Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to the Dr. Gundry podcast. The weekly podcast where Dr. G gives you the tools you need to boost your health and live your healthiest life.
Dr. Gundry (00:14):
Well, welcome to the Dr. Gundry podcast. You’ve heard me say it before but it bears repeating, sugar is one of the worst things for your health yet it’s hiding in almost all the foods we regularly consume. In fact, the average American eats about 153 pounds, pounds of sugar every year whether they know it or not. For reference that’s about the size of a baby giraffe. That’s a lot of sugar.
Sadly, our health is paying the price, but the good news is there is something you can do about it. In just a moment. I’m going to get, share some of my best tips for kicking a sugar addiction, no matter how severe. I’ll also expose the other health enemy when it comes to sweeteners and what to use instead. So don’t go away. With the information I’m about to share you can truly have your cake and eat it too.
Speaker 3 (01:17):
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Dr. Gundry (05:03):
Welcome back. All right, let’s talk about the problem with sugar. Let’s start with the basics. What is sugar? Well, sugar is a we think of it as a carbohydrate, a sugar molecule, glucose is a sugar molecule, lactose and milk is a sugar molecule, fructose is a sugar molecule, but most of us when we think of sugar are actually talking about sucrose. Table sugar. Sucrose is half glucose and half fructose.
Now, many people now dread high fructose corn syrup. In fact, most high fructose corn syrup is about 45% glucose and 55% fructose. But plain old table sugar is 50:50 fructose and glucose. Now there’s a lot of misconceptions, about oh fructose is good. It doesn’t work the same way glucose does. If you’ve read The Energy Paradox or for that matter, if you’ve read any any of my books, you know that fructose maybe actually more mischievous than glucose in terms of causing fatty liver, in terms of causing elevated cholesterol and we’ll get to that in a minute.
But the point is sugar, is sugar, is sugar. Now, most people have pretty much made the connection between sugar consumption, drinking sugary drinks and obesity. But what most people still haven’t figured out is the effect sugar has on your gut microbiome. The gut microbiome, part of it loves sugar but unfortunately it’s actually the bad bacteria in your gut. And the bad bacteria in your gut and certainly other fungal species like candida thrive on sugar.
On the other hand, the other good bacteria in your gut really don’t do well with simple sugars. Instead, they like complex sugar molecules. Fiber. And that’s bunches of sugar molecules all joined together that are very hard for us to break apart, but are very easy for these gut bacteria to ferment. Now, candida which I mentioned before, thrives in a sugar environment. And you may remember that I recently did a science experiment to show you how that works.
You can actually find it here on my YouTube channel. And we actually fed sugar to yeast, candida, and you can watch what happens. And it’s great must see television, if I do say so myself. You may remember that Hypocrites and I say all disease in the gut, begins in the gut. And you begin to realize just how serious this can be by adding that much sugar into your gut. Now I’ve written about this before and I’ve actually written an editorial for thrive.com looking, at the effect of world war II rationing.
Many of you are aware that during world war II, the United States and many other countries, rationed sugar and flour during the war to support our troops and during the war with sugar and flour rat rationing, diabetes plummeted around the world, in the United States, in England, in Denmark and heart disease plummeted around the world for five years during world war II, all because sugar and flour was rationed.
And let’s not mince words. Anytime you grind up into a fine powder like wheat, you actually produce sugar molecules that are more quickly absorbed than table sugar. In fact, most of you know that white bread has a glycemic index of 100 whereas sucrose table sugar has a lower glycemic index than white bread. And when my patients tell me they don’t eat sugar, but they’re having bread, I reassure them that there are four teaspoons of sugar in each slice of bread.
And so when you’re are having a sandwich, you’re inadvertently having eight teaspoons of sugar, even though it’s not appearing on the label and we’ll get to reading labels in just a second. Sugar also takes a huge toll on your immune system and most of us don’t know of a very famous study done by Linus Pauling in the 1950s, that shows that any sugar consumption, including drinking a glass of orange juice, suppresses your white blood cell function, their ability to eat bacteria and viruses by 70% for up to six hours after you had that healthy orange juice with its vitamin C, or you had that piece of bread, or you had that pastry, all of were tried in that experiment.
So sugar is, you know what a whammy, now don’t even get me started on the effect of heart health. Over and over again, we are told about the dangers of saturated fats and of cholesterol, but in fact most cholesterol is manufactured in our body and most cholesterol, most elevated cholesterol’s in my practice come people’s sugar consumption. Sugar is converted into the first form of fat, which is triglycerides. Triglycerides in turn are carried by cholesterol. So the more sugar you eat, the more triglycerides you make and the more triglycerides you make, the higher your cholesterol goes.
