In thefirst part of this series, we discussed sugar addiction. The science community doesn’t yet recognize sugar as an addictive substance, but based on the research I have done, and my own personal experience, I can attest to the addictive nature of sugar. Please note that just like narcotics, not everyone is, or will be, addicted to sugar. It depends on each individual.
FYI: When I refer to sugar in this series, I am primarily referring to processed sugars like corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, refined cane sugar, beet sugar, and any other sugars that are in processed foods andbeverages. I am also referring to simple carbohydrates like white flour (even if it says “unbleached” or “enriched”), which act just like sugar in the body. I believe that using natural sweeteners and consuming fruit is fine, in moderation, and as long as it’s not a problem for your body. I know a lot of people who cannot consume sugar in any form, whether it is natural or processed. I will discuss natural sugars more in Part 3 of this series.
Over consumption of sugar, and in turn, most of our modern diseases were never an issue until we started processing our food in factories. Once machines and chemists got their hands on food, it’s never been the same. We moved away from fresh, local, real foods and into the era ofconveniencewhere we can’t be bothered to make our own dinners. Most Americans stop at a fast food joint or open up a microwave meal. Once our society shifted to this manner of food prep, the diseasestarted moving in. The average American eats 135 pounds of sugar per year. That’s 2.5 pounds a week, or over 1/3 of a pound of sugarperday! No wonder we have the health problems we do! Prior to the 1900′s, the average amount of sugar consumer per person was 5 pounds per year!
Before we look any further into the diseases related to theoverconsumptionof sugar, let’s watch a quick video.
I came across this video recently and it really hit home. It was very interesting to see the results of Ryan’s blood work. I recommend watching it – it’s very short and it will hopefully change your life!
Some people might think that 200 grams of sugar in 10 minutes is a lot, but you’d be surprised how quickly it adds up. To see the change in his blood cells happen that rapidly was amazing! I think that visual alone has reinforced in my mind that sugar is a poison and should be eliminated and/or monitored closely if you ever want to obtain optimal health.
Sugar Feeds Disease
Sugar comes in two forms -monosaccharidesanddisaccharides. Thedisaccharidesinclude the sucrose that is found in honey, corn syrup and cane sugar, as well as the lactose in milk and maltose in malt. Themonosaccharidesare the types of sugars that are found in vegetables and fruits, called fructose.
In an article composed by Nancy Appleton, Ph.D., she lists146 reasons why sugar is ruining your health. Her list is comprehensive and I agree with everything she says. I would recommend taking a few minutes at some point and reading through her list.
While there is a long laundry list of ailments that sugar can cause, I am going to touch on the following points, in an effort to keep this one blog post from turning into a book:
- Sugar suppresses the immune system.
- Sugar contributes to obesity.
- Sugar produces a significant rise in triglycerides.
- Sugar can cause heart disease.
- Sugar can cause an increase in blood pressure.
- Sugar contributes to diabetes onset.
- Sugar can cause cancer.
- Sugar contributes to Candida.
- Sugar causes fatty liver disease.
The problems above are probablysomeof the most common healthy issues we have in America – obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Every time you turn on the TV, there’s either a news report on one of the diseases or a drug commercial selling something to treat the disease.
Sugar and the Immune System
The devastation of sugar on our bodies really starts at the top, with suppressing the immune system. When the immune system is suppressed, disease can set in. Our immune systems areourbody’s first line of attack against germs and other foreign bodies. When the immune system is weakened, it cannot operate at its optimum level, and therefore leaves us moresusceptibleto sickness.
Vitamin C is needed in order forthewhite blood cells to eat viruses andbacteria. The blood cells have toaccumulate vitamin C over time because they require 50 times morevitaminC on the inside of the cell than on the outside. It is because of this that vitamin C is known as one of the best immune systemboosters. Everyone should make sure they are gettingadequateamounts of vitamin C, whether through their food or through a supplement. I am a firm believerthat it’s pretty much impossible to get all of our nutrients through our food, so supplementation of vitamin C is a great idea.
So, how exactly does sugar affect the immune system? Well, it turns out that vitamin C and glucose both have similar chemical structures. So, they end up fighting each other to enter the cells that need the vitamin C. If there is more glucose, then that’s what enters the cell and you end up beingdeficientin vitamin C. Over time, your immune system becomes suppressedand disease sets in. Since sugar does not contain any vitamins orminerals, it leeches nutrients from your body’s stockpile in order for it to be metabolized. When this happens, it depletes your reserves and further diminishesyour immune system’sstrength. The American Dietetic Association and the American DiabeticAssociation both agree that sugarconsumptionis “one of the three major causes of degenerative disease.”
Sugar and Obesity
As I have pointed out before, the obesity statistics in America are horrific. And, it’s not just adults who are being affected. It’s children and babies. Babies! The very individuals who should be coming into this world with a clean slate and the potential to do, and be,anythingtheywant are coming out of the womb overweight and addicted to sugar. And, as they get older, their weight issues continue. We, as a society are setting our future generations up for failure from the moment of conception. When I see a pregnant woman in the grocery store, I can’t help but check out her shopping cart. Nine times out of ten, her cart is full of processed, pre-packaged food, soda, microwave dinners, candy, etc. This is the nourishment that many babies are receiving in vitro. It breaks my heart at how such a progressive nation can be so lacking in nutrition education.
