiction. The idea that sugar is addictive remains controversial among experts. Controlled research, however, demonstrates unequivocally that sugar has addictive properties: it activates dopamine reward pathways in ways similar to addictive drugs such as cocaine; high sugar intake causes downregulation of dopamine receptors that we call “tolerance” among users of addictive drugs; a high sugar diet causes cravings and withdrawal symptoms for many users; and sugar often leads to overconsumption (e.g., binge eating) that is difficult for the person to control despite adverse consequences.

2. Tooth decay and dementia. There is growing evidence that excess sugar consumption can contribute to forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s Disease. What was once only a suspect cross-sectional relationship between higher reported levels of sugar intake among patients with dementia is now a connection supported by careful laboratory studies indicating the biological pathways through which a high sugar diet can directly harm the brain. One of the most important pathways involves sugar effects on tooth decay. Among the many negative effects on oral health, sugar contributes to gingivitis. While any dentist will tell you that gingivitis is a serious health condition by itself, its even more sinister effects on the brain were only recently discovered by studies showing that gingivitis bacteria can cross the blood-brain barrier and contribute to brain proteins associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

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3. Microbiome changes. The microbiome in our gut is linked to a growing number of psychiatric conditions: anxiety and depression, ADHD and autism, and dementia, among others (2). Although we remain years away from knowing the optimal types and combinations of microorganisms to populate in our stomach and intestines to promote good health, sugar appears to have at least two negative effects: it decreases bacterial diversity (similar to reducing forms of life in a rain forest that could cause entire food chains to collapse); sugar promotes microorganisms associated with increased inflammation (amongst other harms, higher levels of inflammation may cause depressive symptoms). Some microbiome research suggests that a high sugar diet can become self-reinforcing through the changes it causes to our gut composition that increase our preferences for high sugar foods.

4. Leptin and emotions. One of the most important but little-discussed ways that a high sugar diet causes negative emotions is through changes in hormones. Most people know that sugar increases levels of a hormone called insulin. Insulin is a hormone with powerful anabolic properties (e.g., insulin is used by some muscle-building athletes) and plays an important role in appetite and body fat. Insulin also works with other appetite hormones such as leptin. Leptin is created in fat cells and provides information to the brain about energy availability. In a lean child or adult, the brain is very sensitive to leptin. When leptin levels rise, this signals satiety to the brain and increases energy expenditure. High levels of insulin, however, such as in people with metabolic disorders or eating high sugar diets, decrease brain sensitivity to leptin. This is called leptin resistance. This means that the brain detects low levels of leptin even leptin levels are in fact high. When leptin levels are low (e.g., a person on a crash diet) or we become leptin resistant, negative emotions are one of the common symptoms. Studies tracking leptin levels and emotions in real-time, for example, report correlations as high as .70 between low leptin/leptin resistance and negative emotions such as anxiety and sadness. A correlation of .70 is a very large effect in statistical terms.

5. Replacing happiness with pleasure. Imagine that pleasure (dopamine) and satisfaction (serotonin) sit on a happiness seesaw in your brain. Among people with higher levels of life satisfaction, their lifestyle and neurochemistry are usually skewed to the right; a lot of quality interpersonal connection, rewarding forms of contribution, and meaningful work, play, and community roles are “balanced” with occasional simple pleasures. For modern Americans, however, the skew is more often to the left; lifestyles consisting of lots of simple pleasures and very little of the stuff that creates gratitude, joy, or contentment. While most simple pleasures – smoking, drugs, gambling, alcohol – are regulated due to their established dangers, sugar is a pleasure source that remains cheap and convenient. And not only is sugar legal, but it has also been actively promoted for decades by government food subsidies and nutrition guidelines. The easy access and ubiquitous availability explain how sugar can cause so much harm to our physical and mental health.

Fortunately, we don’t need to divorce sugar from our lives to make meaningful improvements to our well-being. It does mean, however, that if we want to feel and function at our best that sugar needs to make up a smaller part of our diet. For example, updated guidelines from the American Heart Association and World Health Organization recommend no more than 100 calories of sugar a day for women (that’s 6 teaspoons or 24 grams if you’re reading labels) and 150 calories of sugar for men (9 teaspoons or 36 grams). This is the upper recommended sugar intake for those above age 2. For infants, the upper recommended limit of sugar is zero. For reference sake, the typical American consumes two to three times more sugar than these recommended amounts .

For those accustomed to a high sugar diet, making reductions of this magnitude are unlikely to be an overnight shift and more likely to result from gradual steps to reduce food and drink sources containing the highest amounts of added sugars. Knowing more about this emerging link between excess sugar and poor mental health may be a critical source of motivation in this process.

Source: Psychology Today

Study: Lots of Sugary Drinks Doubles Younger Women’s Colon Cancer Risk

Denise Mann wrote . . . . . . . . .

