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Why Sugar Can Shorten or Lengthen Your Life

      A high rise in blood sugar can damage every cell in your body.
When blood sugar levels rise too high, sugar can stick to the
surface of cell membranes.  Once stuck there, it can never get off. 
In a series of chemical reactions, glucose (the only sugar that
circulates in your bloodstream) is converted to another sugar
called fructose and eventually to a sugar alcohol called sorbitol
that destroys the cell to cause every know side effect of diabetes:
blindness, deafness, heart attacks, strokes, kidney damage and
so forth.
      When you eat, sugar can go into:
* your muscles, to make you a better athlete and prolong your life,
* your brain, to keep you smart and alert, or 
* your liver to store sugar for future use.  Sending too much sugar
to your liver can make you fat, increase your risk for a heart
attack and shorten your life.
      At rest, your brain requires more sugar than the rest of your
body combined.  Ninety-eight percent of the energy to fuel your
brain comes from sugar, so your brain has to have sugar available
all the time.  A constant supply of blood sugar to your brain helps
keep you smart and alert.  If your blood sugar level drops too low,
you pass out, so your liver always tries to protect you from low
blood sugar levels
.  When blood sugar starts to drop too low, your
liver works to save your brain by releasing stored sugar from
its cells into your bloodstream.  If not enough sugar is
available, the liver converts protein into sugar to keep your
brain supplied.
      Resting muscles are passive and can draw sugar from the
bloodstream only with the help of insulin.  Contracting muscles can
remove sugar directly from the bloodstream without needing
insulin.  Contracting muscles are also extraordinarily sensitive to
insulin, so it takes far less insulin to supply your muscles with
sugar during exercise.  These beneficial effects are maximal during
exercise and for up to an hour afterward and then taper off to
zero about 17 hours after you finish exercising.
      When your muscles are inactive, you should avoid sugar and
all refined carbohydrates.  When your blood sugar rises too high,
all the extra sugar goes to your liver, and that's when you damage
your health.  The high rise in blood sugar causes your pancreas to
release huge amounts of insulin.  This increases risk for a heart
attack because insulin constricts arteries leading to your heart to
block blood flow there.  Insulin converts sugar to triglycerides
and your blood fills with this fat (high triglycerides). High
increase risk for clotting, so your body tries to
protect you by using the good HDL cholesterol to carry
triglycerides from your bloodstream to your liver (low good HDL
).  The increase in triglycerides can cause liver damage
(fatty liver).  Insulin also causes the extra fat to be deposited
into fat cells in your belly (fat belly).  Full belly fat cells
block insulin receptors to make the blood sugar and insulin levels
rise even higher. 
      People who have small buttocks are most likely to deposit fat
in their bellies and are at the highest risk for diabetes and heart
attacks.  If you have a fat belly and small hips, you already have
insulin levels that are high enough to cause severe damage to your
health and are at high risk for diabetes and heart attacks.
      The combination of high blood insulin, triglycerides and
sugar, low good HDL cholesterol and deposition of fat in the belly
is called Metabolic Syndrome which means you are at high risk for
diabetes and heart attacks.  It happened because you eat too much
sugar and refined carbohydrates when you are not exercising.
      On the other hand, taking sugar when you exercise is good for
you.  I'll explain why in next week's eZine.


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