Thursday, March 1, 2012

More information on that evil fructose

In general, Anthony's doing great. We'll have a slip up every now and then, he'll have too much sugar or too much fruit, and he'll get a tummy ache.

Here's some interesting information I wanted to pass along. Recently, there was an bit on NPR's Science Friday program where a pediatrician/endocrinologist from UCSF discussed sugar in the standard American diet and how it has fueled the obesity epidemic in this country.

Here's the link to the show:

Ignore the topic about regulating sugar, since the show is mainly about the science behind why they want to regulate sugar. They don't declare that we need to keep people from making their own decisions, they offer up several recommendations in the article (in the academic journal, Nature), including changing food labeling laws.

The main takeaway I took from the program was that excess sugar, especially fructose, is bad for everyone. Here's the interesting part, especially if you've ever had elevated triglycerides or bad LDL and went on a low fat diet because of it:
Now, in 1977, the McGovern commission dietary guidelines for Americans basically told us that we needed to reduce our consumption of fat. The question is: Where did that come from? Where did that directive come from?
Very simple, in the early 1970s, we learned about this thing in our blood called LDL, low-density lipoproteins.
In the mid-1970s, we learned that dietary fat raised our LDL, which is true. And we also then learned in the late 1970s that LDL levels in populations correlated with cardiovascular disease. So the thought was if dietary fat raises your LDL and LDL raises your risk for cardiovascular disease, let's get rid of dietary fat, therefore cardiovascular disease would go down. That was the thought process. And the AHA, the AMA and the USDA all bought into this, and that is what was done, and the food industry went along with it.
They retooled. They reengineered all their recipes. That's how we got Entenmann's fat-free cakes. That's how we got Snackwell's. They're still with us. Bottom line, not only has it not worked, but it's actually made things way worse. Now, the question is: Was that logic rational? And I would pose to you that that logic was completely off base. Why? Well, number one, dietary fat does raise your LDL - that's true - but there are two LDLs, not one. There's one called large buoyant, and there's one called small dense.
When you measure your LDL levels in your blood, you measure both at the same time. It turns out the large buoyant has nothing to do with cardiovascular disease. They float. They go along inside your blood vessels. They're too large to get under the surface of the cells that line the arterial wall. They don't cause anything. The small dense ones, though, those are the ones that are driven up by carbohydrate, and they are small enough to get under the surface of endothelial cells.
They're the ones that start the foam cell process. They're the ones that start atherogenesis, and they're the ones that have gone through the roof, because when we took the fat out, the food tasted like cardboard. We had to substitute something. We substituted carbohydrate. So, yes, our percent fat went down, and our percent carbohydrate went up astronomically, and that drove hyperinsulinemia, drove liver fat, drove all the processes I've mentioned before, and that's how we got into this mess. We have to get out of it.
There is a lot of information there that I don't expect you to understand. But the bottom line is, if you have bad cholesterol and have tried a low fat diet that didn't do anything for your cholesterol, try a low sugar diet. If you do nothing but stop drinking soda, your heart will thank you! We know first hand how bad fructose is by itself. Even if you have no apparent problem with fructose like we do, at least make sure that fructose you're consuming comes from apples, not soda, and that it's attached to the fiber in the fruit (as opposed to fruit juice).

Enough about science and food! Here are some funny photos.

"Mom, what's this? A phone booth? Why would you need that?"

Phone booth in Snohomish!

These pictures are from November. His hair was really short then! I blame the lice outbreaks at school!!!

Enjoying the fall colors