The reason that sugar contributes to obesity is because ofthecycle it creates. Not only does sugar increasefat storage, it also makes the brain think it’shungry. So, you end up eating sugary, fatty food that gets stored as fat, and then your brain thinks it’s hungry again, which leads you to eat moresugary, fattyfood and the cycle begins all over again.
Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease
This is something that most doctors recognize – the link between sugar and cardiovasculardisease. Statistically, women have a higher incidence of this than men. Women who eat diets high in sugar have twice the chance of heart disease over a ten year period. Many factors go into this, however, the chain of events usually happens like this:
increased sugar intake –> weight gain and weakened immune system –> increase of bad fats in your blood –> increased risk of heart disease (and diabetes, stroke, etc.).
While doctors have always known the relationship between sugar intake and diabetes, it is now becoming more important to recognize the relationship between sugar intake and heart disease. Approximately 62 million Americans have a form of heart disease, which is the number one killer in our country. These forms of heart disease includehighblood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, birth defects and heart failure. Even though I disagree with a lot of mainstream medicine and the American Heart Association’s dietary recommendations, I don’t disagree with their statement that ”a third of the deaths caused by heart disease could have been prevented with exercise and better diets including those with reduced amounts of sugar.”
Studies have shown that consuming increased amounts of added sugar leads to lower ratios of high-densitylipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C, the good stuff) and higher low-densitylipoproteincholesterol(LDL-C, the bad stuff). These ratios have been shown to increasedriskfor heart disease andobesity. Dr. NorrisChumleystates:
“We have seen a gigantic increase in the addition of sugar, from sugar cane, beets, or high-fructose corn syrup. Food manufacturers have trained us to get addicted to these sugars; we think food tastes better when it is sweet. It’s frightening to me to see how many foods have added sugar. It’s in almost everything that’s boxed, wrapped or manufactured.
Also, studies have shown that once addicted to high amounts of sugar (and fats) our brains actually get rewired to constantly crave it.”
In a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was found that people who received at least 25% of their daily calories from added sugar (of any kind) were three times more likely to have low levels of the good cholesterol in their blood stream. In addition, people who ate more than 17% of their calories from sugar (of any kind) also were more likely to have higher levels of triglycerides (the fat in your blood).
The key here is added sugar. There is naturally a certain amount of sugar that you will consume even in a healthy, real food diet. All fruits and veggies are going to have sugar in them, as well as any carbohydrate, even if it’s complex. Those sugars should not really be of concern, though you really shouldn’t consume tons and tons of carbohydrates, fruit and high-sugar vegetables. The key to get a balance of vegetables, fruit, dairy, complex carbohydrates and protein. The more variety you have in your diet, the healthier you will be.
Sugar and Cancer
Cancer loves sugar. Plain and simple. The most basic explanation I have found of how cancer works was on the International Wellness Directory’sarticle“Cancer Loves Sugar”, where they describe Dr. OttoWarburg’scancer findings:
“…First off, it tells us that cancer metabolizes much differently than normal cells. Normal cells need oxygen. Cancer cells despise oxygen. In fact, oxygen therapy is a favorite among many of the alternative clinics we’ve researched.
Another thing this tells us is that cancer metabolizes through a process of fermentation.
If you’ve ever made wine, you’ll know that fermentation requires sugar.
The metabolism of cancer is approximately 8 times greater than the metabolism of normal cells.
Okay, so here is what we can put together knowing the above: The body is constantly overworked trying to feed this cancer. The cancer is constantly on the verge starvation and thus constantly asking the body to feed it. When the food supply is cut off, the cancer begins to starve unless it can make the body produce sugar to feed itself.
The wasting syndrome, cachexia, is the body producing sugar from proteins (you heard it right, not from carbohydrates or fats, but from proteins) in a process called glycogenesis. This sugar feeds the cancer. The body finally dies of starvation, trying to feed the cancer.
Now, knowing that one’s cancer needs sugar, does it make sense to feed it sugar? Does it make sense to have a high carbohydrate diet?“
That’s it. Pretty simple. Cancer cells love sugar (carbohydrates). They need sugar to replicate and grow. If they don’t get enough sugar, they starve. I know there are other things to consider with cancer, including his mention of the wasting disease calledcachexia, where your body will start producingsugarfrom protein, but in its simplest form, cancer needs sugar to feed on.
One thing to remember is that the human body is an amazing machine. It was designed tofunctionat optimal levels and to ward of illness with its natural medicine cabinet – the immune system. However, when the immune system is suppressedwith too much sugar, then our body no longer has the ability to fight off disease. If we can keep our immune system in tip-top shape, then we have a much higher chance of warding off disease.
