This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

December 12, 2018

Avoid Sugar and Live Longer

There's nothing new about the fact that refined sugar is bad for you---no matter how old you are. Unfortunately, we now know that there is something new that is troubling about eating sugar.

The sad truth for those of us who love sugar---almost everybody
Sadly, we now know that added sugars, often refined, have a profound negative effect on adults over 60; it causes them to be frailer. Frailty is defined as having three out of five of these aging criteria: unintentional weight loss, exhaustion, low physical activity, slow walking, and weak grip strength. And the scary consequences of frailty are an increased susceptibility to falls and disability, plus an earlier death.

The startling results
A new study divided participants into three groups, based on their intake of sugars. Three years later, those participants who consumed at least 36 grams of sugar per day (about the amount in one 12-ounce can of soda) had more than double the risk of becoming frail over the follow-up period, compared to those who consumed less than 15 grams per day. After adjusting the results for physical activity, the risk was still elevated by more than twice as much in the high-sugar group.

Sugar's impact on muscle mass
Other research found that as we age, high-sugar intake may reduce the body's ability to maintain muscle mass. Moreover, the study found that sugars in processed foods were the biggest culprits. Why? Because added sugar is often buried in processed foods---including tomato sauces, fruited yogurt, ketchup, and granola bars---products we do not typically think about as having added sugar.

Fortunately, there is a solution
Though it won't satisfy your craving for chocolate cake, there is a solution: you can enjoy naturally occurring sugars---those found in fruits and vegetables---without feeling guilty. Those sugars were not associated with an increase in frailty risk. Try adding naturally sweet fruits and vegetables, like carrots and sweet potatoes to your diet. They provide valuable phytochemicals, including as flavonoids and carotenoids---and fiber, which slows the absorption of their sugars, minimizing their glycemic effect.

What's next?
We have only begun to scratch the surface in our understanding of nutrients, health, and aging. Expect to see more and better data linking our individual genomes with what will support our individual bodies in staying healthy.

Special thanks to Joel Fuhrman, MD, board-certified physician, bestselling author, and creator of the Nutritarian Diet that promotes longevity with a nutrient dense, plant-rich eating style.


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