And there are many, many, many studies showing that it’s your triglyceride level that has the biggest impact on you and your heart in terms of developing coronary artery disease. And that’s why anyone in my office knows I’m a really mean person and I want their triglycerides to be 40 to 50. And the national standard says that 150 is absolutely normal. And I can tell you that national standard was put there, because if you have a triglycerides of 150, I guarantee you that I will have to put you on a statin drug to lower your cholesterol.
So it’s kind of, oh a triglyceride level of 150 is normal, I guess I need statin drugs because my cholesterol is so high. And imagine my patient’s shock when we lower their triglycerides by removing their fruits and sugars and other sources of sugar from their diet, that their cholesterol plummets just by getting rid of the sugar in their diet. Now as anyone knows, I’m a I guess a recovered sugarholic, maybe you never recover, but the effect sugar as an addictive substance is incredibly well known and well studied.
We know that studies on rats, rats will choose sugar, over both heroin and cocaine, if they get the opportunity to press a lever. And they will always go for the sugar hit instead of heroin and cocaine. And think about that for a little while. Okay. So getting off of sugar is pretty dog on hard. One of the reasons it’s so hard is because our tongue is two thirds of the surface is sugar receptors. They’re actually sweet receptors, not sugar receptors. So they’re looking of for sweetness. Why? Because quite frankly, we evolved from great apes, great apes only gained weight during fruit season and fruit season only occurred once a year, usually in the late summer and early fall.
And even in the jungle, fruit does not ripen year round. There are always dry seasons or rainy seasons or cold seasons when fruit isn’t produced. So great apes only gain weight during fruit season. So it would be advantageous for us to have sweet receptors on our tongue, to make us literally want to eat sweet things that had sugar content and that sugar content by the way was fructose. And we recently had a podcast guest who wears a continuous glucose monitor and has recently been shocked with how healthy fruit, spikes his blood sugar.
And I see this all the time in my patients. I see it all the time in their blood work and triglycerides and fruit is just another form of sugar that will spike your blood sugar. I guarantee you. Okay, so we got to get rid of sugar, but sugar is hiding everywhere. So you got to look at labels and there are lots of sugar disguises. Things like brown rice syrup, glucose, fructose agave. These are all other words for sugar. Now there’s an even more important trick for decoding food labels. And as you remember, the food labels were manipulated to hide the sugar content. And this was done at the behest of big agriculture. So most people, including most of my patients, look at the back of a package and they look at grams of sugar.
And quite frankly, they’re often quite low on a lot of the products that I tell people are safe. But you have to actually look at first of all, serving size. Secondly, you have to look at total carbohydrates. Total carbohydrates tells you how much sugar is in that portion. Now you take away the fiber, which is the next line right below that. And so you take total carbohydrates minus the fiber and that will actually tell you how many grams of sugar are in that serving size. Now for fun, there’s four grams of carbohydrate in a teaspoon of sugar. So take whatever number you arrive at, total carbohydrates minus fiber, and then divide it by four. And that’ll tell you how many teaspoons of sugar is in that product.
And when you do that, you will be shocked with where the sugar is coming from. And when I sit down with my patients and we go through their meals and what they’re eating, we always find the source of the sugars they’re eating. And many of them are apoplectic because it doesn’t taste sweet and they were looking at that sugar on the label, not total carbohydrates. And once we show them that and once they change and get that out of their diet, not only does their triglycerides plummet, their insulin levels plummet, their pre-diabetes or diabetes goes away and bonus their cholesterol numbers plummet. And the good cholesterol goes up. It’s win, win, win.
Speaker 3 (19:20):
If I said to you, I’ve got an amazing healthy recipe. It’s delicious and simple. You might ask me what’s the catch? No catch I say. Just start with two cups of casaba root flower and allulose. And that might be where I lose you. In the past it’s been difficult to find lectin-free ingredients at your grocery store. Well, that’s a changer thanks to our sponsor Thrive Market. I’m a big fan of Thrive Market, it gives me great assurance knowing that when I need coconut flour while I’m visiting Seneca, Kansas, Thrive Market is there for me.
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Dr. Gundry (23:01):
All right, I’m going to say it again. I said it in my first book, I say it in every book, please give fruit the boot. Fruit has been hybridized, genetically modified to have more and more and more sugar content and to be bigger and bigger than ever before. And I’ve said this ad nauseam. The other problem we have is we now have fruit available 365 days a year. Your genetic engineering could not imagine that a 747 can bring blueberries to Costco in January from Chile. There are no blueberries in January. They are in Chile. But you don’t live in Chile. So what in the ding dong are you eating blueberries in January?
