Let’s cut to the chase and be radical, and let’s be honest.
Sugar wreaks havoc on our health, leading to such serious ailments as obesity,
type 2 diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory dis-eases, candidiasis, and even cancer.
With sugar intake we get the accompanying insulin surge. Think of the number
of sugar hits you get each day (the rea number may shock you) and you end up with
an overly sensitive insulin trigger and chronically elevated insulin levels. And the
adverse effects of too much insulin: Weight gain, especially around the midsection
(visceral fat), elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, increased
deposits of plaque in the arterial walls, immune suppression (ie a reduction in the
effectiveness of the dis-ease and infection fighting immune system) and insulin
resistance (when the cells in the body are resistant to insulin and are unable to use it
There’s a lot of hype at present in the media about sugar; but is it really the latest in a line of foods to be attacked as unacceptable? In this case, no. So if you thought sugar is all about sweetness and light, it is anything but. It has, if you had not already suspected from the above, a dark, sinister and heavy side (heavy being weight!)
What is sugar?
Table sugar isn’t the only baddy when it comes to sugar. Sugar comes by many, including corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice, glucose, maltodextrin, maltose and molasses – and the artificial sweeteners eg Splenda and aspartame.
We eat more sugar now than ever our ancestors did because we eat loads of processed, refined, and takeaway foods; almost all processed foods contain sugar. Processed foods are not good for you. And it takes little extra cost or time to prepare meals and eat natural foods.
While once we believed fatty foods to be the culprit for our expanding waistlines, that is now proven incorrect, and obesity, and many other epidemics have only worsened since food manufacturers, in order to tempt our taste buds and prolong the life of food, began replacing fat with sugar.
Fortunately, the damage caused by sugar can be easily prevented and even reversed. While most diets (and who needs diets) tend to take months to show results, cutting back sugar consumption can show immediate, positive effects on overall health.
How sugar damages
upset the body's mineral balance
suppress the immune system
contribute to a weakened defense against bacterial infection
contribute to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties, and
crankiness in children…and some adults!
raise adrenaline levels in children
contribute to eczema in children
cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children
produce a significant rise in triglycerides - a type of fat found in your blood. Your body needs triglycerides for energy and good health. But high triglycerides might raise your risk of heart disease and may be a sign of metabolic syndrome, the combination of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, too much fat around the waist, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, and high triglycerides. Metabolic syndrome increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
reduce helpful high density cholesterol (HDLs)
promote an elevation of harmful cholesterol (LDLs)
increase total cholesterol
cause kidney damage
increase the risk of coronary heart disease
lead to chromium deficiency
cause copper deficiency
interfere with absorption of calcium and magnesium
It can cause …
an increase in delta, alpha and theta brain waves, which can then alter
the mind's ability to think clearly
free radical formation in the bloodstream
headaches, including migraine
liver cells to divide, increasing the size of the liver
toxemia during pregnancy
The calorie connection
Not all calories are created equally. 100 calories of sugar is not the same as 100 calories of spinach, kale, avocado, salad etc. Unfortunately, this is not what food companies would like you to believe, as they spend millions of dollars on advertising their ‘low-calorie’ food products trying to con you into believing that this means it is a healthy choice. It isn’t.
In fact, recent evidence suggests we shouldn’t even be counting calories; we should be focusing more on the ingredients in our food, and they should be natural foods with good vitamin, mineral, nutrient content.
While sugar may be advertised as “fat free,” this is just not-so-clever marketing, because although sugar itself contains no fat, it becomes stored as fat within the body system, especially if you are ingesting more sugar / carbohydrates than your liver can process at any given time.
We do not need to add sugar to our diet; it may provide taste but it provides absolutely no nutritional value to the body. The naturally occurring sugars in whole, natural foods are the only ones we need. Think of the sweetness in raspberries and other fruits and vegetables.
