A Diet High in Fructose Harms the Liver
One of the primary reasons that a good cleanse should begin with sugar detox, is that sugar is high in fructose, which goes directly to the liver upon consumption. As opposed to glucose, which is found in nature and is a type of sugar that the body actually needs (to a certain extent), there is no physiological need for fructose. In his excellent documentary titled “Sugar, The Bitter Truth,” Dr. Robert Lustig explains that fructose can only be metabolized by the liver, which can cause serious problems if consumed in excess.
“The only organ that can metabolize fructose is the liver. When we eat a lot of fructose, many things in the body start to go wrong.”
Excess Sugar Consumption Can Lead to Insulin Resistance
Insulin is the hormone that escorts glucose (blood sugar) into our cells, and sends our cells the message to burn glucose instead of fat. However, if you have chronically high blood glucose levels (which is actually toxic in and of itself) this can lead to serious complications like diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
When we eat fructose, it goes to the liver.
If liver glycogen is low, such as after a run, the fructose will be used to replenish it (1).
However, most people aren’t consuming fructose after a long workout and their livers are already full of glycogen.
When this happens, the liver turns the fructose into fat (2).
Some of the fat gets shipped out, but part of it remains in the liver. The fat can build up over time and ultimately lead to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (3, 4, 5).
Sugar Suppresses the Immune System and Raises Your Risk of Cancer and other Diseases
Contrary to popular belief, a giant glass of orange juice when we are sick is not the best way to get better. In his widely known research conducted in the 1970s (2) , Linus Pauling discovered that sugar and vitamin C have similar chemical structures, and the two (very different) compounds actually compete for space in our white blood cells. This means that the more sugar we eat, the lower our vitamin C content becomes. Vitamin C is a powerful immune-boosting and infection-preventing antioxidant, and is put directly in harms way when being forced to compete with sugar. As noted above, sugar also has devastating affects on our metabolism, which can also lead to cancer cell proliferation.
Sugar has been associated with:
- Diabetes. Sugar is probably a leading cause of diabetes (13, 14, 15).
- Heart disease. Sugar raises the bad cholesterol, triglycerides and causes various other issues that can ultimately lead to heart disease (16, 17).
Sugar is the Leading Cause of Obesity
Plain and simple, sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption makes you fat. Sugar directly affects insulin and cortisol, two hormones that play a key role in fat storage. A study released by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition connects consumption of high-fructose corn syrup with America’s obesity epidemic (3), and other forms of sugar certainly have similar outcomes. Read my article on common weight loss mistakes to learn other leading causes of obesity, and weight loss resistance.
- Obesity. Sugar causes weight gain via various mechanisms, including elevated insulin and leptin resistance (11, 12).
Do I need a sugar detox?
Take a look at this list and consider if you experience any of the following symptoms:
• Foggy brain/poor memory
• Frequent sugar and carbohydrate cravings
• A history of refined sugar consumption
• Regular headaches
• Low energy/energy dips and spikes
• Mood swings and excessive irritability
• Muscles pain not associated with exercise
• Excessive thirst
• Increased hunger
In reality, even if you are one of the lucky ones who do not experience some or all of these symptoms, the truth is that everyone can benefit from a simple sugar detox.
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