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I’ve been listening to a series of podcasts and you tube presentations from various health experts over the past few months. Most of the presenters are experts in their fields and have excellent information about the things that can help us live healthier longer lives. Interestingly, there are common themes that comes across and the conclusions end up being the same. Now, I know I have mentioned these points before but I feel they are worth touching on again because they are so relevant to how our health and the health of our children and grandchildren can be better in the future. So, to keep it simple, there are two things I would hope people can take away.
2. Sugar is more toxic to your body than most of us realise
These are both very big topics and it would take more than a year to read all of the information on each. So, it would be impossible to cover them properly in a brief email. However, as always, I am just looking to sow the seeds of thought that will lead to better habits that lead to better health.
So, on exercise
There is extensive evidence to show that regular activity and exercise is at least twice as effective at improving health than the next best health measure you could undertake.
This is not so simply because you burn calories. In fact, you can’t out exercise a bad diet based on calories. For example, you would have to walk for about 4 hours (about 20km) to burn off a big mac meal (even the most passionate exerciser wouldn’t walk for 4 hours a day).
The real benefit of exercise comes from maintaining and improving muscle mass, improved insulin sensitivity, improved cardiovascular function and improved mental health among many other things. It truly is the ultimate health panacea.
And, most importantly, the benefits can be seen at a very low “dose”. You don’t have to become an Olympic athlete to get most of the benefit. It only requires moderate intensity but it has to be regular. Thirty minutes five time a week is a fantastic starting point.
Saying that sugar is toxic is controversial. And this comment is based on average consumption over a long period. But, if you look at the evidence, I’m not sure there is any other conclusion. Things that are toxic to our bodies cause damage in some way and potentially death. So, we know that metabolic disease in the world in rising. This is the combined effect of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, abdominal obesity and diabetes. These all cause damage to our bodies and they are contribute to premature death.
There is much research on why metabolic disease is rising so significantly and the primary causative link that remains constant across the planet is rising sugar consumption.
So, if sugar is the primary cause for rising diabetes, hypertension, obesity and diabetes (all of which are damaging the human body) then surely sugar is toxic. The science does tell us that it is the fructose component of sugar that is the problem. It can be as toxic to our body as alcohol.
Within this domain of sugar consumption, special attention needs to be paid to the sugar we drink. Soft drinks, flavoured milks and fruit juices have been identified at the biggest source of increased consumption. Studies that remove sugary drinks from the diets of obese children and adolescents results in the reversal of the early signs of metabolic disease.
To understand this a little better, consider that the average serve of a soft drink has gone from about 280ml in the 1960’s to 600ml today. But in the 1960’s this was a treat, once a week. Today the average consumption for a soft drink drinker is 900ml daily. So, this means in the 1960’s the sugar intake from soft drink was about 30g per week. Today is it a whopping 630g per week, 600g extra – 120 teaspoonfuls.
Consider the impact of this on body weight. It takes 7000 excess calories to gain a kilogram of fat. 600g of sugar equates to 2400 calories. This would add 1kg of fat to the average human every three weeks or 17kg a year. The same calorie maths applies to fruit juice and flavoured milks (ice coffee, choc milk etc).
So, as I said above, this is a massive topic with reams of data and many different opinions. As always this is a thought piece to stimulate further conversations.
Ultimately, if you do have any of the signs of metabolic disease then the two best things you can do for yourself is to get some exercise and cut back the sugar. And, if you want to set your kids up for better health make water the drink of choice.
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08 9593 7534
08 9593 1998