Todays dietary advise is confusing. What you read in one article is often contradicted somewhere else. While many of us are looking for the answers on how to remain disease-free, lose weight, or even reverse the effects that years of eating an unhealthy diet has created, experts agree on one thing:
Sugar is one of the worst things for your health. Give up refined sugar and you may accomplish all of the above.
Speaking as an American, we eat A LOT of sugar. Sweets are a mainstay of our diet, eaten daily, used at every celebration, and cause a multitude of health problems.
Even if you dont buy sweets, dont kid yourself. Sugar lurks everywhere. Its hard to avoid, and its dangerous.
Beyond the obvious of cookies, cakes and soda, sugar is included in most prepared, prepackaged, and fast foods. And the more sugar you eat, the more you want. Research has proven that sugar increases the dopamine and opioid levels in the brain that can create a sugar addiction.
All forms of sugar, such as cane sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, are dangerous. Sugar temporarily increases energy and a feeling of well-being. But after the blood sugar spike, theres a drop that occurs, leaving you lethargic. These spikes also create an insulin release into the blood stream. Insulin, the hormone that tells cells to take in glucose, spikes as well. Increased insulin levels tell the body to form fat and release more cortisol, a stress hormone that damages immunity and increases inflammation. These increases can lead to insulin resistance in cells, causing excess circulating glucose. This triggers a multitude of harmful effects, including chronic inflammation. Left unchecked, this process can directly lead to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes,
Refined sugar also has an adverse effect on cardiovascular health. One study showed that people with high sugar intakes had much lower levels of HDL, the good cholesterol, as well as high triglycerides. In addition, the chronic inflammation caused by increased cortisol has been linked to cancer and heart disease. No wonder this countrys in trouble.
Consuming sugar has a suppressive effect on the immune system that lasts for several hours after ingestion. If you’re eating sugar after each meal, you are, in effect, suppressing your immune system all day. If you find yourself getting sick frequently, check your sugar intake.
And theres even more bad news. The sweet stuff has a toxicity effect on cognitive health. A study by the Mayo Clinic, found that people over age 70 who ate lots of sugar dramatically increased their risk for cognitive impairment. A UCLA study found that fructose damaged memory and learning. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that higher glucose levels are linked to dementia. Jeez.
Sugar can help unbalance the levels of good to bad bacteria in our guts, leading to chronic infections. Undesirable organisms like yeast and other fungi enjoy feeding on the sugar weve eaten and flourish when theres plenty to go around. These imbalances are also linked to allergies, ADD, skin conditions and hypertension. Small wonder childhood allergies and cases of ADD are on the rise.
Do your household a favor, skip the soda and cookie aisle, read labels, retrain taste buds. If you find that you (or your kids) absolutely cant make it through lunch without a cookie, try the European brands. They typically contain less sugar, fewer ingredients in general, and taste great. A square of dark chocolate can do the trick as well.