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Thu Nov 15, 2018, 10:35 AM

Diabetes, Obesity, Metabolic Disease, Sugars, Aldehydes, and the American Diet

I am a researcher in drug discovery. I have a friend who works on diabetes and metabolic disease drugs, and he has spent a lot of time researching diet, sugars, and their effects on the body. After talking with him, I have a much better understanding of the chemistry of sugars and how they can be harmful. I thought I would share it here in case it helps anyone.

First, some facts about nerves and aldehydes. Aldehydes are quite reactive chemical compounds, and they are particularly toxic in our bodies. They can mark and damage proteins that they come in contact with, and are especially hard on nerves. For example, when people drink wood alcohol (methanol), it is converted to very reactive formaldehyde Ė which damages nerves, especially optic nerves, which is why drinking methanol often leads to blindness. It pickles the optic nerves. Regular alcohol (ethanol) is first converted to very reactive acetaldehyde in the liver, where it will eventually pickle your liver and do damage to other nerves. With that in mind, letís look at sugars.

When talking about dietary sugars, we only have to worry about two of them. Fructose and glucose. Sucrose, or table sugar, is immediately converted to a 50:50 mix of glucose and fructose. High fructose corn syrup is essentially the same - it is roughly a 50:50 mix of glucose and fructose (sometimes slightly higher in fructose, like 55:45), but pre-split into its components already, unlike sucrose. High fructose corn syrup has a lot of properties that make it great for manufacturing that sucrose doesnít, which is why it has been so (over)used in processed foods.

Fructose: The biggest natural sources of fructose are things like honey and ripe fruit. These were wonderful but rare and seasonal finds for our ancestors, and so our bodies convert fructose to fat. This conversion is essentially unregulated in our body. You eat fructose, it gets stored as fat. This is the bodyís way of saving serendipitous calories for lean times.

Glucose: this comes from sucrose, corn syrups, and starches. It is _highly_ regulated in the body, which is why we have our complex system with insulin, glycogen storage, etc. that monitors and maintains the level of glucose in the bloodstream. And part of the reason for that is glucose is also an aldehyde. It has two forms, one cyclic and the other linear, and it interconverts between the two forms. In its linear form, it is an aldehyde, less reactive than formaldehyde or acetaldehyde, but it can still damage blood vessels, nerves, proteins, your kidneys, etc. This is why prolonged high levels of glucose in the blood stream damages peripheral nerves, kidneys, eyes, etc. and why diabetes sufferers often have damaged kidneys, eyes, and lose extremities like their feet. Glucose is essentially pickling their nerves and blood vessels, all over their bodies.

So, what does all of that mean for how you should think about food and eating? Here are my recommendations:

1. You want to keep your fructose intake down. This will keep you from getting damaged fatty liver and generally packing on fat everywhere else. This means cut down on sucrose, corn syrup, and other sources of straight fructose like honey and agave nectar. Donít worry about raw fruit, though. Although it has fructose it comes in a matrix of fiber, vitamins, and other good stuff that both fills you up and provides other nutrients. However, also avoid fruit juices, as they donít have this matrix.

2. You also want to keep your glucose intake low, so that they level of glucose isnít so high that you are pickling your delicate insides with it. This means, again, lowering your intake of sucrose and corn syrup, and also all carbohydrates like starches, which are broken down into glucose. Eating more complex starches (whole grains, etc.) slows the entry of glucose into your system (again, it is a matter of having the starch delivered in a complex matrix) compared to simpler starches.

3. Eat lots of fiber and protein to keep yourself full. Lean meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, small amounts of nuts, etc. Donít worry as much about fat, as although it is a source of calories, it also fills you up.

4. Sucrose and high fructose corn syrup are essentially exactly the same as far as your body is concerned. The problem with HFCS is simply that we eat a ton of it. And sucrose, too. Sugars and carbohydrates, in which the American diet is awash, are the culprits for diobesity and metabolic disease. We just eat way too much of them, much more than our nerves, livers, kidneys, and bodies can handle. I know it is really hard, inconvenient, and expensive Ė but try to cut way down on your carbohydrates, and stick to the more complex starches where you can.

This probably isnít news to many of you. But if reading this helps even a few people from losing their kidneys or their feet, then it is worth it.

