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Sugar's Connection to Obesity and Heart Disease
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Interviewer: Talk about how bad sugar is.
Dr. Jonny Bowden: We put a whole chapter in the book "The Great Cholesterol Myth" on sugar because we think that is really kind of the demon. As I said earlier, that was one of the competing theories about heart disease. Sugar correlates very well with heart disease; high sugar intake. It's very inflammatory. There was a study we talk about in the book, which I call the corn flake study, where they gave different breakfast to people. One of which was corn flakes; the placebo one was water, and there was a high-fiber one. Then, they did a measurement on the brachial artery. It's a measurement that measures constriction, and generally used as kind of an indicator of the health of yours. After the corn flakes breakfast that measurement is very negative, so we know for a fact that sugar is inflammatory. Sugar also increases this hormone insulin that we just talked about and insulin can be very inflammatory. High levels of insulin and sugar can create, down the road, metabolic byproducts called advanced glycation end products. They're known as AGEs for a very good reason because they age the body like crazy. Those little things get caught. That creates more oxidation and inflammation. The high sugar diet, in my opinion, leads to, in many susceptible people, overweight and obesity. What we now know about obesity is the relationship between heart disease and obesity is very simple. Fat cells don't just sit on your hips and thighs and inside your organs and sit there and annoy you. They are actually endocrine glands and they secrete chemicals. The things they secrete are inflammatory cytocons. So you have this little army of fat cells "machine gunning" out all of these inflammatory compounds, increasing inflammation, and it's a heart disease nightmare waiting to happen. The connection between sugar via insulin, via obesity, via inflammation is very, very clear and, as far as I'm concerned, that case has been tried and found guilty.