Hi, I am not an expert on these issues, but here is what I know from my reading so far. Fructose, a component of sugar, is becoming a target as a health risk because it is thought to raise insulin levels and hence increase risk of obesity and diabetes. (Fructose is often found as an additive in processed foods that claim to be “sugar free” or “natural” - just read the labels carefully). However, the fructose in fruit is absorbed a bit more slowly because of the fiber content of fruit, and is considered less harmful overall than eating pure fructose.
Table sugar is a highly refined product, with no nutritional value whatsoever apart from providing energy. The “empty calories” mean that there is a case of undernourished but overweight people who eat lots of sugar.
Sugar is a high glycemic index food, meaning that it is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, triggering release of insulin to lower the blood sugar level. This then results in a sugar “slump” and hence the craving for more sugar in a couple of hours. Over time, this pattern results in an extremely common condition called insulin resistance, where muscles become insensitive to the signals that insulin is sending out, and hence are much less effective in “drinking up sugar” from the bloodstream. Ultimately this can lead to diabetes, and all its complications (heart disease, blindness, strokes, kidney failure etc). Sugar in the bloodstream is toxic in that it sticks to blood vessels and causes damage to them - leading to the complications I just described.
I think cutting out sugar and fructose is a reasonable dietary change, providing you are not compensating by using artificial sweeteners, and are ensuring that you are having plenty of unprocessed foods with a balance of complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Cutting out sugar is only one part of a healthy diet. Also, do continue beyond 8 weeks - your body will thank you for it. And lastly, don't be too dogmatic about it. Sugar continues to be a big part of our Western diet, and the occasional indulgence will not harm you if the other 90% of your diet is healthy - and indeed, it may help keep you “on the wagon”.
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