Many of us in the West grew up believing that the most that could come from eating too much sugar was tooth decay and that sugar and high fructose corn syrup (H.F.C.S.) because they lack any protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants or fiber, they are “empty calories.” The more you consume the more weight you gained. Hence, the solution was simple, consume less. Lustig’s argument, however, is not about empty calories but about the way sugar is metabolizes in the body. He debunks the idea that a calorie is a calorie. He states that although 100 calories may be 100 calories, (isocaloric) the body depending upon the chemical constituency of the calories, will not metabolize it the same (isometabolic), resulting in different effects on the body. The difference is the fructose component of sugar and H.F.C.S. is metabolized primarily by the liver, while the glucose from sugar and starches is metabolized by every cell in the body. Consuming sugar (fructose and glucose) means the liver will be worker harder, and if the sugar is in liquid form — soda or fruit juices — the fructose and glucose will hit the liver quicker. The speed with which the liver has to do its work will also affect how it metabolizes the fructose and glucose. The liver will convert much of this sugar into fat, which will ultimately induce a condition known as insulin resistance, which is now considered the fundamental problem in obesity, and the underlying defect in heart disease and in the type of diabetes, type 2, that is common to obese and overweight individuals. It might also be the underlying defect in many cancers. Overconsumption of sugar doesn't seem so innocent or benign anymore. Boy, were we lied to!
Afrikan American children and teens in the United States are almost twice as likely as their white peers to consume more than 500 calories a day of sugary beverages, according to a study that covered tens of thousands of people. Afrikan American children, the study found, are more than twice as likely as whites on any given day to consume fruit drinks containing little actual fruit. Fruit juices, for example, range from 100 percent actual fruit juice to those with as little as 10 percent fruit juice and plenty of added sugars. In terms of obesity, Afrikan American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. About four out of five Afrikan American women are overweight or obese. In 2010, Afrikan Americans were 1.4 times as likely to be obese as Non- Hispanic whites.They were also 70% more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white women, and Afrikan American girls were 80% more likely to be overweight than non-Hispanic white girls.
When it comes to diabetes, African Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with it than non-Hispanic whites. In addition, they are more likely to suffer complications from diabetes, such as end-stage renal disease and lower extremity amputations. Although African Americans have the same or lower rate of high cholesterol as their non-Hispanic white counterparts, they are more likely to have high blood pressure. In 2008, Afrikan American men were 2.7 times as likely to start treatment for end-stage renal disease related to diabetes, as compared to non-Hispanic white men. The data also shows that diabetic Afrikan Americans were 1.7 times as likely as diabetic whites to be hospitalized, and they were 2.2 times as likely to die from diabetes.
Concerning cancer, African Americans have the highest mortality rate of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers. Death rates for all major causes of death are higher for African Americans than for whites, contributing in part to a lower life expectancy for both African American men and African American women. African American men were 1.4 times and 1.5 times, respectively, more likely to have new cases of lung and prostate cancer; twice as likely to have new cases of stomach cancer; had lower cancer survival rates for lung, colon and pancreatic cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white men. (Sometimes surviving 5-years less than their racial counterparts.) African American men also are 2.4 times as likely to die from prostate cancer. African American women were 10% less likely to have been diagnosed with breast cancer, however, they were almost 40% more likely to die from breast cancer; 2.2 times as likely to have been diagnosed with stomach cancer, and they are 2.4 times as likely to die from stomach cancer, as compared to non-Hispanic white women.
In American society, sugar overconsumption is having a devastating impact on the health of everyone. But its impact hurts Afrikan American more. What has to be done? Rid ourselves of the Western diet. We have to un-Westernized our diets as we do the same for our minds, our worldview. A new study suggests the more Western your diet is — meaning heavy on meat, starch and sugar — the higher your risk for cancer and other diseases of the Western world. The study followed older Asian women who had been placed on two separate diets: traditional cuisine rich in vegetables and fish and a Westernized diet heavy on red meat and sugar. Women who adopted the Western diet had higher rates of breast cancer. Marilyn Tseng, a study researcher at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, stated: "Our study shows a Western-style diet seems to increase [the] risk of cancer in Chinese women, which traditionally is a low-risk population for breast cancer." Breast cancer rates in China are a quarter of those in the U.S. "Adopting a more Western diet increases intake of saturated fat," said Keith Thomas Ayoob, a professor of nutrition at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "It may be squeezing out whole grains and vegetables." This study is the latest evidence that the typical American diet is high risk. Americans can take steps toward improving their health by considering Asian-inspired diets. I would simply say to Afrikan people, we should re-Afrikanize our diet.