To avoid added sugars. read ingredient labels diligently. Added sugars come in many disguises, so look out for its various names, including: glucose/fructose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, beet sugar, glucose solids, cane sugar, dehydrated cane juice, dextrin, and maltodextrin, among others. A great way to avoid sugar is to just quit buying processed packaged and tinned foods and opt for whole, fresh foods instead.
That means, more vegetables and some fruit, preferably organic if you can afford it – anything that has been unadulterated.
Remember, sugar is also highly addictive, as addictive as hard drugs. It triggers the same centres of your brain as drugs like cocaine or heroin do.
Sugar and health conditions
Of the over 4 million cancer patients being treated in the U.S. today, and it’s estimated 1.8 million in the UK, almost none are offered any scientifically guided nutrition therapy other than being told to "just eat good foods." That was my family’s experience when my younger sister was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Despite having a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, candidiasis, and now cancer, the grim reaper of a consultant, when we asked (note we were not volunteered the information) about nutrition, simply said, “eat anything and everything.” When we challenged him on the effects sugar would have on her medical state, we were told that didn’t matter. “Just eat anything and everything!”
But non-conventional wisdom now states that many cancer patients would have a major improvement in their heath if they controlled the supply of cancer's preferred fuel: GLUCOSE ie sugar ie not stop it altogether, energy is needed, but reduce it radically. By slowing the cancer's growth, patients make it possible for their immune systems to catch up to the disease. Controlling one's blood-glucose levels through diet, exercise, supplements, and prescription drugs - when necessary - can be one of the most crucial components to a cancer treatment program. Is it any wonder the epidemic is allowed to rage out of control?
Again and again you can read about the link; cancer, as well as most other diseases, thrive in a toxic, acidic, oxygen-deprived environment. Fast food, meat, Genetically Modified Organisms, additives, preservatives, sugar, and sodas all create just such an environment.
If you want to avoid autoimmune disease, cancer, diabetes, increased cholesterol levels, liver dysfunction, obesity, and countless other diseases then stop drinking sodas and eating anything with high fructose corn syrup or high sugar content. This is the easiest and simplest way to begin weight loss and avoid disease.
And remember, brown sugar, cane sugar, sugar crystals are the same bad boys and you should avoid at all costs.
And that includes “sugar-free” versions of your favourites : -
All diet sodas, cokes, Irn-Bru, fizzy drinks etc
Sugar free snacks and desserts
Sugar free ice cream
Sugar free jams and spreads
Sugar free chewing-gum
In fact, anything that says “sugar free” is a no-no; it's guaranteed to contain one or more of Aspartame or Splenda, artificial sweeteners which are also no-no’s!
So - where to begin
Take a radical look at where and when sugar sneaks into your body
Consider the health risks of sugar – is it really worth consuming the amount of sugar you do?
If you have children, what are you storing up for them by feeding them sugar?
Notice the heath conditions you already have which are exacerbated (even caused) by sugar
Commit to healthier eating through cutting out other than natural sugar
Clean out the cupboards of anything that has sugar in it that is not natural or anything labelled “sugar-free!”
Change your shopping habits – avoid sugar, processed, and refined foods as far as possible
Read labels and don’t buy sugar-containing unnatural foods
Change your eating habits – switch to natural, real food!
Get moving - yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Pilates, bar bells (in the gym, not the pub!) - avoid running which increases sugar cravings
Sugar can also
increase fasting levels of blood glucose
contribute to weight gain and obesity
contribute to diabetes
lead to decreased glucose tolerance
cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity
promote tooth decay
lead to periodontal disease
produce an acidic stomach
accelerate the aging process, causing wrinkles and grey hair
contribute to osteoporosis
increase systolic blood pressure
overstress the pancreas, causing damage
compromise the lining of the capillaries
Sugar can also increase
the amount of fat in the liver
blood platelet adhesiveness which increases risk of blood clots and strokes
bacterial fermentation in the colon
insulin responses in those consuming high-sugar diets compared to low sugar diets
kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney
the body's fluid retention
the risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
Eat natural sugars