Sugar: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
People have sipped and slurped their way to fatness by drinking soda and other sugary drinks. Study after study confirms that extra sugar in our diet is one of the main culprits in our deteriorating health.
In the 1970s people consumed, on average, about 18 to 22kg of sugar a year. A study done in 2011 suggests that the average person will consume 77kg of sugar per year. Next time you’re at the grocery store take a good look at the size of a 5kg bag of sugar. Then visualise 16 of those!
Another recent study indicated that a quarter of our total calories consumed today comes from sugar.
WHAT SUGAR DOES TO YOUR BODY
Sugar has many harmful effects on our bodies, but let me focus on a few:
Sugar spikes blood sugar!
One of the most detrimental effects of consuming sugar is that our bodies secrete insulin to convert sugar into energy. In order to allow sugar to enter your cell wall for energy, think of insulin as a key to open the door. However, when we consume table sugar or sugary drinks, the amount of insulin needed to open the cell wall door is greatly increased. Eventually, cells develop a resistance to insulin and our bodies need to secrete more and more insulin just open the cell wall doors.
Children today, due to the enormous amount of sugar they consume, are already developing severe resistance to insulin which will eventually lead to diabetes. An increase of circulating insulin will also increase inflammation in our bodies, which is a major factor in heart disease and cancer.
Sugar makes the body acidic
One of the most important bio markers in your body is your pH gauge. If one’s body is acidic, one is much more susceptible to infection, cancer, osteoporosis etc. Our bodies function much better at a slightly alkaline pH of 7.0 to 7.5. The high consumption of sugar turns our tissues very acidic. If you have acidic tissue it is next to impossible to lose weight.
Sugar affects blood pressure
I know that the conventional thinking in our society is that sodium is the major culprit in high blood pressure, but this has been proven not to be the case. Many doctors of functional medicine are finding that they can often get patients’ blood pressure under control when they get them to dramatically cut back on sugar.
ugar increases free radicals
The high consumption of sugar destroys healthy cells by creating a lot of free radicals. Free radicals create havoc in our body and usher in premature aging, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and a myriad of other diseases. A recent study showed that drinking two sugary soft drinks a day almost doubles your risk of pancreatic cancer. Sugar also creates free radicals by blocking the absorption of one of the most powerful antioxidants,vitamin C.
Sugar affects the immune system
Did you know that consuming sugar can put your white blood cells to sleep? Just one teaspoon of sugar can neutralize the effects of white blood cells for up to an hour.
SUGAR: THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY
Not all sugars are bad. There are a few that have incredible health benefits, when consumed in small quantities.
Organic, Pure Maple Syrup
Let me start by stating that the grocery store variety of maple syrup is NOT maple syrup. Look for a pure (not extract), organic maple syrup.
One of the best sweeteners that you can consume is maple syrup. Did you know that maple syrup is alkaline, unlike all other sweeteners? Maple syrup contains FOS (fructoolissacharides), a probiotic that helps feed your healthy bacteria in the intestine. This strengthens your immune system and aids in healthy digestion. A recent study showed that maple syrup is anti-diabetic. Something that tastes that good is actually very good for you!
Honey is another of nature’s perfect foods. Honey is antifungal, antiparasitic and a very powerful antibiotic. You can substitute sugar with honey in your coffee, tea and even in baking.
This sugar is nutritionally loaded with vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. It is high in fibre, which slows the glycemic response.
We have already discussed the negative effects of table sugar. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is deadly. HFCS is a highly refined clear liquid derived from cornstarch. Because it is so cheap to produce, it is found in almost every processed food that we eat, including cereals, bread, tomato sauce, relish, cookies and soft drinks. HFCS is metabolized in the liver and it not only changes the blood sugar chemistry, but also affects blood fats. As a derivative of corn it is also one of the most toxic substances. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is one of the world’s most popular weed killer. Roundup is sprayed on GMO crops like corn and soy, because they are genetically engineered to withstand the harshness of the chemical.
Side Effects Of HFCS:
1. Increases the risk of diabetes
2. Increases the risk of ADD and ADHD
3. Increases blood pressure
4. Inhibits secretion of leptin (your feeling full hormone)
5. Increases levels of uric acid in the blood that can lead to kidney stones, gout and cardiovascular disease.
6. Increases your risk of exposure to mercury, which can lead to brain and nervous system damage.
What about artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharine, sucralose, cyclamate etc.?
Aspartame in particular is known to be one of the most dangerous food additives. Sweeteners are powerful neurotoxins that have reported side effects including migraines, dizziness, anxiety, memory loss, and the worsening of many disorders ranging from fibromyalgia to Alzheimer’s disease. There is also research that shows these sweeteners actually change the microflora of gut much like antibiotics, so avoid them as much as possible.
Your best bet is to stay away from SS&P— Sugar, Sweets and Pastries— as much as possible!