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Arrow 35 replies Author Time Post
Reply Diabetes, Obesity, Metabolic Disease, Sugars, Aldehydes, and the American Diet (Original post)
ProfessorPlum Nov 2018 OP
TreasonousBastard Nov 2018 #1
padfun Nov 2018 #2
ProfessorPlum Nov 2018 #6
mahina Feb 23 #35
lagomorph777 Nov 2018 #20
mitch96 Nov 2018 #30
ProfessorPlum Nov 2018 #3
TexasProgresive Nov 2018 #4
WhiteTara Nov 2018 #5
ProfessorPlum Nov 2018 #8
WhiteTara Nov 2018 #10
ProfessorPlum Nov 2018 #11
cannabis_flower Nov 2018 #14
lark Nov 2018 #7
mahina Mar 2019 #32
Bradshaw3 Nov 2018 #9
moreland01 Nov 2018 #12
Farmer-Rick Nov 2018 #15
LiberalArkie Nov 2018 #18
mahina Feb 23 #34
littlemissmartypants Nov 2018 #13
moreland01 Nov 2018 #16
littlemissmartypants Nov 2018 #19
Raster Nov 2018 #17
IronLionZion Nov 2018 #21
ailsagirl Nov 2018 #22
ananda Nov 2018 #23
ROB-ROX Nov 2018 #24
ProfessorPlum Nov 2018 #27
4du Nov 2018 #25
Crutchez_CuiBono Nov 2018 #26
Kali Nov 2018 #28
zooks Nov 2018 #29
ProfessorPlum Nov 2018 #31
mahina Feb 23 #33

Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 10:41 AM

1. Good job clarifying the basics.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 10:41 AM

2. As a Diabetic, I agree with everything you said.

I am on a KETO diet now and it consists of almost exactly what you said to eat. My AIC is way down now and this is without any meds for the last 7 months, but there is damage that still needs to heal so I think another 5-6 months and I should be in good shape. I have lost 30 lbs in the last 7 months.

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Response to padfun (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 10:44 AM

6. That's wonderful! I was going to talk about the A1C test

but it's a little technical.

I recently gained a lot of weight because I was fighting a lymphoma, and one of the chemotherapeutics I was on damaged my lungs, so they put me on prednisone. I'm in remission, but still trying to lose my prednisone weight, and I've come down about 20 pounds recently. Understanding all of this has helped me enormously.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 23, 2021, 02:21 PM

35. I'm so glad things are looking up.

Good luck

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Response to padfun (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 12:51 PM

20. You've got it exactly correct. Most metabolic and chronic diseases are within our control, not MDs.

I've gone vegan (still cheat a little on cheese). I've lost 40 pounds, and also lost my sleep apnea, migraines, atrial fibrillation, joint problems, skin tags, and most of my Lyme spirochetes.

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Response to lagomorph777 (Reply #20)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 02:34 PM

30. "within our control, not MDs."

Like Hippocrates said,
ďLet food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.Ē

Most Medical doctors only get about 4 or 5 hours of nutritional instruction in med school..
The Pharmaceutical industrial complex likes to keep it that way.... Burn, cut and poison is their mantra... Remember preventative medicine ruins profit..
https://nutritionfacts.org/2017/06/08/how-much-nutrition-education-do-doctors-get. The author is a medical doctor BTW

Like you I'm a Vegan cheat (about 28 days vegan with a cheat day thrown in). It's not for everybody but it works for me.. I have too many friends my age dyeing from the StdAmDiet.
If you look at the science, I mean REAL science. Placebo controlled, double blind studies NOT done by the industry prove that the standard American diet is killing us... Look at the areas in the world with the least amount of people who die from heart disease, stroke,diabetes and cancer and they eat a diet of predominantly fruits,nuts,grains and vegetables. Not much refined sugar, corn syrup, white flour or fat.
Meat is used like a condiment on rare occasions. Exercise is very important.. Don't like exercise?? WALK..
Ok off my soap box
m

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 10:41 AM

3. While I'm at it, here is my favorite weight loss receipe

Cut a spagehtti squash in half, clean out the seeds and fibers, place the halves cut side down in a baking dish with an inch or two of water in it. Bake at 375 for an hour. Remove, let cool, use a fork to get the strands of squash out, and squeeze them just a little to remove extra liquid. Mix them with one can of rinsed black beans, and then add your favorite salsa to taste.

I call this dish 'two sisters', because basic food triad of the Americas was corn, beans, and squash, the 'three sisters'. This is just the two sisters, plus some good flavoring, with fiber and protein.

Eat a pint of this for lunch everyday and cut down on your sugars and starches.


As someone who loves the traditional American diet, including sugars, starches, and processed foods, and who has struggled with my weight, I find this an easy and pretty painless way to keep my weight down.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 10:42 AM

4. This is a really good explanation of how we are killing ourselves with ...ose.

Too much sugars of whatever kind in our daily diets.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 10:44 AM

5. Thanks for writing this all out.

So, one question, raw honey is bad?

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 10:45 AM

8. It is just that it is mostly just fructose

and not really particularly good for you in any other respect. So, don't eat a ton of it. Your body will treat it like a rare feast, and sock it away in fat.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 11:10 AM

10. Okay.

Heart breaking, but okay. I wish I liked kale.

