Sugared drinks are fattening because the human brain
does not recognize liquid sugar as calories to make you eat less
food. We get our sugar in drinks in three forms: glucose, fructose
and sucrose (glucose and fructose bound together in a single
Now a report from the University of California Davis
shows that taking in too much fructose increases your risk for
diabetes and heart attacks (Journal of Clinical Investigation, May
Thirty-two overweight men and women drank 25 percent of
their daily energy requirements in either fructose or glucose-
sweetened drinks. In 12 weeks, both groups gained similar
amounts of weight, but the people taking fructose-sweetened
drinks had higher triglycerides and more abdominal fat, and were
more resistant to insulin. All three factors precede diabetes
which markedly increases risk for heart attacks.
The subjects were fed drinks that contained only glucose
or fructose, so this study will not help you make good beverage
choices. Virtually all sweetened beverages contain both fructose
and glucose. Soft drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup
have 55 to 58 percent fructose, while fruit juices and beverages
sweetened with table sugar contain equal parts fructose and
glucose. I recommend the following:
1) Take sugared drinks only when you are exercising or
within a half hour of finishing exercising. All sugar-sweetened
beverages increase risk for insulin resistance (Archives of
Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, April 2009). Contracting muscles
are exquisitely sensitive to insulin and therefore help protect you
from the high rise in blood sugar that causes the liver to make
triglycerides, that block insulin receptors that cause the pancreas
to release huge amounts of insulin that causes fat to be
deposited in the belly.
2) When you are not exercising, quench your thirst with water or non-calorie beverages. Eat whole fruits rather than taking in your sugar in drinks. Fruit with its pulp does not cause as high a rise in blood sugar as do sugared drinks (including fruit juices).
The higher your blood sugar rises, the more sugar sticks to the surface of cells, causing cell damage. An orange satisfies your daily requirement for vitamin C, has 2.8 grams of fiber and 64 calories from 17 grams of sugar.
A practicing physician for more than 40 years and a radio talk show host for 25, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is one of a very few doctors board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology.
Dr. Mirkin's latest book is The Healthy Heart Miracle, published by HarperCollins. His daily short features on fitness have been heard on CBS Radio News stations since the 1970's.
He has written 16 books including The Sportsmedicine Book, the best-selling book on the subject that has been translated into many languages. Dr. Mirkin did his residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and over the years he has served as a Teaching Fellow at Johns Hopkins Medical School, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, and Associate Clinical Professor in Pediatrics at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Read more at www.drmirkin.com.
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