Thursday, January 22, 2015

The case for avoiding sugar -- and diets

I've long held that fad diets like resets and detox diets are not healthy for you.  The other day NPR ran a story about the healthier alternative:

From Detox To Elimination Diets, Skipping Sugar May Be The Best Bet

From the article:

We spoke to Dr. Ranit Mishori, a faculty member in family medicine at Georgetown University Medical School who has reviewed the literature on colon cleanses. She told us that lots of her patients are asking about detox and cleansing diets, especially at this time of year. Her advice: Steer clear.

The way she explains it, our bodies have an excellent built-in system for getting rid of toxins. Our kidneys and livers, for instance, both play an important role in helping to filter out potentially harmful compounds.

"The human body has evolved over many years, and it has a very sophisticated [filtering] system through the liver, through the kidneys," Mishori told us.

Instead, the article recommends cutting back on sugar, which was been connected to all kinds of health conditions, including diabetes.

So what kind of simple, good-for-you changes should you consider? Mishori offered her top three tips: "Cutting on sugar is always a good idea. Cutting on processed foods is always a good idea. Being better hydrated is always a good idea," she told us.

Diets don't need to be all-or-nothing. When it comes to sugar, the idea is to reduce consumption and be more mindful.

Currently, as we've reported, the typical American consumes about 22 teaspoons a day of sugar, which is about three times more than what's recommended. And the evidence is piling up that this is doing all kinds of damage to our bodies.

That's such a scary amount of sugar!  But the problem is that sugar is in many processed foods -- even things that don't seem sweet, like crackers -- so by cutting back on processed foods, you'll also be cutting a lot of sugar from your diet.

I highly recommend that before anyone embarks on some miracle, cure-all detox or reset or any other extreme fad diet, that you simply try cutting back on sugar and processed foods -- especially since these foods can have more of an impact on blood sugar than whole foods.

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