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By Dr. Mercola
According to the 2010 Report by the Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the top 10 sources of calories in the American diet are:
1. Grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies, donuts, pies, crisps, cobblers, and
granola bars) 139 calories a day
2. Yeast breads, 129 calories a day
3. Chicken and chicken-mixed dishes, 121 calories a day
4. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks, 114 calories a day
5. Pizza, 98 calories a day
6. Alcoholic beverages
7. Pasta and pasta dishes
8. Mexican mixed dishes
9. Beef and beef-mixed dishes
10. Dairy desserts
As you can see, on the whole it’s easy to see that the dietary roots of the American weight problem is linked to carbs sugars (primarily fructose) and grains in the form of processed foods and sweet drinks. You’ve often heard me state that soda is the number one source of calories in the US diet, which it was, based on the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The updated NHANES survey above covers nutritional data from 2005-2006, placing grain-based foods in the top two slots.
Still, soda comes in at number four, and I still believe many people, particularly teenagers, probably still get a majority of their calories from fructose-rich drinks like soda.
I strongly recommend ditching all sodas as a first step to clean up your diet and help normalize your insulin levels. I believe it’s one of the most powerful actions you can take to improve your health and lower your risk of disease and long-term chronic health conditions. Especially when you consider that just one can of soda per day can add as much as 15 pounds to your weight over the course of a single year, and increases your risk of diabetes by 85 percent! If you struggle with an addiction to soda and other sweets, I strongly recommend you consider Turbo Tapping. It's a simple and clever use of the Emotional Freedom Technique, designed to resolve many aspects of an issue in a concentrated period of time.
My Recommended Fructose Allowance
As a standard recommendation, I advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. For most people it would also be wise to limit your fructose from fruit to 15 grams or less, as you're virtually guaranteed to consume "hidden" sources of fructose through processed food and condiments.
There certainly are exceptions to this rule. People who are aggressively exercising can consume far more, especially if consuming the calories around the time of exercise, but generally, to optimize health, most will benefit from restricting their fructose input.
Fifteen grams of fructose is not much -- it represents two bananas, one-third cup of raisins, or two Medjool dates. Remember, the average 12-ounce can of soda contains 40 grams of sugar, at least half of which is fructose, so one can of soda alone would exceed your daily allotment. If your insulin and leptin signaling is fine and you have normal body weight and don’t suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, then consuming more fruit is reasonable.
In his book, The Sugar Fix, Dr. Richard Johnson includes detailed tables showing the content of fructose in different foods -- an information base that isn't readily available when you're trying to find out exactly how much fructose is in various foods. You can also find an abbreviated listing of the fructose content of common fruits in this previous article.
Key Point: Replace Carbs with Healthful Fats!
Keep in mind that when we're talking about harmful carbs, we're only referring to grains and sugars, NOT vegetable carbs. When you cut grain/sugar carbs, you then need to radically increase:
The amount of vegetables you eat since, by volume, the grains you need to trade out are denser than vegetables, and
Healthful fats such as avocados, coconut oil, organic pastured egg yolks, raw grass fed organic butter, olives, and nuts such as almonds and pecans.
Avoid highly processed and genetically engineered omega-6 oils like corn, canola and soy as they will upset your omega-6/3 ratio. Of course you want to avoid all trans fats, but contrary to popular advice, saturated fats are a key component of a healthy diet that will promote weight loss.
A reasonable goal will be to have as much as 50-70 percent of your diet as healthy fat, which will radically reduce your carbohydrate intake. It can be helpful to remember that fat is far more satiating than carbs, so if you have cut down on carbs and feel ravenous, this is a sign that you have not replaced them with sufficient amounts of healthy fat.
Most people will likely notice massive improvement in their health by following this approach as they are presently consuming FAR more grain and bean carbohydrates in their diet, and any reduction will be a step in the right direction. To help you get started on the right track, review my Nutritional Plan, which guides you through these dietary changes one step at a time.
You Can Avoid Becoming a Statistic
Perhaps one of the most powerful scientific discoveries to emerge in the past several years is that the old adage a calorie is a calorie is patently false. Furthermore, the idea that in order to lose weight all you have to do is expend more calories than you consume is equally false. The research clearly demonstrates that even if you control the number of calories you eat, if those calories come from fructose, you are at increased risk of obesity and pre-diabetes, which includes insulin and leptin resistance, fatty liver, high blood pressure and high triglycerides.
Conventional advice tells us that obesity is simply the result of eating too many calories and not exercising enough. However, Dr. Johnson’s research, discussed above, shows that a high fructose diet is one of the keys to trapping excess fat and developing metabolic disorders, and that as soon as you throw fructose into the mix, calories in versus calories out is no longer a functional equation.
In short, limiting fructose in all its forms, along with other sugars, is imperative in order to avoid flipping the fat switch that can trigger your body to accumulate excess fat. And replacing sugar and grain carbs with vegetables and healthful fats is the key to normalizing your weight, metabolic function, and overall health.
Intermittent fasting is another powerful tool that will help you transition your body from obtaining the majority of its fuel from glucose stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver, to the fat stored in your tissues. This is one of the most effective ways to burn your excess body fat, become lean, and eliminate sugar cravings.
Thank You Dr. Mercola
God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.
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