Weight Loss Is The Key To Combating Fatty Liver
There’s a fair amount of guesswork to the estimates, but perhaps as many as 20% of American adults have some degree of fatty liver disease, a condition that used to occur almost exclusively in people who drink excessively. The epidemics of obesity and diabetes are to blame. Fatty liver affects between 70% and 90% of people with those conditions, so as obesity and diabetes have become more common, so has fatty liver disease.
Fatty liver disease isn’t confined to any one group, and there doesn’t seem to be pronounced gender differences, but studies suggest that Latinos are disproportionately affected. It’s primarily a condition of middle age, although children may get it, too. Fatty liver disease is rapidly becoming more common in Asia, and some research suggests that men in India may be especially susceptible.
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Too Much Sugar Is Bad For Your Health Here Are Ways To Cut It Back
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Baking sweets became a pandemic habit for many of us. And while it may have been a great quarantine hobby, most people need to examine just how much sugar theyre eating. According to the Agriculture Department, adults get an average of 68 grams of added sugars every day those added to foods, not the ones naturally in them. In contrast, the American Heart Associations upper limit for women is 25 grams a day for men, its 36 grams .
Added sugars can easily add a lot of calories to your diet, says Frank Hu, chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, often without you realizing it. For instance, if you had a small Strawberry Coolatta from Dunkin as an afternoon treat and a bottle of Pure Leaf Lemon iced tea with dinner, youd be consuming 400 calories all from added sugars. All that sugar increases your risk of weight gain and obesity. And obesity in turn is a major risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer, Hu says.
Reducing Sugar In Food
- Rather than spreading high-sugar jam, marmalade, syrup, chocolate spread or honey on your toast, try a lower-fat spread, reduced-sugar jam or fruit spread, sliced banana or lower-fat cream cheese instead.
- Check nutrition labels to help you pick the foods with less added sugar, or go for the reduced- or lower-sugar version.
- Try reducing the sugar you use in your recipes. It works for most things except jam, meringues and ice cream.
- Choose tins of fruit in juice rather than syrup.
- Choose unsweetened wholegrain breakfast cereals that are not frosted, or coated with chocolate or honey.
- Choose unsweetened cereal and try adding some fruit for sweetness, which will contribute to your 5 A Day. Sliced bananas, dried fruit and berries are all good options.
The Food Scanner app from Change4Life can help you check how much sugar you or your child is having. Using your smartphone, the app can scan the barcode on food packets to find out exactly how much sugar is in it. Get it on the App Store and .
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Are Low Or Sugar
Sugar detox or quit-sugar diets may completely restrict all sugar or just added sugars from your diet. This can result in short-term weight loss but may not be sustainable.
A zero-sugar diet would involve cutting out all fruit, vegetables, milk and some grains and legumes because of their natural sugar content. This puts a person at risk of nutritional deficiencies and is not in line with Australias Dietary Guidelines.
In this case it’s nearly impossible to get enough nutrients and fibre without taking supplements. Healthy carbohydrates are also needed for the beneficial gut bacteria that keep your digestive tract healthy.
However, restricting added sugars is sensible since these are common in energy-dense, nutrient-poor discretionary foods and drinks.
Hidden Side Effects Of Sugar
Rising obesity levels and prevalence of type 2 diabetes are highlighting concerns about sugar. Heres why you should address your sugar habits.
Fit& Well blogSeptember 2016
The maximum recommended daily intake of sugar is 6 teaspoons a day, but research suggests Australians are consuming more than triple that amount possibly without realising it via added sugar in foods including bread and sauces.
Prevention warns overconsumption of sugar poses the following health risks and offers tips for what you can do it about it.
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Sugar Can Lead To Weight Gain
When you eat or drink foods high in sugar, your body experiences a sugar rush, which causes a spike in blood sugar levels.
In response to this spike, your pancreas releases insulin, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
However, when you consume too much sugar, your body becomes resistant to insulin, and over time, this can lead to type 2 diabetes.
But thats not all. Sugar is high in calories and eating too many sugary foods can lead to weight gain.
In addition, when your body becomes resistant to insulin, it starts to store more fat.
So not only can sugar lead to weight gain, but it can also make it harder to lose weight.
Sugar Can Lead To Heart Disease
In addition to weight gain, sugar can also contribute to heart disease.
Thats because sugar raises triglyceride levels in your blood. Triglycerides are a type of fat, and when they build up in your blood, they can clog your arteries and lead to heart disease.
