Truth About Sugar
Sugar, sugar, sugar. That sweet stuff that’s everywhere.
For many, it’s a reward, a comfort, and a friend to call on in time of need. Be warned though, the fact is that so-called “friend” may actually be your enemy in disguise. Most clients I work with always want to know just how bad is sugar and what can they do to finally get control over their cravings or at a minimum find a healthier substitute. I think when you understand what’s really going on from inside your body’s point of view you can start to shift your mindset, see sugar for what it really is and make major strides in taking control of your health and happiness.
To be clear, sugar’s impact on our health is a slow destructive process (no one is going to die from an overdose immediately). But that’s what makes excess sugar consumption so insidious. Unfortunately, most people won’t know the damage until after the fact.
Problem #1 Fat Storage and Insulin Resistance
When we eat refined sugar (sucrose, cane sugar, corn syrup, fructose maltodextrin etc.), it enters the bloodstream too quickly causing a spike in our blood sugar (glucose) levels. In response, the body releases insulin into the bloodstream, which will take the excess glucose and try to store it in our muscles to be used for energy later. Unfortunately, when the average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, “later” hardly ever comes. When sugar consumption is too high, those cells become insulin resistant and the excess glucose that can’t be burned in time is stored in fat cells, primarily abdominal fat cells (i.e. Belly Fat!). The result is elevated levels of insulin in the blood resulting in more fat storage, more insulin production and more resistance, eventually ruining your pancreas, weakening your adrenals and wreaking havoc on your whole endocrine system.
Some Signs of Insulin Resistance Include:
- Chronic Fatigue
- Brain Fog
- Weight Gain (“SpareTire”)
- Difficulty Losing Weight
- Stomach Bloating and Gas
- Elevated Blood Pressure
- High Triglycerides
Problem #2 Inflammation
Furthermore, when glucose and insulin regulation gets so out of balance you have the perfect breeding ground for chronic inflammation. Current research believes that chronic inflammation is the root of many degenerative diseases.
Reducing and eliminating your sugar consumption can play a key role in reducing your risk for inflammatory disease including:
- Heart Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
Problem #3 Suppresses Immunity
To make matters even worse, refined sugar is an anti-nutrient. It has no nutritional value and actually depletes the body of vital vitamins and minerals. Sugar goes through an extensive refining process that destroys all enzymes, fiber, vitamins and minerals so when our body tries to metabolize it and use it for energy, it must draw on our existing supplies such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, chromium ever weakening your body from the inside out. When you are mineral deficient your whole body suffers.
Some Signs of Mineral Deficiency May Include:
- Digestive Problems
- Difficulty Concentrating
Excess sugar also feeds the bad bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract – and with 70% of our immune system located in our gut, gut health is overall health. Furthermore, studies also show that sugar significantly lowers the ability of our white blood cells to fight off harmful bacteria. As little as 8 tablespoons of sugar (about 2 cans of soda) can immediately suppress your immune system by 40% for up to five hours. It’s quite clear, too much of this sweet stuff is literally killing your body. Frequent illness and infection is a sign that you may secretly sabotaging your immune system.
To sum up, over the long-term, consuming excess sugar speeds up the aging process, which is just a fancy way of describing the body breaking down faster than it can repair itself. And finally, for those of us who want to keep our skin looking young, sugar even plays a role in giving you wrinkles and aging your skin!
Take heart: I’m not suggesting that you never eat sugar, but rather decide to perhaps think about reducing your sugar step by step.
Some simple tips for kicking your sugar habit:
- Eat More Whole Natural Foods
- Eat Balancing Meals with Healthy Fat, Fiber and Clean Protein
- Find Hidden Sources of Sugars in your Daily Foods (read those labels!) and Eliminate Them
Absolutely enjoy and savor your favorite treats on special occasions. But remember that the love we have for our food should not be in conflict with the love we have for ourselves. So realize that the short-term satisfaction from too many sweet treats just isn’t worth the long-term damaging effects on your precious self.