*Sugar gives the body energy. Actually, it is the only source of energy for the brain and red blood cells. Each gram of sugar contains 4 calories. Unlike complex carbohydrates, sugars are digested quickly and are easily broken down into glucose, which is then used for energy.
In the last 20 years, we have increased sugar consumption in the U.S. 26 pounds to 135 lbs. of sugar per person per year! Prior to the turn of this century (1887-1890), the average consumption was only 5 lbs. per person per year! Cardiovascular disease and cancer was virtually unknown in the early 1900’s.
The average American consumes an astounding 2-3 pounds of sugar each week, which is not surprising considering that highly refined sugars in the forms of sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar), and high-fructose corn syrup are being processed into so many foods such as bread, breakfast cereal, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and a plethora of microwave meals.
The problem with sugar is that it tastes so darn good. Therein lies the rub. If sugar treats tasted like broccoli, it would be easy to avoid them altogether. Because sugar tastes good, it can be very difficult to avoid consuming excess amounts of it. Sugar is habit forming. It is addicting. And that can lead to all kinds of health problems. Sugar has absolutely no nutritional value. Consuming a lot of sugar is the equivalent of taking a daily fat pill.
One of sugar’s major drawbacks is that it raises the insulin level, which inhibits the release of growth hormones, which in turn depresses the immune system. This is not something you want to take place if you want to avoid disease.
An influx of sugar into the bloodstream upsets the body’s blood-sugar balance, triggering the release of insulin, which the body uses to keep blood-sugar at a constant and safe level. Insulin also promotes the storage of fat, so that when you eat sweets high in sugar, you’re making way for rapid weight gain and elevated triglyceride levels, both of which have been linked to cardiovascular disease. Complex carbohydrates tend to be absorbed more slowly, lessening the impact on blood-sugar levels.
One of the dangers of sugar is that sugar raises your blood sugar levels (makes sense). But sugar can also cause hypoglycemia. Over the long-term, excess sugar in your diet speeds up the aging process, increases your risk of getting cancer, heart problems, contributes to diabetes, can lead to osteoporosis, hurt your eyesight, and can cause arthritis.
Refined sugar is lethal when ingested by humans because it provides only that which nutritionists describe as “empty” or “naked” calories. It lacks the natural minerals, which are present in the sugar beet or cane.
In addition, sugar is worse than nothing because it drains and leaches the body of precious vitamins and minerals through the demand its digestion, detoxification and elimination makes upon one’s entire system. So essential is balance to our bodies that we have many ways to provide against the sudden shock of a heavy intake of sugar. Minerals such as sodium (from salt), potassium and magnesium (from vegetables), and calcium (from the bones) are mobilized and used in chemical transmutation; neutral acids are produced which attempt to return the acid-alkaline balance factor of the blood to a more normal state.
Sugar taken every day produces a continuously overacid condition, and more and more minerals are required from deep in the body in the attempt to rectify the imbalance. Finally, in order to protect the blood, so much calcium is taken from the bones and teeth that decay and general weakening begin. Excess sugar eventually affects every organ in the body. Initially, it is stored in the liver in the form of glucose (glycogen). Since the liver’s capacity is limited, a daily intake of refined sugar (above the required amount of natural sugar) soon makes the liver expand like a balloon. When the liver is filled to its maximum capacity, the excess glycogen is returned to the blood in the form of fatty acids. These are taken to every part of the body and stored in the most inactive areas: the belly, the buttocks, the breasts and the thighs.
NOW….let’s talk about HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP…..
It is used as a sweetener, and is in almost any processed food you can find on the supermarket shelf today.
High fructose corn syrup is a liver toxin. It is metabolized in the body the same way alcohol is metabolized. Now, the brain metabolizes alcohol, and so you get effects that you can recognize, we call it intoxication. Effects like impaired judgment, slowed response time impaired motor function, etc. But fructose is not metabolized by the brain, so you don’t notice that is affecting your body the same way alcohol is. Drinking a can of soda does the same thing to your liver that drinking a can of beer does. And you are allowing your kids to drink this every day. You may be a person who doesn’t believe in drinking because it destroys your body, but the soda is destroying your body just as much.
When the fructose breaks down in your body, it causes fatty liver disease which raises your cholesterol, and it actually deactivates a substance in your body that prevents high blood pressure, so you get hypertension and high blood pressure, and then you become insulin resistant and develop diabetes. As long as you ingest anything containing fructose or sucrose (table sugar) you will be unable to cure yourself of high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. It also causes kidney disease, which contributes to diabetes and high blood pressure as well. The small blood vessels in the kidney become damaged and even though you might be taking something to lower your blood pressure, because of the kidney damage your heart has to continue to pump the blood through at a higher pressure. The kidney also starts to retain sodium as a result of the damage. So you see, drinking sodas must stop if you want to be really health.
Limiting the amount of sugar in the diet is important to your health. Sugar should account for fewer than 10% of your daily calories. If you eat 1,800 calories, that’s 180 calories from sugar — or 11 1/4 teaspoons.
Remember, I’m not a doctor. I just sound like one.
Take good care of yourself and live the best life possible!
The information included in this column is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.
Glenn Ellis, is a Health Advocacy Communications Specialist. He is the author of Which Doctor?, and is a health columnist and radio commentator who lectures, and is an active media contributor nationally and internationally on health related topics.
His second book, “Information is the Best Medicine”, was released in January 2012.
For more good health information, visit: www.glennellis.com