Why Americans Keep Getting Fatter

The average American eats 142 pounds of sugar a year, or about 2.5 pounds each week.

That's a 23 percent increase over the last 25 years, and it is a major cause of the currently soaring rates of obesity and diabetes.

Dr. David Ludwig, who treats childhood obesity at Boston Children's Hospital, says that one of the problems is the fact that the average convenience store is a nutritional disaster area.

Ludwig says that h
ighly processed carbohydrates and refined sugars are causing hormonal changes that "drive hunger, cause overeating, and increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease."

Sugar in some form is present in nearly every packaged product in a grocery store,
including spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, peanut butter, mayonnaise and ketchup.

CBS News June 17, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

If you haven't read my recent article, Finally Science Confirms the Secret Key to Weight Loss, I would encourage you to do so, as it documents recent studies that support the insulin connection to weight loss and maintaining optimal weight.

Due to deceptive nutritional labels and general lack of knowledge of where the hidden sugars are, Americans are eating far more sugar than they know. When searching for sugar, you must also keep a vigilant eye out for high fructose corn syrup and those dangerous artificial sweeteners. These are included in a wide variety of foods that you might not normally suspect.

When consumed in the massive quantities,
sugars cause hormonal changes that lead to overeating. And don't forget, carbohydrates found in processed foods, such as white bread and rice, break down to glucose and affect your body in the same way as refined sugar does.

Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates or sugars generates a rapid rise in blood glucose. To adjust for this rise, your pancreas secretes the hormone insulin into your bloodstream, which lowers your glucose (sugar) level. Insulin is, though, essentially a storage hormone, which is used to store the excess calories from carbohydrates in the form of fat.

Insulin, stimulated by the excess carbohydrates in overabundant consumption of grains, starches and sweets, is responsible for all those bulging stomachs and fat rolls in thighs and chins.

Even worse, high insulin levels suppress two other important hormones -- glucagons and growth hormones -- that are responsible for burning fat and sugar and promoting muscle development, respectively. So insulin from excess carbohydrates promotes fat, and then wards off the body's ability to lose that fat.

Excess weight and obesity lead to heart disease and a wide variety of other diseases. But the ill effects of grains and sugars does not end there. They suppress the immune system, contributing to allergies, and they are responsible for a host of digestive disorders. They contribute to depression, and their excess consumption is, in fact, associated with many of the chronic diseases in our nation, such as cancer and diabetes.

If you're still not convinced that life can be twice as sweet without sugar, take a look at these 76 ways sugar can ruin your health.

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