How much TV do you really watch?” Just like the answer to that question, the answer to “How much sugar do you really eat?” is usually “hardly ever”.But did you know that eating just a tiny bit of sugar can affect your immune system?
Most people would never touch drugs but did you know that sugar is just like a drug, In fact, sugar is only one element in difference to a drug like cocaine. Like many drugs, sugar starts out as an innocent little plant and with heat and processing turns into a deadly consumable that can harm your body and your life. That may seem a little dramatic, but once you hear the following statistics, you may be off sugar for life.
In the early 1900s, the average North American ate about 5lbs of sugar in a year. These days, with added sugar in everything from savoury foods like store-bought spaghetti sauce to condiments like ketchup, we eat more than 100 times that amount (and it’s killing us).
What is sugar?
Sugar comes in many forms; sucrose (brown or white sugar), fructose, glucose and malt. (Honey can be included, though it isn’t as bad as the others when not pasteurised.) Sugar is derived from plants, liquefied and processed, bleached with chlorine and dried. There are no nutrients left from the cane and beet plants they came from. It has been studied and proven to be highly addictive.
What happens when you eat sugar?
When you eat sugar, your system takes nutrients from other places in your body so that this non-food can be processed. In the process, your immunity is sapped; calcium is sapped from your bones causing osteoporosis.
What does it do?
Sugar affects us in so many ways. Many illnesses that we hear about, like cancer and cardiovascular disease, were not even an issue in the early part of the last century. Nowadays, most people I talk to know someone who is suffering from devastating diseases like heart disease and cancer or even headaches, asthma, depression, diabetes, gallstones or arthritis or intense cravings for coffee or sugar (particularly in the mid-afternoon). These are all situations caused by the consumption of sugar. One of the most brutal ways sugar affects us is with our immunity. After consuming sugar, say the amount in a small chocolate bar, your endocrine and nervous systems are then affected and your immunity will stay suppressed for up to 5 hours. Your body’s defence mechanism would not be fighting a cold or heart disease or hypertension or fighting any other disease, for up to 5 hours.
Here are some of the ways it affects your health, sugar:
· can suppress the immune system.
· can cause hypoglycemia.
· contributes to a weakened defense against bacterial infection.
· can cause kidney damage.
· can increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
· interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
· can promote tooth decay.
· can produce an acidic stomach (disease cannot exist in an alkaline environment).
· can speed the aging process, causing wrinkles and grey hair.
· can increase total cholesterol.
· can contribute to weight gain and obesity.
· can contribute to diabetes.
· can contribute to osteoporosis.
· can cause cardiovascular disease.
· can increase systolic blood pressure.
· causes food allergies.
· can cause toxemia during pregnancy.
· can contribute to eczema in children.
· can cause depression.
· can increase the body’s fluid retention.
· can cause hormonal imbalance.
· can cause hypertension.
· can cause headaches, including migraines.
· can cause an increase in delta, alpha and theta brain waves, which can alter the mind’s ability to think clearly.
What can I do about it?
Some people say its okay to consume a little bit of sugar, say 10-15% of your total calories. Other experts agree that you must be vigilant to eliminate sugar completely from your diet.
The first thing you can do is to begin to eliminate sugar from your diet a little at a time. Take one day a week without sugar and then increase to 2 and then 3 days a week. Read labels and buy items than don’t have sugar listed first in the ingredients on the label if at all. When you do eat sugar, look for fruit sugars as they are better for you than chemically refined white or brown sugar. Start to convert to Stevia, Xylitol and Agave Nectar all of which can be purchased at your local health food store.
Adopt the 80/20 rule – eat right 80% of the time and leave the 20% for weekends or nights out.
Sugar is a highly addictive chemical that causes death. Its not an easy road to change your diet, but one that you’ll be happy with immediately as your notice the changes in your body and mind and in future as a healthy elderly person.