Sugar can also cause high blood pressure and increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, both of which are major risk factors for heart disease.
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Added Sugar Is High In Fructose Which Can Overload Your Liver
In order to understand what is so bad about sugar, then you need to understand what it is made of.
Before sugar enters the bloodstream from the digestive tract, it is broken down into two simple sugars glucose and fructose.
Glucose is found in every living cell on the planet. If we dont get it from the diet, our bodies produce it.
Fructose is different. Our bodies do not produce it in any significant amount and there is no physiological need for it. The thing with fructose is that it can only be metabolized by the liver in any significant amounts. This is not a problem if we eat a little bit or we just finished an exercise session. In this case, the fructose will be turned into glycogen and stored in the liver until we need it.
However, if the liver is full of glycogen , eating a lot of fructose overloads the liver, forcing it to turn the fructose into fat. When repeatedly eating large amounts of sugar, this process can lead to fatty liver and all sorts of serious problems. Keep in mind that all of this does NOT apply to fruit. It is almost impossible to overeat fructose by eating fruit.
There is also massive individual variability here. People who are healthy and active can tolerate more sugar than people who are inactive and eat a Western, high-carb, high-calorie diet.
Bottom Line: For people who are inactive and eat a Western diet, large amounts of fructose from added sugars get turned into fat in the liver.
Labels On The Back Of Packaging
It’s important to look for the “of which sugars” figure on nutrition labels, which is part of the carbohydrate information.
While this does not tell you the amount of free sugars, it’s a useful way of comparing labels and can help you choose foods that are lower in sugar overall.
Look for the “Carbohydrates of which sugars” figure on the nutrition label.
Products are considered to either be high or low in sugar if they fall above or below the following thresholds:
- high: more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g
- low: 5g or less of total sugars per 100g
If the amount of sugars per 100g is between these figures, that’s regarded as a medium level.
The “of which sugars” figure describes the total amount of sugars from all sources free sugars, plus those from milk, and those present in fruit and vegetables.
For example, plain yoghurt may contain as much as 8g per serving, but none of these are free sugars, as they all come from milk.
The same applies to an individual portion of fruit. An apple might contain around 11g of total sugar, depending on the size of the fruit selected, the variety and the stage of ripeness.
But sugar in fruit is not considered free sugars unless the fruit is juiced or puréed.
This means food containing fruit or milk will be a healthier choice than one containing lots of free sugars, even if the 2 products contain the same total amount of sugar.
You can tell if the food contains lots of added sugars by checking the ingredients list.
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Minimally Processed Or Natural Sugars Are Better For You
Its true that minimally processed sweeteners, like honey or maple syrup, contain more nutrients than highly processed ones, like white sugar. But the amounts of these nutrients are teeny tiny, so they probably wont have a measurable impact on your health. To your body, all sources of sugar are the same.
Whats more, these natural sweeteners dont get any kind of special treatment in your body. The digestive tract breaks down all sources of sugar into simple sugars called monosaccharides.
Your body has no idea if it came from table sugar, honey, or agave nectar. It simply sees monosaccharide sugar molecules, explains Amy Goodson, MS, RD. And all of these sugars deliver 4 calories per gram, so they all have the same impact on your weight.
Added Sugar Contains No Essential Nutrients And Is Bad For Your Teeth
Youve probably heard this a million times before but its worth repeating. Added sugars contain a whole bunch of calories with NO essential nutrients.
For this reason, they are called empty calories. There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals in sugar just pure energy. When people eat up to 10-20% of calories as sugar , this can become a major problem and contribute to nutrient deficiencies.
Sugar is also very bad for the teeth, because it provides easily digestible energy for the bad bacteria in the mouth.
Bottom Line: Sugar contains a lot of calories, with no essential nutrients. It also causes tooth decay by feeding the harmful bacteria in the mouth.
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Added Sugar: How Much Is Too Much
Not all sugars are created equal. Natural sugars, found in foods like milk and fruit, can be part of a healthy diet. What you want to watch for are added sugars.
Added sugars include the white table sugar, honey or maple syrup you stir into your coffee or drizzle on pancakes. Added sugars are also common ingredients in processed foods. You find them in sweet treats like soda, sweetened yogurt, cookies and ice cream.
But added sugar is also hiding in places you might not expect it, like canned soups or hamburger buns. Foods like bread can have a lot of added sugar, even though you might not taste it, Patton says.
