Most of us wake up, innocently grabbing a glass of boxed orange juice or (eesh!) even a glass of pop. We jump in our cars and leisurely drive to Tim Horton’s or Starbuck’s drive-through and order our regular ‘Large double doubles’ and a muffin or doughnut. We get to the office and before you know it, lunchtime rolls around and Kathy from the next cubicle brought cupcakes in for everyone. This leads to the ‘crash’ that comes around 3pm and sends you reaching for another coffee and a cookie…feeding the vicious cycle. What if it wasn’t the coffee come-down that makes you feel jittery, headache-y and tired? What if it was your blood sugar surging like a volcano and then crashing like a wave hitting the sand that brought on the depression? Why is it so easy to overeat and even easier to put on weight? How bad is sugar really? Does it play a role in the development of many of the diseases that are unavoidably apparent today? Can our widespread overuse of this nutritionally-empty additive truly be considered an epidemic addiction?
I would like to start by stating that as awful as refined sugar is, it is not the only component that makes processed foods extremely unhealthy and often downright toxic. There are a plethora of dangerous chemical additives used in our lab-made packaged foods that are as, if not more toxic to human health than sugar but addressing them all would require a much larger blog and so the focus today is on sugar. Refined sugar is not to be mixed up with natural sugars such as raw sugar cane, coco palm and the natural fructose found in most fruits. What I am referring to in this article is the white sugar, brown sugar, table syrup, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and all other synthetically produced or derived forms of processed sugar. So why is refined sugar so bad?
To begin, with few exceptions, refined sugar is derived from genetically modified crops such as sugar beets and corn. GMO’s are fairly new in the history of agriculture and because of this, long term side effects from human consumption have not and cannot be determined. In my opinion, they are a dangerous and damaging environmental experiment and completely go against the laws of nature’s DNA coding. If you don’t know what it is capable of doing to you, DO NOT CONSUME IT! I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not want to find out too late that I have been irreversibly damaged by something I ingested. So knowing where refined sugar comes from, and that it is from an unnatural, unstable source, what else does it do in the body that causes so much damage?
In an article I read about toxic foods: “Dr. Martin classified refined sugar as a poison because it has been depleted of its life forces, vitamins and minerals. In addition, eating sugar is actually worse than eating nothing because it drains and leaches the body of precious vitamins and minerals through the demand its digestion, detoxification and elimination makes upon one’s entire system”. Refined sugar is extremely acidic and therefore robs and utilizes vital minerals and nutrients normally stored in the organs and bones such as calcium and sodium to neutralize the heavy acidity. Acidosis has been linked to increased chances of disease such as cardiac illness, cancer and inflammation (ex: Rheumatoid arthritis). Eating refined sugar also feeds pathogenic microbes in our guts, causing intestinal flora imbalances and hence long term damage to proper digestion and nutrient absorption. Having a healthy gut flora is necessary to our overall health and its imbalances lead to internal toxicity, improper digestion and thus nutritional deficiencies. Damaged gut flora leads to inabilities to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter, whose deficit is linked to depression and anxiety. Processed sugar also causes severe immune system suppression. A healthy immune system can neutralize 12 pathogenic bacteria with one single white blood cell. This is powerful. After consuming two teaspoons of refined sugar (the amount in a small dbl. dbl. coffee), the immune system is paralysed by half, meaning that one white blood cell can now only neutralize 6 bacteria. The more sugar is consumed, the worse the immunologic effect. Interestingly to note is that consuming just one sachet of the excitotoxin Aspartame, damages the immune system so badly that the body then needs two white blood cells to kill just 1 bacterium! Our immune system’s protect us every minute of every day and deserve to be nourished and supported, not poisoned!
The consumption of refined sugar also plays a huge role in obesity and overeating. Blood sugar spikes caused by its consumption stimulate the body to store fat and the crashes that come shortly after, stimulate us to eat again, leading to overeating. Sugar is also linked to diabetes and pancreatic abnormalities. The pancreas is responsible for producing both digestive enzymes to aid in proper digestion and in releasing insulin to help regulate blood sugar levels. Denatured sugar has no natural live enzymes and causes severe blood sugar spikes, therefore overworking the pancreas in every way. This cause’s breaking down of the organs tissues, potentially leading to pancreatitis, diabetes and even pancreatic cancer.
Moral of the story: Not only is refined sugar extremely toxic for you but it steals plenty of good from within your body every single time it is consumed, literally setting up the ideal environment for disease! There are hundreds of health problems linked to its consumption and not a single benefit! If you are looking for that one thing you can do to make a HUGE difference in your health, stay far away from all empty, processed and refined foods/ sugars. If you are like me and enjoy the taste of sweet delicacies, swap all of your white sugar ingredients to organic raw coco palm, cane or date sugar. Your tongue will not know the difference, but your cells, blood and immune system will thank you! A great book on the subject is Sugar Blues by William Dufty.