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Sugar Brain

Orange Icon  Sugar Brain

Orange Icon  Sugar Brain

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How many of you remember those commercials from the 1980s that showed an egg frying with the caption, "This is your brain on drugs"? That was part of a public service announcement to implore people not to use drugs. If a similar commercial were to be made today, the caption could read, "This is your body on sugar," with an image of an obese child or adult.

We are all aware of the shocking statistics: One-third of kids are overweight or obese and two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese -- and the numbers continue to rise. I stress over and over in Beyond Diet that you should eliminate all unnatural sugars from your diet, and scientific studies support the role of sugar weight gain.

This may get confusing for a moment, but stick with me. Fructose is a simple sugar that our bodies use for energy, and the small amount of fructose in fruits and vegetables is actually good for us. The problem is that so many of the processed foods available to us have a lot of fructose added to them, which is unhealthy when eaten in large quantities. For instance, high-fructose corn syrup, a corn-based sweetener, is used in so many of our food products, such as soda and cookies, and I urge you to rid your cabinets and refrigerator of it.

Simple glucose is another type of sugar that helps keep our bodies energized. But when we eat too many unhealthy carbohydrates, glucose levels spike, which can lead to diabetes.

Sucrose is table sugar, which is made up of half fructose and half glucose.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, says that although it can't be proven yet, fructose, its cousin high-fructose corn syrup, and glucose can all cause obesity. The study?s authors observed participants? brains and found that consuming excess sugar can actually trigger our brains to overeat. Yikes!

Since there is so much overwhelming evidence that sugar is bad for us, I encourage everyone on Beyond Diet to cut it out of your diet. The only sugar you should be eating is the natural sugar found in fruits and vegetables. If you are looking for some added sweetness, use stevia, a natural herb that is actually much sweeter than sugar (so use it in small amounts!).