It’s Sugar Stupid

Sugar finally appears to be getting the reputation it deserves, as one of the main causes of illness and disease. We are already seeing food producers scurrying to cover their sugar laden tracks. Our intake of sugar had escalated over the years and even more so in the last twenty when it was used to replace the loss of taste when fat was removed from so many food products. What part does it play in heart disease?, well diabetics have a much greater risk of heart disease and the blood sugar/insulin rush relationship to heart disease seems logical. My Achilles heel was certainly sugar in the form of desserts and simple carb’ based foods.

One question that often gets asked is ‘how about fruit?’. Fruit contains a natural sugar in the form of Fructose. Will fruit cause those dangerous sugar spikes within the blood stream and hence damage to the endothelial wall of our arteries ?. I had read one blogger state that after eating 15 bananas he found no great change in blood sugar levels. Finding this a little hard to believe I decided to try and find out for myself, especially as I have always been a big consumer of fruit.

Testing blood sugar levels is normally done in the morning after at least 12 hours of fasting. Normal levels of blood sugar at this time of day are reported to be 70 mg/dl to 100 mg/dl. Dr Houston author of ‘What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Heart Disease” feels this range is too high and the upper limit should be 80 mg/dl.

Testing my levels at this time of day and then once again after eating 2 bananas, one apple and a strawberry seemed a sensible way to check the effect an average fruit salad would have on blood glucose levels. Fasting blood levels are not however the best test for potential diabetes or heart disease problems. A better test is to take your blood levels before a main meal and then one hour, two hours and three hours after the meal. The one hour reading should ideally be below 140 mg/dl whilst the three hour reading should have returned back to a baseline reading. This is not only a much better indicator of potential future illness but also allows you to test whether what you are eating is causing dangerously high sugar spikes.

My fasting blood readings on the day I tested was 76 mg/dl. After the fruit cocktail and half an hour wait my reading had jumped to 98 mg/dl. My next question was how would this compare with a non fruit, first morning meal?. I checked again the next day this time with a simple bowl of porridge oats, soya milk and half a chopped apple. My pre and post readings came out at 69 mg/dl and 91 mg/dl. This is a similar jump to the fruit breakfast and suggests that at least in my case, fruit is not a particularly high sugar spike. Having said that i do not think I would want to become a fruitarian as a friend of my yoga teacher has.

My results for the after meal test were quite pleasing and perhaps backs up the idea that what you eat has a great impact on blood readings. After a lunch of curried chicken, brown rice, broccoli and carrots I was hoping for a reading some were below 140 mg/dl but certainly expecting something above the fruit reading. My post meal reading came in at 92 mg/dl. The worrying brown rice clearly is a big improvement on white rice which is seen as a sugar spiking food.

There is an excellent account of blood sugar and how to interpret it at the following web blog.

While I am suggesting Dr Kressler there is also this link which spells out the the things we really need to know about Cholesterol other than the simple figures given to you in a NHS blood test. Incidently I have asked 2 doctors and 2 Cardio’s about particle size LDL test’s and not one of them had a clue what I was talking about.

I would also suggest listening to this now well visited seminar on the ills of sugar.

I would strongly suggest cutting out refined sugar and lowering your simple carb’s as a way of getting your blood sugar readings in some sort of healthy order. Big thanks by the way to the girls at my local Pharmacy here in Tavira Portugal for all their help.


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