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McDowell Podiatry
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Misconceptions about Sugar, Carbohydrates, and Your Diet

"In my opinion, sugar is the main cause for diabetic neuropathy. It seems rather obvious, when you say diabetes, because diabetes and sugar are synonymous. But why, and how, and to what extent does sugar cause this problem? Carbohydrates are the basis for this problem. Carbohydrates are sugar. Carbohydrates just means a carbon and a hydrogen and an oxygen. In combination we have complex carbohydrates. That is actually okay to eat, if it’s very complex - like the bark of a tree. But we don’t eat the bark of a tree. We eat simple carbohydrates, sucrose - sugar. They break down so quickly that they go into your blood stream and raise your insulin. Insulin is really the problem. Insulin causes us to get fat - it’s the only molecule, a hormone, that adds fat to our body. If you eat fat, you cannot get fat because you don’t have an insulin response - it’s that simple. But sugar tastes great. That’s why we’re all addicted. It’s a very difficult thing to stop.

We keep using the word carbohydrates, and when we read a label it’ll say 28 grams of carbohydrates. Trust me, that means nothing to most people and most doctors. But what is recognizable with everybody is a teaspoon  of sugar. There’s not one of us here who would eat a teaspoon of sugar, yet if you look at a label and it says 28 grams of carbohydrates, which is easily found in that healthy food called yogurt. That’s 7 teaspoons of sugar. We wouldn’t eat that. When we look at the label and it says sugar, 4 grams, that doesn’t mean a thing. What it really means is that it’s 1 teaspoon of sugar. I prided myself in ‘eating healthy food’, well I sat down with Dr. Jacoby and explained my breakfast which was protein powder, a little fruit, some water, mix it, he said, “You just had 17.5 teaspoons of sugar in a protein drink.”

Let me explain an easy way to do that, because reading labels is confusing. Why is it confusing? Because it’s meant to be confusing. Otherwise you wouldn’t buy it. We all like to rationalize whatever we do, but here’s the way to do it. Look at the label. If it says 26 grams of carbohydrates, divide by 4. 4 into 24 is 6 - that’s how many teaspoons of sugar are in that product. That’s the easy way to do it. What Dr. McDowell just said - would you put 6 teaspoons of sugar in anything? Yogurt has more sugar than a candy bar. In my book I talk about Alzheimer’s, which is, in my opinion, and Dr. Perlmutter, who wrote Grain Brain, we feel that is directly associated with all of the carbohydrates we’re eating and the genetically modified ones are even worse. It’s a very complex problem, it’s destroying the American healthcare system, and it’s destroying our tax base as well. We’re spending all this money chasing an addiction. We need to change our diet and we need to intervene on this disease process of diabetic neuropathy. We have the new modalities, we have the early detection system, and I implore whoever is watching this - get early treatment and intervention. I guarantee you - you’re addicted to sugar and you don’t know it.

For further information, please go to my website, mcdowellpodiatry.com. Particularly the newsletters - I write a column about sugar neuropathy in each one of those newsletters. I encourage you to get on our list - just send us your e-mail address and we’d be happy to make sure you get a copy of that every month. If you have further questions about your neuropathy, please contact our office in Carmichael, California."

Dr. Brian McDowell
Dr. Brian McDowell, board-certified podiatrist, provides cutting-edge foot and ankle care in Carmichael, CA.