Researchers say sugar is not so sweet

Researchers say sugar is not so sweet

Amarillo, TX - For many of us, sugar may be a bigger part of our diet than we may realize and health problems are piling up. Some researchers are saying it can be toxic to our health and there are some red flags to look out for.

"It sure gets your attention," Texas Tech physician, Dr. James Walker, said. "I'm not sure I really buy into the idea of sugar being a toxin. However, in moderate amounts being okay... However, in high amounts of glucose, if people drink a whole lot of sugar, then yes it does because dangerous, bad for you, toxic, that's a fine term to use at such a high concentration."

It is everywhere... in our frozen food and soda, even snacks that promote healthiness. Americans now consume more than 100 pounds of sugar a year and doctors are seeing more health problems.

"Me, locally, yes I've seen more," Walker said. "Has our nation seen more diabetes? Yes. What seems to happen to a lot of people is they're 20 and they're heavy and they eat more and they eat more and then they develop diabetes and then they develop heart disease and then they have high blood pressure and it's hard to lose the weight."

It is a problem that is not going away in Texas.

"The average person in Texas is not normal weight," Walker said. "The average person is either overweight or obese. That's scary."

One way to monitor your intake is by paying more attention to food labels than food branding.

"If sugar is anywhere in that ingredient listing than be careful," Tim Cunningham, with Eat Rite, said, "...because bread has sugar in it, I mean, everything has sugar added to it."

There are substitutes that do help make up in taste but not health risks.

"There are good natural substitutes like Stevia and Xylitol," Cunningham said. "... that are sweet like sugar but don't have any of the side effects of your artificial sweeteners."

Local doctors say it is all about two P's, prevention and portions, and catching it early in its tracks.

"Tell them, hey, change what you're eating, change things," Walker said. "You can have a different life, you can have a better life, a longer life with less pain, fewer heart attacks... if you'll change you're diet."