That makes it easy to eat too much added sugar without even realizing it. How much is too much? The American Heart Association recommends no more than:
- 100 calories of added sugar per day for women.
- 150 calories per day for men.
A Small Amount Of Sugar Is Safe For People With Diabetes
There is no evidence that a diet high in sugar directly causes either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. However, being overweight or obese is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and perhaps someone who is overweight might also eat a lot of sugar.
Early evidence shows that some people with type 2 diabetes who are overweight and recently diagnosed can reverse type 2 diabetes if they are able to achieve significant weight loss.In the past, people with diabetes were told to avoid eating all foods containing refined sugar. This was because it was believed the sugar would have a bad effect on their blood glucose levels. However, more recent research on the glycaemic index has shown that sugar affects blood glucose levels less than some other more starchy foods, like refined bread and breakfast cereal.People with diabetes can have a small amount of sugar in their diet. If you are adding sugar, it is best to add it to healthier foods such as wholegrain breads and cereals. For example, adding 2 teaspoons of regular jam spread on wholegrain bread, or a sprinkle of sugar on your porridge is okay.People with diabetes should limit or avoid foods in which the main ingredient is sugar, such as sweets and cakes. It is also important to maintain a healthy weight to manage diabetes.
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Can You Overdo It On Naturally Occurring Sugars
Some celebrities and others credit weight-loss successes to eliminating all sugars . But the sugars found in fruit and dairy are part of a healthy diet and shouldnt be on the naughty foods list.
Like any component of a diet, you can overdo it on sugar, even if it’s naturally occurring, says Voltolina. But most people can stay in the healthy range when it comes to natural sugars if they focus on choosing whole foods over processed ones try a few slices of fresh fruit on a peanut butter sandwich instead of a jelly or jam, which likely has extra added sugar and focus on eating a well-balanced diet.
Eventually, the less sugar you have in your diet, the sweeter foods will taste naturally, says Voltolina. Your taste buds will adjust when you reduce or eliminate added sugars, and you might find that certain sugary foods and beverages will taste too sweet. This will make it easier to cut back on foods with sugar.
Sugar Is A Leading Contributor To Obesity In Both Children And Adults
The way sugar affects hormones and the brain is a recipe for fat gain disaster. It leads to decreased satiety and can get people addicted so that they lose control over their consumption.
Not surprisingly, people who consume the most sugar are by far the most likely to become overweight or obese. This applies to all age groups.
Many studies have examined the link between sugar consumption and obesity and found a strong statistical association. The link is especially strong in children, where each daily serving of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with a whopping 60% increased risk of obesity. One of the most important things you can do if you need to lose weight is to significantly cut back on sugar consumption.
Bottom Line: Because of the effects of sugar on hormones and the brain, sugar dramatically increases the risk of becoming overweight or obese.
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May Increase Your Risk Of Depression
While a healthy diet can help improve your mood, a diet high in added sugar and processed foods may contribute to changes in mood and emotions.
It may even increase your chances of developing depression.
Researchers believe that chronic systemic inflammation, insulin resistance, and a disrupted dopaminergic reward signaling system all of which can be caused by increased sugar consumption may contribute to sugars detrimental impact on mental health .
A study following 8,000 people showed that men who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than men who ate less than 40 grams per day .
Another study in over 69,000 women demonstrated that those with the highest intakes of added sugars had a significantly greater risk of depression, compared to those with the lowest intakes .
A diet rich in added sugar and ultra-processed foods may increase depression risk in both men and women.
How Can I Reduce My Sugar Intake
You dont need to avoid sugar altogether. Fruit, vegetables and dairy foods all contain naturally-occurring sugars, and are also sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals, such as calcium.
You should, however, avoid overconsuming added sugars. Check food labels, as above.
Sugar-sweetened drinks can make it easy to overconsume sugar because they dont help your body to feel full or satisfied.
To reduce added sugars, you could also:
- replace breakfast cereals containing dried fruit with fruit-free muesli or porridge
- cook eggs for breakfast
- buy plain, unsweetened yoghurt and add fresh fruit to sweeten it, if you wish
- make your own sauces with wine, vinegars, tomatoes, herbs, spices, onion or garlic
- flavour food with herbs and spices, such as chilli
- cut back on discretionary foods, such as cakes, biscuits, desserts and ice cream
- drink plain water, soda water or mineral water rather than sweetened drinks, sports drinks or iced tea
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