Now, Dr.Warburgis pretty controversial and many people will say that the “cancer loves sugar” concept was taken out of context from his original work. It is up to you to decide if you agree with the statement that sugar feeds cancer, but my personal opinion is that it does.
Sugar and Candida
How many of you have heard of Candida? Candida is in the fungus kingdom and is a form of yeast. It is naturally present in animals and humans. While there arenumerousstrains of Candida, some species of Candida can cause infections and disease. Alternative medical doctors will tell you that Candida overgrowth can lead to serious health problems, however, your mainstream medical doctor will not support thistheory.
Sugar can lead to an overgrowth ofyeastsin the body,which canleadto infection in some people. It is suspected that Candida overgrowth is a lotmorecommon than people realize and that itcausesa lot more problems than we know. Candida lives mainly in the gut and the gutiswhere your true health begins. If you gut is unhealthy, the rest of your body will be unhealthy.
CandidaAlbicansis the form of Candida that typically causes illness. According toDr. Cynthia Perkins, it naturally occurs in the body and is typically kept in check by all of the different kinds of bacteria in the body. However, it can be allowed to run rampant if the normal balance of bacteria is upset. It usually resides in the gut, mouth, throat, and genitals, but if it overgrows, then it can actually create holes in theintestinaltract and can enter the bloodstream. Once it does, it is on its way to all of your organs. It also has been shown to release over 70differenttypes of toxins.
There are manysymptomsof Candida overgrowth, from gas and bloating to migraines tomood swingsto itching and acne. However, one interesting symptom is a craving for sweets. Sugar feeds the yeasts, which in turn create cravings more for more sugar. Another main cause of Candida overgrowth is the overuse of antibiotics, which is yet another major problem in American society.
Sugar and Fatty Liver Disease
The liver is one of your body’s filters. One oftheprimaryfunctions of the liver is that it helps to regulate the metabolism of fat you eat and it helps burn the fat off. It also filters out excess fat in the diet and empties it into your gut in the form of bile. This helpseliminateit from your body and prevents it from being stored. When these functions slow down orceasethen theliverstartsstoringthe fat and over time will just become a big glob of fat. This, as you can imagine, isdevastatingto your long-term health.
Likediabetes, fatty liver disease is a disease that is caused by improper sugar metabolism. With fatty liver, a chronically highlevelof blood sugar will cause fat todepositon the liver. Fructose is especially hard on the liver.
In the U.S., fatty liver is becoming more and more common. In the past, it typically showed up in people who drank too much alcohol and in those over 30 who are overweight or obese. However, sadly, it is becomingmoreandmore common among children. In 1980, only one case of fatty liver was reported in a child in America. Now, it is estimated that between 2 and 5 percent of children have fattyliverdisease. That’s approximately 3.7 million children. Most of these cases are due tothechild being overweight.
The good news is that most of the time, fatty liver disease can be reversed. Theliveris an amazing organ and istheonly organ in the body with the capabilities to regenerate. As a matter of fact, an entire liver can regenerate from aslittleas 25% of a liver. So, this fact makes it very promising that fatty liver disease can be reversed if caught in time. It will take time, but proper diet and exercise makes it possible.
Ow, My Head Hurts
This is a long blog post. Probably thelongestI’ve ever written and the amazing thing is that I have barelyscratchedthe surface of the relationship between the overconsumptionof sugar and disease. I’m sure your head is aching and you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. Don’t be. Justrememberthat knowledge is power and when you are armed with knowledge, you canmakethe best possible decisions for you and your family.
In part 3 of this series, I will discuss how you can recover from sugaraddictionand what you can do to pump up your immune system and decrease your chances of serious illness. I also want you torememberthat I am not saying that you can’t ever have any sweet treats. Justrememberthat a treat is just that, a treat, and should be something that you eat in moderation, not something you have every day.
Hopefully, this post willalsomake you a little more aware of what you eat each day. You may beconsumingtoo much sugar withoutevenrealizingit. Many people assume that just because they don’t drink soda or sit aroundeatingcookies that they are fine ontheirsugar consumption,However, that is often not the case because of all of the hidden sugars that you might not be aware of. Take a little time to read the labelsof products or track what you eat over a week’s time and you may besurprisedjust how easy it is to consume too much sugar.
“Sugar’s Effect on Your Health” -HealingDaily.com
“146 Reasons Why Sugar Is Ruining Your Health” Nancy Appleton, Ph.D.
Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease - American Heart Association
Sugar and Heart Disease- Dr. Norris J.Chumley
Diets high in added sugar raise heart disease risk- Los Angeles Times
Sugar & Heart Disease-eHowHealth
“Identifying Candida Symptoms” – Dr. Cynthia Perkins
International Wellness Directory’sarticle“Cancer Loves Sugar“
“Quick-Burning Carbs May Cause Fatty Liver …” Science Daily
“Fatty Liver” – The Liver Doctor
“Max Learns About Fatty Liver. And Fructose” – ETF Wellness Corp.
Image courtesy of stock.xchng and Zeppelin5
This article is part of Fight Back Friday