Sugar Part 1

Want to Know What Causes Disordered Eating, High Cholesterol, Obesity and Anxiety? It’s Sugar!

Sugar is a Neurotoxin, Addictant, and Inflammatory Trigger

Processed sugars and sweeteners are inflammatory triggers that contribute to:

Vascular Disease
Autoimmune Disorders such as asthma, MS, and fibromyalgia
Premature aging
Food addictions
Eating disorders

The U.S. diet is laced with sugar. For most people, processed sugar and sweeteners cycle continuously through the blood where they affect nerves, organs, connective tissues, joints, and muscles. The more processed the sugar is, the higher it raises blood sugar levels. The higher the blood sugar levels, the more damage there is to organs and systems.

The latest research shows that sugars excite the same receptors in the brain that are activated by cocaine, heroine, and other major drugs of abuse and further that the sugar is more addicting.

Two hundred years ago, the average American ate 1-2 pounds of sugar a year, or ½ to 1 teaspoon of sugar per day. Today, the average American consumes over 100 pounds of sugar in one year. Other estimates suggest an average of the equivalent of 42.5 teaspoons or 170 grams of sugar per day.

There are 12 teaspoons of sugar in a soft drink. If you tried to eat 12 teaspoons of sugar, it would be difficult to do and you would likely feel nauseous. Yet many people drink 3 or 4 soft drinks per day.

Cereals targeted at children are often more than 50% sugar.

Diets high in processed sugar reduce the production of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). Decreased BDNF increases the likelihood that you will be overweight over time because decreased levels of BDNF negatively affect leptin (the primary hormone that regulates eating behavior) and insulin levels resulting in an increased tendency to overeat and store fat. This ultimately drives the conditions that cause Type 2 diabetes.

Cutting back on dietary sugar is the simplest and most effective way to increase levels of BDNF. There are also several simple lifestyle changes that can be made to increase and maintain healthy brain levels of BDNF besides cutting back on dietary sugar:

The most effective way to increase BDNF levels in the brain is through aerobic exercise. After exercising, levels of BDNF surge. Exercise regularly and BDNF levels remain at a higher level.
BDNF can also be increased through dietary changes involving reduced sugar intake, eating more blueberries, adding curcumin to dishes.
Supplementing with Acetyl-L-Carnitine, omega-3 fatty acids (such as those found in fish oil), pantethine, have all been shown to increase or maintain BDNF levels.[1]

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) = Sugar on Steroids

HFCS is both a food additive and a preservative made from GMO corn that is ground into a fine powder and then broken down further with a fungus and a bacterium. Yum!

It lasts longer than real sugar, tastes sweeter, and most importantly, from the food manufacturer’s perspective, it is cheaper and therefore much more profitable.

Most important of all though, is that it is highly addicting and almost guarantees that the consumer will be more likely to repurchase any product containing it. This gives new meaning to the term consumer loyalty.

The biggest problem with HFCS is that our bodies don’t know how to digest it and it can lead to a fatty liver (see below), Type 2 Diabetes, or obesity.


Glucose is found in most fruits and dairy products, honey and some vegetables.

With Glucose, the liver only has to break down 20 percent of it. Every cell in the body, including the brain, utilizes glucose. Therefore, much of it is “burned up” immediately after we consume it, unless we consume too much of it.

When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than 1 calorie is stored as fat.

Glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which is the hormone that suppresses your appetite. So it does not trigger food cravings or overeating.

Processed Fructose

Processed Fructose interferes with the hormone regulating eating which results in overeating.

Because the body does not know what to do with fructose, it is turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), VLDL (the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, and is stored as fat.

So it is sugar that raises bad cholesterol and triglycerides?? Yep!!

When you eat 120 calories of fructose, 40 calories are being stored as fat. Consuming fructose = storing fat!

Processed fructose has no effect on the hunger hormone ghrelin and interferes with your brain’s communication with leptin, resulting in overeating.

The metabolism of processed fructose by your liver creates a long list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout.

The fatty acids from processed fructose accumulate as fat droplets in the liver and skeletal muscle tissues, causing insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Insulin resistance progresses to metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes and also drives hypertension.

Next week we will look at how HFCS converts to fat, drives cholesterol up and drives profits up for companies who know it’s dangerous! We will also take a look at how you can make your life sweeter and healthier at the same time!

If you battle sugar addiction or just want to learn how to live a healthier lifestyle, we can help! Contact The Norton Center at 513-205-6543 today!

Dr. Renae Norton

[1] Sources:

Product Feature – Coconut Brown Sugar

1:1 replacement for brown sugar that is REAL food! Coconut sugar has the lowest glycemic load of any other sugar on the market, which means it doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels as much or impact insulin levels reducing the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. 

Serious about kicking sugar?

We can help guide you through the process of testing (such as glucose levels) analyzing results and making the dietary changes that will ultimately lead to a healthier (and happier) you! Call Dr. Renae today at 513-205-6543 to get started!