Dr. Steven Gundry is a cardiologist, heart surgeon, medical researcher, and author.
>> Dr. Gundry: There’s an epidemic sweeping this country. Some would say it’s as addictive as hard drugs or even as deadly. I’ll be honest. That’s a pretty extreme point of view but that doesn’t mean sugar addiction isn’t incredibly dangerous for your health. So how much sugar are we eating? Well, the average American eats a hundred and fifty-three pounds of sugar per year. Just for reference that’s the size of a newborn giraffe. That’s a lot of sugar to be eating every year and sugar is doing more than just making you fat.
By now, we all know the connection between sugar and type-2 diabetes. But as a cardiac surgeon, cardiologist I know firsthand sugar consumption can impact your heart health too. It can raise your blood pressure and screw up your cholesterol levels. In fact, believe it or not – cholesterol rises, the more sugar and even fruit you eat. Yes, you’re hearing me correctly. But, of course, knowing the risk doesn’t make it any easier to quit eating sugar. Any smoker, alcoholic knows that. It’s in everything. And it’s not just sweet things either. Salad dressings, pasta sauce, breads, crackers, even those healthy green juices are loaded with sugar! It’s everywhere you look. It’s no wonder people are hooked. They don’t even know they’re eating sugar.
But how do you give up sugar without going crazy?
Number 1 – You gotta know where it’s hiding! You may not see sugar on the package. But check for brown rice syrup, corn syrup, glucose, fructose, Agave, even artificial sweeteners as well. And remember – prepackaged food and even restaurant food is bound to add more sugar than the stuff you make at home. Here’s another trick. If you’re actually reading the label on a package – a word of warning – don’t look at the sugar on the table of contents. It’s purposely misleading based on an agreement between the FDA and food manufacturers. Word of advice – always look at total
carbohydrates, take away the fibre. That’s the sugar in the package.
Number 2 – Give fruit the boot! Personally, I avoid all fruits. And I suggest my patients do the
same. But if that feels impossible, stick to in-season fruit that’s high in polyphenols. Stuff like
raspberries or pomegranates or blackberries. My other word of advice – there aren’t any blueberries in February or March. Your brain, if you’re eating blueberries in February or March, doesn’t think it’s winter. It thinks it’s summer and will actually make you store fat for the upcoming winter, even though it’s winter! Now believe me, as a sugar addict, I know how hard this is.
Number 3– Don’t quit cold turkey. In fact, enjoy the occasional treat. I suggest a glass of red wine but only about 4 to 6 ounces. Believe it or not – some of the best red wines come from high altitudes and they actually have far more of an incredible polyphenol called resveratrol.
Number 4 – Don’t drink sweet drinks. You know what I think about soda. But soda is not the only sweet drink out there. Skip fruit juice. Instead, drink water. Drink sparkling water. Drink unsweetened tea.
Try herbal teas and have coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Don’t look at quitting sugar as a restriction. Look at it as an opportunity to get creative in the
kitchen, to learn to love new flavours and to take control of your health. Remember, this is the only body you’re ever going to live in. If you took care of this body, like you took care of your house or your car, there’d be no question what you’d actually do.
This is Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you!