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Is Sugar the New Smoking?

As more and more people listen to warnings about the dangers of smoking, cigarette usage has severely declined — only to be replaced by a new lethal addiction called sugar, according to The Daily Beast.

Sugar is a health danger that comes in many forms beyond the raw cane or beets — or corn — from which it comes. Hidden in processed foods as well as obvious in junk foods such as sodas, cookies and candies, sugar is the new health enemy worldwide. The U.S. spends more than $1 trillion each year fighting the damaging health effects of sugar, which includes obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

One of the key mechanisms by which sugar promotes cancer and other chronic disease is through mitochondrial dysfunction. Since sugar is not our ideal fuel, it burns dirty with far more reactive oxygen species than fat, which generates far more free radicals, which in turn causes mitochondrial and nuclear DNA damage along with cell membrane and protein impairment. This can cause leptin dysfunction and insulin resistance which, in turn, is at the heart of most chronic diseases.

If you’re making an effort to reduce sugar in your life, begin by swearing off all processed foods and vowing to eat only whole, organic fresh fruits and vegetables, and meats and dairy that come from grass-fed, free-ranging, organically-raised animals.

Intermittent fasting, a type of scheduled eating plan where you adjust your normal daily eating period to an hours-long window of time without cutting calories, can also help (as well as other forms of calorie restriction) reverse insulin resistance.