Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sugar's Effect on your Health!

Sugar (Sucrose) In the U.S., we consume somewhere between 140 to 170 lbs. of sugar per person each year. We know that sounds outlandish but according to estimates done by the Department of Agriculture it’s true. It’s not only that extra teaspoon of sugar in our coffee, but the amount of sweets, candy, cake, cookies, juices, soft drinks and all the added sugars in processed foods.

We could list over a hundred health problems from consuming sugar,
but we will leave that to Dr. Nancy Appleton. You’ll find that and more in her book, Lick the Sugar Habit.

We’ll just hit a few of the high points.

Sugar & The Immune System:
The consumption of refined sugar suppresses our immune system and can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, inflammation, premature aging and contributes to just about every illness known to man.. Just one serving of sugar from a soft drink, candy bar, cake, cookie, ice cream, etc. can suppress our immune system for several hours. This leaves us vulnerable to many unwanted invaders, like viruses, bacteria, and yeast/fungi.

Overuse of antibiotics is common today, killing our good bacterial army and setting up a playing field for yeast overgrowth. Yeast thrive on sugar creating a cascading health decline.

Sugar has zero nutritional value. It lacks the minerals needed for assimilation into our bodies. Since the body is self-regulating, it will call upon its own stores of micronutrients in order to assist it in metabolizing sugar into the system. This can lead to other deficiencies and chronic illness.

The Danger of Diabetes:
Type 2 Diabetes is at epidemic levels in America. Overeating refined sugar, products that contain sugar and even eating grains decreases your insulin sensitivity. This can cause abnormally high insulin levels and eventually lead to diabetes.

Sugar lacks the proper fiber, minerals and enzymes that create a synergistic effect for normal absorption, assimilation and digestion. It enters the bloodstream quickly, raising blood sugar levels to an unnatural high, instead of a normal slow release into the blood stream. We then feel a fast energy surge. The pancreas is then signaled to release insulin very quickly in order to lower our blood sugar level.

Here’s the problem! The pancreas continues to release large amounts of insulin, causing the blood sugar level to drop below normal. Now, the adrenal gland is signaled to release adrenalin to raise blood sugar back to normal levels.

The process of raising our blood sugar level quickly and then dropping it again, over and over, can wear out our pancreas and adrenal glands, making us more susceptible to Diabetes! We then face a life of insulin shots or medication and a possibility of additional chronic illnesses, which are linked to this disease.

Our blood sugar is meant to be regulated and only raise and lower past normal levels on occasion. When we eat a good balance of natural foods the sugar is released into the blood stream slowly, and levels are maintained in the normal range. Eliminating refined sugar, eating as close to nature as possible (unprocessed foods) and eating balanced (protein, carbohydrate, and fat) could be the answer to avoiding this dreaded disease. There may be a small percentage of Diabetes that is genetic, but for those that have relatives whose bad eating habits and lifestyle have led to Diabetes, the solution lies in making different choices.

Cancer and Sugar
In 1931, Dr. Otto Warburg was awarded the Nobel Prize in science for his discovery that cancer cells rapidly proliferate in the presence of fermented sugar. In other words sugar feeds cancer.

Our immune system fights and wins at least 6 battles with cancer in our lifetime. We overcome the cancer and go on as normal. Having a strong healthy immune system is key to winning this battle. We now know that sugar suppresses the immune system, so eliminating sugar from our diet is imperative in the war against cancer.

Suggested reading:
The Germ That Causes Cancer, by Doug Kaufmann.

Children and Sugar:
Sugar can have serious consequences for children’s health, and can lead to symptoms associated with ADD/ADHD, anxiety and depression. When children eat sugar they are continually suppressing their immune systems and making themselves susceptible to infections and asthma. These growing bodies need real nutrition, not a substance that steals nutrients from the body and robs them of their future by contributing to diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

As mentioned earlier, when blood glucose levels fall, adrenaline is released. Blood glucose levels that fall below the normal range can result in a hypoglycemic type response that includes sweating, crying, shaking, altered behavior and altered thinking.

Does your child have difficulty concentrating, act out, or cry and whine more often than normal? Is your child hyper one minute only to crash and become lethargic later? Does he or she get recurrent ear infections and runny noses? Are you making more stops to the doctor’s office only to walk away with another prescription for an antibiotic? If you answered YES! Then your child may be eating too much sugar!

Sugar in some form is in almost everything. You only have to read the labels to find its many names. Look for sucrose (table sugar), dextrose, corn, maple, rice, or cane syrup, honey, fruit juice concentrates and ingredients like fructose, lactose, sucralose, maltose or glucose.

Eating an excessive amount of refined sugar and simple carbohydrates can lead to many health problems. It can cause immune suppression, nutrient deficiencies, and can lead to obesity, depression, visual deterioration, oxidative damage due to free radicals, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and the list goes on.

When the body is in a balanced state (homeostasis) it is healing. Research has proven that refined sugar can throw our health out of balance and put us on a path toward degenerative disease. We believe (and some experts agree) that sugar can be as addictive a drug.

We’re all going to eat refined sugar products on occasion, but we owe it to our family and friends to educate ourselves about the effects it can have on our health.

Complex carbohydrates on the other hand, are absorbed more slowly, lessening the shock on blood-sugar levels.

Suggested reading:
Lick the Sugar Habit, By Nancy Appleton, Ph.D.

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