And now they’re the size of grapes and they’ve been bred for sugar content. As I go into in the upcoming book, unlock the keto code. If you got to have your berries and you want the benefits of the polyphenols in fruit, then do what I do and do reverse juicing. What’s that? You get your juicer. I know you got one. It’s sitting in the cupboard someplace. Buy your fruit, please buy organic, put it in the juicer, throw away the juice and then take the pulp which has the fiber and the polyphenols and mix it in your plain coconut and yogurt, or mix it in your plain goat yogurt, or mix it in your plain sheep yogurt or get a silicone ice cube tray. Throw it in there, freeze it, pop a couple out and put it in your smoothie. Reverse juicing. And please, please, please throw the juice away or give it to your worst enemy because it’s pure sugar.
Best advice I give any patient. Retreat from sweet. If it’s sweet, stay away from it. But the important thing is in so many of our foods, the sweetness is hidden. You don’t taste the sweet but the sugar’s still there. So read the label. Okay, let’s talk about artificial sweeteners. Now I realize that giving up that sweet taste is incredibly difficult. After all we’re wired to find a sweet taste and sometimes it’s impossible not to be able to satisfy a sweet tooth.
So, that’s where sugar alternatives come in, and a key point of sticking to a diet that you can live with literally and figuratively, is to getting the right sweeteners that aren’t going to do you in. But it’s not quite as simple as it sounds. For years, we’ve had sugar alternatives that have been literally deadly to us. Things like artificial sweeteners like saccharin, aspartame, surculose, which are particularly poisoned.
In fact, some of you know them as Sweet’N’Low, Equal and Splenda. We know from a Duke University study in 2007, one packet of Splenda, surculose, will kill off 50% of your microbiome. One packet. That’s all it took. Part of the problem is it usually kills off your good microbiome. The other problem with non nutritive sweeteners, is your brain does not know the sweet signal from a fake sugar versus real sugar. Your brain when you taste something sweet, assumes you are eating sugar, it doesn’t know any better. And so when sugar doesn’t arrive in your brain, your brain literally says, wait a minute, you’ve been cheated, sugar didn’t come, go back and get some more. And that’s why as you know, I was a diet Coke addict, I drank eight diet Cokes a day because I was always being told by my brain to go find more food.
And I was 70 pounds overweight thanks to the artificial sweeteners. Okay. But what about natural sugars? Those must be better for me right? No. Unfortunately natural sugars are the same. Whether it’s orange juice, coconut sugar, organic sugar, sugar is sugar. Now, if you got to have honey try to have less or about a teaspoon a day. That’s not much. And make it local or Manuka honey, that’ll be okay. Are there sweet alternatives that aren’t going to kill you? Well, let’s get to the good stuff.
There are actually several quite safe sweeteners and there’s a really good one now that’s gone to the top of my list. Two of the safest are allulose and monk fruit. Now both of them offer you that sweet taste without spiking your blood sugar. And they do so while also feeding your gut buddies with prebiotics. In fact, allulose has now been granted a prebiotic fiber designation by the FDA.
For those of you who don’t know allulose, I’ve touted it in The Energy Paradox and it figures prominently in unlocking the keto code my next book. Allulose is a rare sugar. It was first covered in figs but it’s a very rare sugar. So it is a quote natural sugar, but it has no caloric value, but it’s really sweet. The nice thing about allulose is it has fiber. And I’ve found, and I think Kate has found as well, that allulose works really well in baking recipes and also in ice cream recipes. It’s really now my go to sweetener, but please look for non GMO allulose. There’s a lot of allulose being produced. Most allulose is produce from corn. It does not have any corn lectins or corn proteins folks, the look for non GMO. It’s available and I think you’re going to like it.
Now when it comes to monk fruit, the Lacanto brand is really good. And I like that a lot. They also, there are several now chocolates that are sweetened with monk fruit. There are a couple chocolate bars coming out with allulose. They’re a little expensive right now but stay tuned. Another great option is inulin. Now, inulin is the sugar in chicoree. That’s also probably the best prebiotic there is. Just like sugar is a great product. But wherever you see inulin, that’s also a good alternative. And you can buy in inulin in bulk. It does have a sweet flavor. It’s not an overwhelming sweet flavor so you got to use a lot of in inulin if you’re using it purely as a sweetener, but it gives you a great prebiotic fiber at the same time. Now Stevia is a natural non caloric sweetener. It unfortunately has some bitterness that has to be hidden.