Rates of colon cancer among young Americans are on the rise, and a new study suggests that drinking too many sugary beverages may be to blame — at least for women.

Women who drank two or more sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, fruity drinks or sports and energy drinks per day had double the risk of developing colon cancer before the age of 50, compared to women who consumed one or fewer sugary drinks per week.

“On top of the well-known adverse metabolic and health consequences of sugar-sweetened beverages, our findings have added another reason to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages,” said study author Yin Cao, an associate professor of surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The study included more than 95,000 women from the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study II. The nurses were aged 25 through 42 when the study began in 1989 and provided information on their diet every four years for nearly 25 years.

Of these, 41,272 reported on what, and how much, they drank in their teen years. During 24 years of follow-up, 109 women developed colon cancer before turning 50.

Having a higher intake of sugar-sweetened drinks in adulthood was associated with a higher risk of the disease, even after researchers controlled for other factors that may affect colon cancer risk such as a family history. This risk was even greater when women consumed sodas and other sugary drinks during their teen years.

Each daily serving in adulthood was associated with a 16% higher risk of colon cancer, but when women were aged 13 to 18, each drink was linked to a 32% increased risk of developing colon cancer before 50, the study found.

But substituting sugar-sweetened drinks with artificially sweetened beverages, coffee or milk was associated with a 17% to 36% lower risk of developing colon cancer before age of 50, the study found.

“Reducing sugar-sweetened beverage intake and/or replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with other healthier beverages would be a better and wiser choice for long-term health,” Cao said.

The new study was not designed to say how, or even if, drinking sugary beverages causes colon cancer risk to rise, but some theories exist. People who consume sugary beverages are more likely to be overweight or obese and have type 2 diabetes, all of which can up risk for early-onset colon cancer. The high-fructose corn syrup in these drinks may also promote the development of colon cancer in its own right, Cao said.

The research does have its share of limitations. Participants were predominantly white women, and as a result, the findings may not apply to men or women of other ethnicities.

The study was published online in the journal Gut.

Researchers not involved with the new study are quick to point out that only an association was seen, and that more data is needed to draw any definitive conclusions about the role that sugary drinks play in promoting early-onset colon cancer.

“Clearly more research is needed before we can give this a stamp of approval and say with confidence that this association is actually causation,” said Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, a Mount Pleasant, S.C.-based gastroenterologist. “No one thinks sugar-sweetened beverages are health-promoting [and] you should reduce your sugar-sweetened beverage intake as much as possible.”

Dr. Patricio Polanco, an assistant professor in the division of surgical oncology in the department of surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, agreed.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages cause a bunch of other conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, and now we have more data that they could be related to colon cancer, too,” Polanco said.

Exactly why colon cancer is on the rise in younger people is not fully understood. Lifestyle factors such as higher rates of obesity and possibly greater consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages may play a role. “We still believe there may be some genetic contribution that has not yet been characterized,” he said.

The best way to protect yourself from colon cancer is to undergo regular screening, Polanco stressed.

Due to the rise in colon cancer in young people, the American Cancer Society now recommends regular screening at age 45 for people at average risk for the disease.

Source: HealthDay

Study: Sugary Drinks’ Effect on Hormones Could Spur Weight Gain

It could be more than just added calories: New research gives insight into why sugary drinks are a leading cause of obesity.

Sugar-sweetened drinks are the largest source of calories from added sugar for U.S. adults, and researchers now report that the drinks also hinder hormones that quell hunger and regulate appetite.

“Our study found that when young adults consumed drinks containing sucrose, they produced lower levels of appetite-regulating hormones than when they consumed drinks containing glucose — the main type of sugar that circulates in the bloodstream,” said researcher Dr. Kathleen Page. She’s an associate professor of medicine specializing in diabetes and childhood obesity at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.

The study included 69 adults, aged 18 to 35, who consumed drinks containing either sucrose or glucose during two separate sessions. Sucrose is a combination of glucose and fructose from sugar cane or sugar beets. Glucose is found in honey, grapes, figs and plums.

Blood samples were taken from the study participants 10, 35 and 120 minutes after they had the drinks. When they consumed drinks with sucrose, they produced lower amounts of hormones that suppress hunger than when they had drinks with an equal amount of glucose, the findings showed.

The researchers also found that factors such as body weight and sex affected how the different types of sugars affected those hormones.

For example, obese people and those with lower insulin sensitivity had a smaller rise in hunger-suppressing hormones after they had drinks sweetened with sucrose than when they had drinks with glucose.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The findings don’t mean that you should switch from one type of sweet drink to another, but that you should try to cut back on any type of added sugar, according to Page, head of the university’s Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute.