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #10)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 11:21 AM

11. Ikr

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 12:10 PM

14. About honey..

If you eat local honey it helps with pollen allergies because it has very small amounts of the local pollen from the bees. But you only need about a teaspoon of so, no more.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 10:44 AM

7. I'm reading Genius Foods right now and it's saying much the same about sugars and grains,

but coming from a neurological/brain viewpoint rather than diabetes.They also have a lot to say about oil and fats as well. I've cut out almost all grains and sugar for the past 4 months and had lab work done yesterday. I look forward to seeing how this actually translates in blood chemistry.

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Response to lark (Reply #7)

Tue Mar 26, 2019, 12:10 PM

32. What did they say about oils and fats? Thanks heaps.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 10:49 AM

9. Thank you for this information

I'm going to print it out.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 11:57 AM

12. Low Carb High Fat

I've been LCHF since June 2017. I've lost 15 pounds (would love to lose 10 more but probably won't). I feel SO MUCH BETTER! No more bloating, gas, fatigue. There a dozens of books on the subject (including KETO) that explain why/how it works, but basically, the human body does not need carbohydrates. At all! Period! I can't explain it in a blog post, so if you're interested, read Grain Brain or Why We Get Fat. Or any of the other books.

The downside is that it shows me how much I am addicted to carbs. That sugar rush (even from a potato or beets) is real and absolutely does affect how I feel. They make me fat, tired and hungry but the addiction calls them to you.

Another downside is that 15 pounds was apparently holding my face up . I look so much more wrinkly now. But my clothes fitting better makes all the difference.

I've also had zero hypoglycemic events. And I've only had one cold (very minor one).

When our FDA finally turns its back on the sugar and grain industries, we'll all be better off.

FYI, my diet is called NSNG (No Sugar-No Grain).



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Response to moreland01 (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 12:16 PM

15. The really weird thing though for me on a LCHF diet is

though I've not lost any weight in the last 6 months (I lost 25 pounds six months ago), I'm shrinking. My belly is almost all gone. I'm 3 sizes smaller in pants. My flabby butt has disappeared and my jiggly arms have gone. My shirt size has gone down 2 sizes. Yet, I weigh exactly what I weighed six months ago. Very weird.

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Response to Farmer-Rick (Reply #15)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 12:27 PM

18. I had the same problem when I started exercising..

I bought a scale with fat % on it and it started making sense.

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Response to Farmer-Rick (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 23, 2021, 02:18 PM

34. Can you share some of your go to meals?

Please?
Mahalo nui

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 12:01 PM

13. So I guess I shouldn't have a Magnum Dove chocolate ice cream

Bar with caramel for breakfast and should go for the spinach and feta cheese omlet, instead?

J/K

Sugar is, in all forms, poison. Insert fruit caveat here. It is also ridiculously addictive, becomes fat and has been linked to the development of dementia. It most certainly causes inflammation, which when it goes awry, is the known basis for all disease.

A word or two about fat in foods. I am increasing my intake of good fats, MUFA, monounsaturated fatty acids and have put no limit on them in my diet. I am, however fighting appetite, chewing and a swallowing problems, so when I can eat, what I eat is condition specific. Let's just say that the blender and the chopper are my companions on the trip.

Also, I have been trying to follow the advice of Dr. Mark Hyman and suggest checking him out if you haven't already. He claims that we are having a food revolution, among other things.

As for weight loss, I recommend that you consider the Salk Institute method. Combined with monitoring intake of food types (like anything "white" eg., rice, potatoes, bread, refined sugar, etc.) it addresses time and duration of intake free periods as contributory to weight control. Also known as time restricted feeding or so called chrononutrition.

Additional information about metabolic influences on weight should also be considered, like possible abnormalities in the leptin and ghrelin systems that may contribute to the development of obesity. Though the relationships are not completely clear, metabolic disturbances cannot be ignored when addressing weight.

Very interesting post, ProfessorPlum. Thank you for sharing it. I appreciate your empathic expression of concern for the wellness of myself and fellow DUers. This is truly an amazing place. Posters like you contribute to the emotional and physical wellness of more souls, than I suspect the founders forsaw. Thanks again.

♡ lmsp

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 12:22 PM

16. Sugar

A word on sugar. When I started low-carb, I bought a sugar (glucose) monitor and was surprised at all of the things that spiked blood sugar. Watermelon, for instance, is considered low-glycemic. But for me, it spikes my blood sugar (like to 160!). The connection between blood sugar and fat-retention needs to be understood to get a true understanding of how bad sugar (in all forms) is bad for us, especially as we age.

I'm convinced now (from all that I've read) that Type 2 Diabetes is reversible on a KETO diet. Your blood sugar can't spike if you're eating good fats and protein only.

