Hidden killer: We are consuming 400 per cent more sugar than we did in 1970. *Photo supplied
Hidden killer: We are consuming 400 per cent more sugar than we did in 1970. *Photo supplied

At the weekend I had the pleasure of attending the annual TedX conference held at the Southampton Princess.

It was an afternoon of thought provoking and inspirational talks from the world’s last Ninja to teachers who educate kids through breakdancing. There was a real mix of speakers spreading ideas to Bermuda.

The one person who stood out for me was Professor Robert Lustig, an American pediatric endocrinologist exposing the dangers of sugar to the world. 

His YouTube video titled Sugar: The Bitter Truth is a 90 minute documentary that has reached nearly 4 million hits. 

I wanted to highlight the key points he gave in his talk Sugar — The Elephant in the Kitchen so you too can understand how toxic sugar really is.

Lustig stated how nearly every meal we eat is spiked with sugar. Whether we know it or not. We should only consume no more than nine teaspoons of sugar a day. It may be common knowledge that a 12 ounce can of Coke contains 10 teaspoons of sugar but what will be surprising is that sugar is added to sports bars, cereals, fruit juices, milk and low-fat yoghurts to name a few.

This is where the problem lies. Not enough of us know just how much sugar is added to the food we eat. In fact, we are consuming 400 per cent more sugar than we did in 1970 and now find ourselves in an obesity and diabetes pandemic.

Lustig explained that in the 1970s, the food industry created low-fat foods to solve the growing problem of obesity but this food tasted like cardboard so sugar was added for flavour. All processed food is now high in sugar and low in fibre. Any food with a nutrition label has been processed.

The professor claimed sugar is toxic by the way it is processed in the body. Sugar gets metabolised in the liver and turns to liver fat which has to be exported out. The liver is inefficient at doing this so the fat can stay there causing liver disease. The pancreas has to release extra insulin so the liver can do its job and this raises insulin levels all over the body driving energy into fat.  He added that high insulin levels trigger blood vessels to contract leading to hypertension, heart disease, cancer and dementia. Combine this with the fact that sugar is highly addictive and one in four adults in Bermuda have Type-2 Diabetes, we find ourselves facing a real situation.

Professor Lustig concluded his talk with three simple words that I tell my clients all the time.

‘Eat real food.’ 

cayliffe@courthouse.bm

Colin Ayliffe is a certified Personal Trainer and Holistic Lifestyle Coach with over 10 years experience in training clients. Colin is Head Trainer at Court House Squash and Wellness in Hamilton. He graduated from the University of Surrey with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Science and is also a CHEK Practitioner, Golf Biomechanic and accredited by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.