“The majority of sucrose that people consume in the American diet comes from sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, whereas glucose is found naturally in most carbohydrate-containing foods, including fruits and whole grain breads,” she said in a university news release.

“I would advise reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and instead trying to eat more whole foods, like fruits,” Page added.

Source: HealthDay

Perforated Bone Tissue from Too Little Sugar

Anne Sliper Midling wrote . . . . . . . . .

Could something as simple as a certain type of sugar water be medicine for perforated bones, and even bone marrow cancer itself?

Inside our bodies are some jellyfish-like cells that actually eat away at our bones. Every year, they eat about ten per cent of the bone mass in our body. Fortunately, other cells usually follow and build up new bone.

We undergo a kind of continuous remodelling and repair that enables most of us to traipse around with steel in our legs and arms.

Bone-eating cells run amok

In people with bone marrow cancer, the bone-eating cells run amok. They become too numerous and eat too much. The bone-building gang doesn’t have time to rebuild the bone mass, despite overtime and long shifts. Bone tissue gets gobbled up.

Many people with bone marrow cancer often end up with perforated bones, a condition that is very painful to live with. They sometimes experience collapsed vertebrae or suffer broken bones just by turning in bed.

For decades, scientists around the world have been scratching their heads and wondering what the cause could be. Various theories have been launched, but researchers have not reached a unified theory on what the main cause is.

Too many unusable antibodies produced

Bone marrow cancer remains an incurable disease so far. The available treatment can prolong life, but not cure the disease.

Now Standal and her research group at CEMIR at NTNU have discovered a piece of the puzzle that looks very promising.

They have come to the conclusion that the cause of the bone destruction is too little sugar. We’re not talking about the sugar we eat in our cakes and biscuits, but sugar that resides on a substance that is important for the immune system.

To get to the bottom of how sugar is related to bone loss, we need to get into the bone marrow. This is the soft cavity that inside all our bones.

Within the bones are plasma cells. When bacteria or viruses enter the body, the plasma cells begin their job of getting rid of the invaders. Antibodies are produced which are sent via the blood, ready to do battle.

So far so good, but in people with bone marrow cancer, far too much of one type of antibody is produced. It’s going amok here, too. The antibody that the cancer makes is also completely useless. It doesn’t knock out either the cold or the flu but just takes up too much space and displaces other types of antibodies.

Search for an answer took five years

“I thought simply. If people with bone marrow cancer have too much of the antibody and too many bone-eating cells, then they must be connected,” Standal says.

The search for an answer gobbled a lot of her working hours for almost five years. The hard work was fortunately not in vain, and has led to a completely new and fundamental understanding.

The finding has now been published in the highest ranked blood disease journal in in the world.

This is how Standal arrived at the answer:

The vast majority of patients with bone marrow cancer develop perforated bones, but not all. Standal asked nicely, and received samples from patients with bone loss. She also took samples from patients without this kind of bone loss.

The researchers extracted antibodies from the samples and cultured bone-eating cells in the laboratory.

  • When Standal placed the bone-eating cells into the antibody of the patients with bone perforations, she discovered that the number of bone-eating cells increased.
  • When she put the bone-eating cells into the antibody of the patients without bone perforations, she discovered that the number of bone-eating cells did not increase.

Removed and added sugar

“Why that was the case became the next interesting thing to figure out,” Standal says.

The antibody carries a type of sugar that “decorates” it, in a way. The sugar has an effect on how the antibody works. Standal found her way to Manfred Wuhrer at the Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics of the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. He is a specialist in this type of sugar, and Standal sent the samples to him.

He found that individuals with bone loss were missing two sugar molecules at the end of a long chain inside the antibody.

“There was too little sugar,” says Standal.

But this answer wasn’t sufficient, either.

Although a difference was detected between the two groups, the researchers could not confirm that the missing sugar molecules were the reason patients developed more bone-eating cells. Several further experiments had to be conducted.

The research team went to the lab and put more sugar on the antibody. This did not lead to more bone-eating cells. Standal also did the opposite, removing sugar from the antibody. This did lead to more bone-eating cells.

The researchers then had sufficient test results to show that too little sugar can be decisive for the number of bone-eating cells. But this is not enough in medical research – at least not if the goal is to use the knowledge to make medicine for humans.

The next step involved animal experiments with mice that have bone marrow cancer. The mice were divided into two groups and were given two different types of sugar water. In theory, one type of sugar water would lead to more sugar on the antibody.

“The theory actually worked. The mice that received this type of sugar water had smaller perforations in their bone tissue. They also developed less cancer,” says Standal.

Now she has to carry out more animal experiments to move forward on the path towards a treatment that can give patients with bone marrow cancer a better life.

“I think it might be realistic to try this on a small group of patients in four to five years,” says Standal.

Source: Norwegian SciTech News