My favorite Stevia is Sweet Leaf, which is blended with inulin. But there are a couple papers that suggest even Stevia raises insulin levels. And I can assure you, you don’t want to raise your inulin levels. But please, please, please, particularly if you’re into the keto movement, beware of all these keto bars, because so many of them are sweetened with surculose and it’s often hidden in the list of ingredients. And if you see the word surculose, that’s Splenda folks and that’s the Duke University study that it’s a great way to kill off your microbiome.
Okay. What about the sugar alcohols like erythritol or xylitol? Now the problem with sugar alcohols is that they for many people can cause digestive upset, either in the form of gas and bloating or in the form of diarrhea. It’s very individual. So I don’t have a big problem with these as long as you are tolerant to them. Xylitol originally came from the Birch tree. There’s now lots of other forms of xylitol. Xylitol is interesting because it is an antibacterial for the mouth. So antibacterial may not be as good as its sounds. So again, you just have to be careful with all of these.
Now I’m not a big fan of Yacon syrup, because quite frankly, a number of my patients who are using a lot of Yacon syrup, see their triglycerides kick up. Even I’ve seen a couple become pre diabetic. Now it may not have lectins in it and it may be a form of inulin, but it just doesn’t mean you should go crazy with these. You can find these syrups at Walmart. You can find Sunfood’s Sweet Yacon Syrup on Amazon. But I think now there’s just far better options for you.
Okay. So that’s how to have your cake and eat it too. But just remember when you’re using ground up flowers of any kind as wheat flour replacement and that goes for almond flour, that goes with tapioca flour, be careful that you are substituting one form of hidden sugar for another form of hidden sugar. And it may not taste sweet, but the sugar is still there. Okay. There’s sugar in a nutshell.
Time for our audience question. Allison Callahan says, “Dr. Gundry. I’m not sure if this is just a fad, but I am really interested in what you think of eating insects. I keep seeing cricket based flour and I’ve read that it is a good source of omega three. Any insight you can provide would be greatly appreciated.”
Well, I actually have some cricket flour in my pantry and I’ve used it multiple times in making my microwave muffins as a matter of fact. I’ve also used it in my smoothie. So I’m not a great fan of cricket flour, but quite frankly, it’s an underutilized resource. The other interesting things about crickets particularly, is they are a great source of a lectin-binding sugar molecule called chitosan. And so it’s also in present in shellfish by the way. But most people, if you have a shellfish allergy, you’re not going to react to a cricket flour. I’ve never seen that.
But it is actually a great source of protein and it’s an underutilized resource because quite frankly, crickets will eat anything. And they’re very good at building crickets rapidly, as anyone knows. And so, as we’re trying to you find alternative sources for animal protein, crickets deserve our interests. So great question, Alison. Now it’s time for the review of the week. Olga B, watch my rerun on healthy holiday swaps.
Speaker 3 (36:37):
I want to tell you about my new book, Unlocking the Keto Code. A revolutionary take on the keto diet based on cutting edge science. Now you can reap the rewards of keto without the deprivation. Unlocking the Keto Code puts you in control. Find it at drgundry.com.
Heather Dubrow (37:01):
Hi everyone. It’s Heather Dubrow, telling you to check out Heather Dubrow’s World on Podcast One. Every week we discuss the hippest, hottest news trends in health, wellness, parenting style and so much more, including all things, Housewives and Botched. Download new episodes of Heather Dubrow’s World on Thursdays and Fridays on Podcast One, Apple Podcast, Spotify and Amazon music.
Dr. Gundry (37:29):
She says thank you for another wonderful conversation Dr. G. Kate is very nice and knowledgeable on your lectin subject. I appreciate her confidence and pace when she is talking. Hey, nice work Kate. I’m also on healthy keto, lots of lectin-free veggies, extra virgin olive oil and greens in addition to protein foods and pasture eggs, dairy free. Love your book too. Happy Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to you, family and your guests. Well thank you Olga B. And Kate, thank you too. We love getting new recipes for you guys. We love figuring out hacks to give you the food you love that loves you back. And why do we do that? Because I’m Dr. Gundry and Kate. And we’re always looking out for you. We’ll see you next week.
Speaker 3 (38:32):
Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Dr. Gundry podcast. Before you go. I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcast. And if you want to watch each episode of the Dr. Gundry podcast, you could always find me on YouTube at youtube.com/drgundry. Because I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you.