CUT OUT THE SUGAR
THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF SUGAR ON YOUR BODY AND HEALTH
Sugar has NO nutritional value!
No vitamins or minerals, only calories. Yet the average American consumes over 150 pounds of sugar in one year. Germany is second highest in per capita sugar consumption at 82 pounds per year and the Netherlands follows closely at 80 pounds per year. [1
Sugar goes by many names including:
fructose, glucose, corn syrup, honey, sucrose and many more. There are nearly 60 food ingredients that are actually sugar. [2
] All sugars, no matter what they are called, are carbohydrates. Sugar is often associated with candy, soft drinks, and baked items like pastry, cookies and donuts. Sugar is found in almost any food as the food industry often adds it where consumers might not think to check in order to improve flavor and increase sales.
Sucrose is the most common sugar found in our diets. It is produced from sugar cane or sugar beets through a refining process that strips out any of its vitamins, minerals, protein, enzymes, and other nutrients. Since sucrose is devoid of all nutrition, our bodies must “borrow” the missing vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from our own tissues in order for it to be metabolized. One of the adverse effects of sugar on your health is the siphoning away of vital nutrients from other parts of our body.
Sugar leaches away the calcium from within our teeth causing tooth decay. It also plays a major role in heart disease since it depletes the body of potassium and magnesium, which are required for cardiac function.
Excess sugar makes you fat.
As discussed, sugar is devoid of nutrients, yet is very high in calories. A teaspoon of sugar (4g) contains 15 calories. This may not seem like a lot, but consider that a two ounce candy bar, a 12 ounce soda, and a one-cup serving of ice cream typically contain 10 or more teaspoons of sugar. The USDA estimates that the average American consumes about 20 teaspoons of sugar a day, which is equivalent to 16 percent of our recommended total calorie intake. Nearly 150 pounds of sugar over the course of a year according to worldatlas.com
SUGAR IS ADDICTIVE
You have, no doubt, experienced sugar cravings. A condition that most people don’t associate with anything sinister actually reveals one of the true dangers of sugar. Sugar has addictive properties that can be compared to nicotine or heroin, just with different degrees of addiction.
This sugar addiction occurs because sugar interacts with your brain at it's opioid receptors, which give the body a feeling of pleasure. Research has determined that certain areas of the brain are activated when you have a sugar craving. These areas of the brain are also activated when a person has a craving for nicotine, cocaine or alcohol.
This gives a whole new meaning to the term “comfort food”. Sugar withdrawals are also very similar to drug withdrawals. You may experience fatigue, depression, moodiness, headaches, jitters and aching limbs.
Sugar has been linked to violent behavior
, hypertension, and learning disabilities. Singapore banned sugary soft drink sales in schools and youth centers, citing the danger of sugar addiction to the mental and physical health of children. Studies have also shown that removing sugar from the diets of prisoners reduced the amount of chronic violence in prisons. [3
SUGAR DEPRESSES YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Eating that donut everyday can do more to your body than add a few extra pounds. Another danger of sugar is the compromising of your immune system by destroying the germ-killing ability of white blood cells for up to five hours after ingestion. It also reduces the production of antibodies in your body.
Blood sugar also interferes with the transport of Vitamin C and causes mineral imbalance, both of which weaken the immune system. It also reduces the efficiency of omega-3 fatty acid, making the cells more permeable and less capable of stopping invasion by allergens and microorganisms.
As you consume more sugar, your blood sugar level rises. This triggers your pancreas into producing insulin to help clean your cells of this excess sugar. As your blood sugar levels return to normal, so does the amount of insulin in your body. However, when you eat a lot of sugar it takes more and more insulin to normalize your blood sugar levels, known as insulin resistance. Over time insulin resistance may cause the pancreas to stop responding to the sugar and halt insulin production all together.
Insulin also has the side effect of suppressing the release of human growth hormone in the pituitary gland. Growth hormone is a primary regulator of the immune system. A lack of growth hormone will result in a compromised immune system.
NATURAL WAYS TO REDUCE EXCESS SUGAR
Exposure to sugar occurs at a very young age. Breast milk from our mothers and baby formulas both contain sugar. Birthday cakes, ice cream, cupcakes, cookies, all of our favorite treats are loaded with sugar. Also many of the foods we typically eat on a daily basis (like bread) contain relatively high amounts of sugar. Breakfast cereal is a good example of this.
Should you completely cut all sugar from your diet? If you are not overweight or do not have other risk factors for heart disease or diabetes, total elimination isn't entirely necessary. The occasional sugary snack or treat isn't going to result in immune system collapse or heart failure.
You should, however, be aware of your sugar consumption and take steps to reduce your excess sugar intake.
HERE ARE HEALTHY STEPS TO REDUCE YOUR DAILY SUGAR CONSUMPTION:
Drink more water. ELIMINATE juices, sodas and soft drinks. Bottled fruit juices, colas and sodas are liquid sugar delivery systems and have no place in a healthy diet. Sugar Free drinks are NOT a safe alternative as they contain chemicals or artificial sweeteners that drive your sugar cravings and may cause you to overeat. Sparkling water with fresh lemon or lime is refreshing and a much better choice. Drink more water!
Skip the daily coffee shop visit. Or learn to love black coffee (5 calories). Your Chai Latte contains up to 20 teaspoons of sugar. Your White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream contains 18-20 teaspoons of sugar. If you drink one each day of your 5 day work week, that’s 90 to 100 teaspoons of sugar each week, about 5000 teaspoons over the course of the year!
Eat more fruit. Enjoy fresh, dried, or blended fruit. Yes, fruit does contain the sugar fructose, but it contains smaller amounts as compared to high fructose corn syrup. Eating fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth is an excellent practice.
Eat more fiber and protein. Suppress your appetite by eating foods rich in protein and high in fiber to help you feel full and satisfied. You may not even want dessert. Eating grapefruit has been shown to suppress the appetite.
Make healthy choices. Learn to read labels and identify foods with added sugar. Keep in mind, many of the ingredients listed ARE sugars, hidden by the manufacturer. Choose complex carbohydrates and fibrous carbs over simple carbs. Educating yourself on the amounts of sugar in food, will give you leverage to control the amount you consume.