How Sugar Destroys Your Liver and Brain

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January 13, 2016 | 158,252 views

Story at-a-glance

  • Sugar acts as a chronic, dose-dependent liver toxin (poison) when consumed in excess
  • People with only slightly elevated blood sugar levels have a greater risk of kidney disease
  • Type 2 diabetes is associated with a 60 percent increased risk of dementia in men and women

By Dr. Mercola

At one point in time, sugar was a delicacy, a condiment that was difficult to come by. If you were lucky, you may have added it to your coffee or tea.

But according to Dr. Robert Lustig, professor of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco (USCF), sugar was "still extraordinarily expensive until the middle of the 18th to 19th century."

That expense may have been a blessing in disguise, as it made it virtually impossible for mot people to consume in excess. And therein lies the problem. Sugar acts as a chronic, dose-dependent liver toxin (poison) when consumed in excess, Dr. Lustig has stated.

In fact, the rise of chronic metabolic disease in the U.S. follows the growth of the U.S. sugar industry and increases in per capita sugar consumption.

Today, we consume about 20 times more sugar than our ancestors did, and we have very little control over the amount since what was once a condiment has now become a dietary staple.

Why Is Sugar Bad for Your Liver?

Are You Addicted to Sugar? Here's How to Break Free

Eliminating excess sugar from your diet is a foundational element of reaching optimal health. If you currently eat sugar, there's a good chance you're struggling with sugar addiction. So I highly recommend trying an energy psychology technique called Turbo Tapping, which has helped many "soda addicts" kick their sweet habit, and it should work for any type of sweet craving you may have.

In order to minimize your sugar intake you'll need to avoid most processed foods, as added sugars hide in 74 percent of processed foods under more than 60 different names.13 If you're insulin/leptin resistant, have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or are overweight, you'd be wise to limit your total fructose/sugar intake to 15 grams per day until your insulin/leptin resistance has resolved.

For all others, I recommend limiting your daily fructose consumption to 25 grams or less. Please refer to my free nutrition plan for a step-by-step guide to making positive changes in your diet. You simply cannot achieve optimal health on a diet of processed foods and sugar. A few other tricks to try to kick your sugar cravings:

Exercise: Anyone who exercises intensely on a regular basis will know that significant amounts of cardiovascular exercise is one of the best "cures" for food cravings. It always amazes me how my appetite, especially for sweets, dramatically decreases after a good workout.

I believe the mechanism is related to the dramatic reduction in insulin levels that occurs after exercise. Additionally, if you do eat sugars or fruits around the time of the exercise, your sugar levels will not rise as it will metabolized for fuel

Organic, black coffee: Coffee is a potent opioid receptor antagonist, and contains compounds such as cafestrol — found plentifully in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee — which can bind to your opioid receptors, occupy them and essentially block your addiction to other opioid-releasing food.14,15 This may profoundly reduce the addictive power of other substances, such as sugar.

Sour taste, such as that from cultured vegetables, helps to reduce sweet cravings, too. This is doubly beneficial, as fermented vegetables also promote gut health. You can also try adding lemon or lime juice to your water.

[+]Sources and References [-]Sources and References

  • 1
  • 2 New York Times November 12, 2014
  • 3 Too Much Can Make Us Sick
  • 4, 6 Reuters December 30, 2015
  • 5, 7 American Journal of Kidney Diseases December 29, 2015
  • 8 Neurology October 23, 2013
  • 9 Panminerva Med. 2012 Sep;54(3):171-8.
  • 10 Diabetes Care December 17, 2015
  • 11 NEJM August 8, 2013; 369:540-548
  • 12 Scientific American January 1, 2016
  • 13, 61 Names for Sugar
  • 14 Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2012 Feb 14.
  • 15 Nature. 1983 Jan 20;301(5897):246-8.