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Response to moreland01 (Reply #16)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 12:42 PM

19. Excellent points. nt

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 12:26 PM

17. Excellent info, ProfessorPlum!

Type 2 diabetic for 20 years. Diabetes runs in my family, so I am hyper aware. I also followed the ADA advice for years, and only got sicker. After doing my own research, I concluded a higher fat, low carb diet was the only way to go. Last A1C: 5.6. It isn't diabetes that kills you, it's the side effects. Unfortunately, most of the US is probably somewhat pre-diabetic. Our high carb lifestyle does not do us any good at all.

One website I am currently involved with is: dietdoctor.com. I highly recommend checking it out.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 12:58 PM

21. Sugar is the devil

I'm sure my Swiss miss addiction is going to kill me.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 01:01 PM

22. +10000000

Thank you!

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 01:04 PM

23. I avoid almost all grains and always HFCS!!!

I stick to fruits and veggies mostly.

Now and then I have a piece of organic
hard candy.

Even my chocolate is dark 85%.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 01:33 PM

24. BACK IN THE 70'S

I sort of figured this out in the 70's. I do not add salt to my food nor sugar to my cereal. I do not routinely eat candy......I only took two years of chemistry in college so I know about aldehydes. The sad part is the the majority of the people do not know this toxic information. People learn very slowly and for some people it may be to late.......

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Response to ROB-ROX (Reply #24)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 02:29 PM

27. I think the processed food companies do quite a lot to keep any noise about sugar toxicity stifled

I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but BIG FOOD is very real. See Archer Daniel Midland.

And whenever some do-gooder in the government hints at suggesting people eat a little less or a little less sugar, that gets stamped out very quickly.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 01:50 PM

25. Just enjoy life, do what makes you happy

 

I enjoy food, especially ice cream and sweets. I am "fat" and have been so for most of my life. I have never been sick a day in my life. I have never been to the doctor for any reason, not even a cold. (I did go only once 50 years ago, pre-admission physical for my union.) I am 72-years-old. People worry too much about their health, when it is time to meet your maker it is time. Be happy, don't worry.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 01:59 PM

26. Gosh, good info....ever notice that

"3. Eat lots of fiber and protein to keep yourself full. Lean meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, small amounts of nuts, etc. Donít worry as much about fat, as although it is a source of calories, it also fills you up. "
Are the MOST expensive foods and if you bought only these w the average food budget, you'd be eating every two/three days instead of everyday? And since red ivans tariffs they are going up even higher.
People buy starchy, carb filled, foods etc. bc they are cheap and filling. Food shouldn't be an option in America. We throw out more of the above foods than we consume it seems. Unfortunate.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 02:30 PM

28. shortcut for not obsessing over food

each meal - serving of protein, colorful veg, smart (complex) carb and healthy fat.

protein serving size - palm of hand (men, athletes can have 2)

colorful veg size - balled fist

smart carb size - cupped hand (men, athletes can have 2 - see what works for you)

healthy fat - size of your thumb (includes butter, nuts, other fats - again men, athletes 2)

most important is protein and 5 servings of colorful vegs (fruits ok, but vegs better) per day and to eat SLOW. chew 20 times for each bite.

if you get in these few habits (try for 3 weeks) you should see results. if you have a craving for crap eat a meal described and then if you still feel the craving go ahead. it isn't going to go away so just handle it by enjoying it - eat it the same way, slow and really taste it. enjoy and go on with healthier at next meal.

once you are regularly getting enough protein and 4 or 5 servings of colorfol vegs you will feel satisfied and have less cravings. it is about changing habits and not dieting. diets don't work. counting calories is highly inaccurate and doesn't work.

try to get 20 minutes of physical activity 3 days per week. get outside in nature. almost everybody can do these simple habits. no pressure to overdo things then crash and quit. one small. change at a time. start with the protein or the eating slow. start with one meal today. do the small change for 2 weeks then add another.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 02:30 PM

29. Very interesting info. I think of myself as well informed about

nutrition but have never come across this valuable info about aldehydes so many thanks. Is the damage done from consuming lots of sugar and fructose reversible if one stops or is the damage permanent?

I have been a real sugar junkie thru-out me life though have been on the wagon for about a year. I've gone through periods where I just ate sugar from the bag so I'm talking serious junkie. Why I don't have diabetes or metabolic syndrome baffles me. What scared the bejeezus out of me was as association being made between sugar and Alzheimers.

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Response to zooks (Reply #29)

Thu Nov 15, 2018, 02:37 PM

31. the permanence of the damage I don't know about

when parts of your die (toes, feet, kidneys) because the fine nerves that ennervate them stop working, I think that is pretty permanent. But there are probably lots of other systems that start doing much better immediately if you keep your glucose levels lower.

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Response to ProfessorPlum (Original post)

Tue Feb 23, 2021, 02:12 PM

33. Thanks.

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