SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -

You may have heard the phrase, "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down," but could it be sugar that's creating our health problems to begin with? With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicting one in three people will have diabetes by 2050, it's something we all need to pay attention to.

The average American diet includes more than 30 teaspoons of sugar a day when it should only include six for women and nine for men. It’s a big reason Rocco LoBosco believes he got type 2 diabetes.

"I was a cookie freak," LoBosco said.

A recent Stanford University study found the more sugar in a population’s food supply, the higher the rate of diabetes, independent of obesity rates.

"We don’t need to have this level of disease," said Dr. Richard Jacoby, medical director, Scottsdale Neuropathy Institute.

Jacoby knows what too much sugar can do. His patients, like LoBosco, face amputation because of out-of-control type 2 diabetes.

LoBosco lost his toe, and sugar's impact doesn’t stop there.

"Sugar is considered the number one culprit in cancer disease, as well as diabetic neuropathy, cardiac and stroke," Jacoby said.

The silent killer comes camouflaged in other foods as well.

"Wheat, bread, any grain is sugar," Jacoby said.

Those foods trigger an insulin response in the body, leading to weight gain.

“Six to eleven helpings of grains a day, that's absurd. That's why we are all diabetic," Jacoby said.

Instead, Jacoby recommends a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and oils, grass-fed meat and vegetables.

"If it tastes good, don’t eat it, and that means it has sugar in it. If you do that, you will lose weight and your diabetes will go away," Jacoby said.

LoBosco has lost 34 pounds since starting the diet and has his blood sugar under control.

"It’s a lousy disease, but I have some control over it," LoBosco said.

In another new study on sugar, mice were fed a diet with 25 percent added sugar, a level currently considered safe in humans. Researchers found that female mice died at twice the normal rate and male mice were less likely to reproduce.

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