On a recent “The Dr. Oz Show” the episode was titled, “The Sugar Wars: What Dr. Sanjay Gupta Wants You to Know.” The graphics were bold and bright featuring Big Corn versus Big Sugar. For years the sugar industry has beaten up on the high-fructose corn syrup industry stating that it was the crack cocaine of all sweeteners that makes people fat, sick and old; even referring to it as poison. Big Corn fought back with commercials stating that your body did not know the difference between corn sugar and traditional sugar. Big Sugar took Big Corn to court with a billion-dollar lawsuit, with a confidential settlement.
Chief medical correspondent at CNN Dr. Sanjay Gupta returned helping to clarify the difference. He told Dr. Oz that in the 1970s, the country decided to become a low-fat country. One problem happened; by taking fat out of food makes it taste like cardboard. Little by little, things were added to make it taste better and much of it was sugar. Then Dr. Gupta took items out of a grocery cart that contained sugar: soda, crackers, cheese, canned soup, barbeque sauce, salad dressing, bread, applesauce and even meat because sweetener can be a preservative. By checking labels, more often than not, sugar will be one of the first three ingredients, meaning that it contains a lot of sugar.
Dr. Gupta went on to show the pleasure centers of the brain that is located in the center and causes cravings. The next graphic showed a brain at rest, but once the brain looked at sugar; the pleasure centers lit up with feel-good hormones. Without even eating or drinking something sweet, it began a craving.
He then tried to break down the difference between the two. One misconception is that they both come from natural ingredients, but sugar becomes granulated and corn becomes high-fructose corn syrup. The brain cannot tell the difference, as Dr. Oz tasted cookies both made with one or the other and could not tell the difference.
They showed the graphics of a body tasting soda made with fructose, which had to be metabolized by the liver. The body then makes it into fats that put plaque inside your arteries. Once built up enough, it clogs the arteries which can cause a heart attack or stroke. Fructose is the enemy of the body. Sugar contains fifty percent fructose while high-fructose corn syrup contains fifty-five percent, and once inside the body begins to cause problems. Both sugar and corn syrup are villains of the body and because Americans just eat too much sugar.
But what happens to your body when you quit sugar? A study mentioned by Dr. Gupta where added sugar was removed from children’s diets for only ten days. The results were: triglycerides were reduced by 36 points on average; the LDL cholesterol was reduced by five points, as did the blood pressure drop five points. No reduction in calories was given because the caloric equivalent was replaced by healthier food.
Dr. Oz explained the loophole; whereas we can have the sweetness, we crave by adding fruit. The body treats the natural sugar in fruit differently because it cannot absorb it as quickly because of the fiber in the fruit.
Three sugar replacements were shown: Coconut Sugar, Stevia and Date Sugar. Coconut Sugar can be used in coffee/tea or for baking. Use 1:1 in place of regular sugar. It contains prebiotic fiber. It is sometimes called Coconut Palm Sugar. Stevia has zero calories and is zero on the glycemic index versus .68 in regular sugar. It enhances flavors in food. Date Sugar is high in calcium & fiber, is used 1:1 for replacement of sugar and contains iron.