Man is what he eats. By: Ludwig Feuerbach
It is estimated that each US citizen consumes an astounding 2-3 pounds of sugar each week. Sugar consumption has gone from only 5 pounds per year in 1900 to the current level of 135 pounds per person per year, and the western world including Jamaica is closely following this trend.
This is not surprising as highly refined sugars in the forms of sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar), and high-fructose corn syrup are being quietly processed into many popular foods such as bread, biscuits, breakfast cereal, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and a host of other convenience foods.
Heart disease and cancer was rare in the early 1900's but we now know that many of those modern ills may be related to our sweet tooth. Let me share some of the consequences of high sugar consumption. These are taken from a variety of medical journals and other scientific publications and are based on medical research.
SUGAR and THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
In the 1970's researchers found out that vitamin C was needed by white blood cells in high concentrations in order of them to destroy viruses and bacteria. Now glucose andvitamin C both have similar chemical structures, and they compete with one another to enter the white blood cells.
If there is excess glucose in the blood, there is going to be less vitamin C allowed into the cells. It doesn't take much: a blood sugar value of 120 reduces the white blood cell function by 75%. So when you eat sugar, be reminded that your immune system may be brought to a halt.
Little wonder that a high sugar consumption greatly promotes the uncontrolled growth of Candida (yeast infections) while increasing your risk of infections from many bacteria, fungi and viruses.
SUGAR and CANCER
A weak immune system will make you more cancer prone. Sugar feeds cancer cells and high sugar diets have been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, lung, gallbladder and stomach. Sugar can impair the structure of your DNA by a process called glycation and this will also influence your cancer risk.
SUGAR and THE BRAIN
The consumption of refined sugars is associated with fluctuations in blood sugar levels – sometimes high, sometimes low. As the brain is almost totally dependent on glucose (blood sugar) for its energy, changes in blood sugar can adversely affect brain function. Many nervous system disorders are related to or made worse by eating sugar and children are particularly at risk.
These disorders include Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, alcoholism and other addictions, epileptic seizures and migraine headaches. In juvenile rehabilitation camps, when children were put on a low sugar diet, there was a 44 percent drop in antisocial behavior.
Sugar can increase your risk of Alzheimer's disease and researchers found that sugar intake is higher in people with Parkinson's disease.
SUGAR and THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Sugar can cause many problems with the gastrointestinal tract including – GERD (acid reflux disease), indigestion, malabsorption, increased risk of Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis.
Sugar can increase the size of your liver by elevating the amount of fat in the liver cells and creating fatty liver disease. Sugar can damage your pancreas and promote constipation. High sugar consumption will also increase your risk of gall stones and gall bladder disease.
SUGAR and THE METABOLISM
Sugar has the potential of inducing abnormal metabolic processes even in a normal healthy individual and to promote chronic degenerative diseases.
Sugar can cause a decrease in your insulin sensitivity thereby causing abnormally high insulin levels and eventually diabetes. Sugar can produce a significant rise in
total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad cholesterol while decreasing your good cholesterol. Sugar can also increase your risk of gout and is a major cause of obesity.
Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body: causes chromium and copper deficiencies and interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
Sugar can cause hormonal imbalances such as: increasing estrogen in men, elevating the male hormones (androgens) in women, exacerbating PMS, and decreasing growth hormone levels. Sugar can increase your body's retention of fluid.
SUGAR and AGEING
Sugar can change the structure of protein and cause a permanent alteration of the way those proteins function in your body. Thus by changing the structure of collagen, a protein in the skin, sugar can make your skin age prematurely.
By changing the proteins in the lens of the eye, sugar can cause cataracts. Diets high in sugar will increase free radicals and oxidative stress, known causes of accelerated ageing.
And the half has not been told. What about the effects of sugar on the heart, the blood pressure, the circulation, the blood vessels and your sex life? Don’t allow a little sweet to make you really sour.