Here is an excerpt from another article by Dr. Mercola on the dangers of sugar and high fructose corn syrup consumption. You can read the rest of the article here.
Are You Ready to Ditch Sweetened Drinks Yet?
Are You Ready to Ditch Sweetened Drinks Yet?
I’ve been warning you of the many dangers of soda and sweetened drinks ever since I started this site over 17 years ago. Americans in particular get a majority of their daily calories from sugar, primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in soda and other sweetened beverages. Half of the US population over the age of two consumes sugary drinks on a daily basis,2 and this figure does not include 100% fruit juices, flavored milk or sweetened teas, which means the figure is actually even higher.Fructose (and especially HFCS) has been identified as one of the primary culprits in the meteoric rise of obesity and related health problems—in large part due to its ability to turn on your “fat switch.”The HFCS found in sweetened beverages and most processed foods is also highly processed and has been found to be frequently contaminated withmercury. Add to that the fact that most HFCS is made from genetically engineered corn, and you have a recipe for poor health, regardless of whether you’re ingesting it from a can or a meal...Please note that freshly squeezed fruit juices also contain fructose, which will have the same detrimental health effects as HFCS when consumed in excess, but at least it’s not processed from GE corn...Ditching sodas and other sweetened drinks and replacing them with pure, vitalized structured water, I believe, is one of the most powerful actions you can take to improve your health and lower your risk of disease and long-term chronic health conditions.Especially when you consider that just one can of soda per day can add as much as 15 pounds to your weight over the course of a single year, and increases your risk of diabetes by 85 percent! Fructose is also a likely culprit behind the millions of U.S. children struggling with non-alcoholic liver disease, which is caused by a build-up of fat within your liver cells. Fructose is in fact very hard on your liver, in much the same way as drinking alcohol.
How Much Sugar Do You Consume Each Day?
Around 100 years ago, the average American consumed a mere 15 grams of fructose a day, primarily in the form of whole fruit. Today, 25 percent of Americans consume more than 135 grams per day (that's over a quarter of a pound!), largely in the form of soda and other sweetened beverages. Just one 12-ounce regular soda contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar. Similarly, one eight-ounce glass of orange juice has about eight full teaspoons of sugar, and at least 50 percent of that sugar is fructose.Fructose at 15 grams a day is unlikely to do much if any harm and may even be beneficial for some. But at nearly 10 times that amount it becomes a MAJOR cause of obesity and nearly all chronic degenerative diseases.As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day, or 15 grams a day if you are insulin resistant, obese, or have high blood pressure, high uric acid levels, diabetes or heart disease. To get to that low a level, you would essentially need to eliminate processed foods and sweetened beverages from your daily diet, and make sure everything you put into your mouth is a whole food. You might need to limit your whole fruit intake as well. For a list showing the amount of fructose contained in common fruits, please see this previous article.
Sugary Drinks Linked to 180,000 Deaths Annually
In 2009, the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a scientific statement3 about sugar intake and heart health, pointing out that there is evidence for a relationship between the two. According to the abstract:“High intakes of dietary sugars in the setting of a worldwide pandemic of obesity and cardiovascular disease have heightened concerns about the adverse effects of excessive consumption of sugars. In 2001 to 2004, the usual intake of added sugars for Americans was 22.2 teaspoons per day... Between 1970 and 2005, average annual availability of sugars/added sugars increased by 19%... Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the primary source of added sugars in Americans’ diets. Excessive consumption of sugars has been linked with several metabolic abnormalities and adverse health conditions, as well as shortfalls of essential nutrients...”The postulated relationship between sugar intake and heart disease is undeniable at this point. Hundreds of excellent scientific articles have linked insulin and leptin resistance to cardiovascular disease much more strongly than cholesterol, and they are in fact at least partially responsible for cholesterol abnormalities. For instance, insulin and leptin resistance result in "small dense" LDL particles and a greater number of particles, which is much more important than your total cholesterol number for evaluating heart disease risk. Insulin and leptin resistance in turn are directly caused by excess fructose and other sugars in your diet.As I reported back in April, research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions suggests sugary beverages alone are responsible for about 183,000 deaths worldwide each year, including:
- 44,000 heart disease deaths
- 133,000 diabetes deaths, and
- 6,000 cancer deathsAmong the 35 largest countries in the world, Mexico had the highest death rates associated with sugary beverage consumption. There, the average consumption of sugary beverages was 24 ounces per day. The US ranked third, with an estimated 25,000 annual deaths4 from sweetened drinks.5 (Many might have expected the US to come in first place, but remember that American processed foods contain far more sugars than other nations, so Americans also consume a lot of “hidden” sugar in products other than beverages. This factor was not addressed in this study.) Interestingly, and quite disturbingly, the death rates associated with sweetened beverages were highest in those under the age of 45.