If you know me well then you know that I am practically addicted to sugar. As someone who leads a very healthy lifestyle I have my vices and this is the worst. I could argue that because I’m fit and lean I can get away with this nasty little eating habit but the more research I do, the less I can justify it. Continual research is being done showing that when it comes to the obesity epidemic and the rise of other metabolic disorders (cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes…etc.) sugar seems to be the culprit. Sugar does not only make you fat, its makes you sick.
So why do we overindulge and wreak havoc on our health daily?
Sugar was found in multiple studies to be more addictive than cocaine! All of those cravings you have where you feel like you need to get your sugar fix; they’re real.
No addiction is a good for you, but lets look at what sugar really does to our bodies.
Whenever you eat sugar your blood glucose levels rise and your body responds by stimulating insulin; triggering your body to store fat. The more sugar you eat, the longer your body stays in fat storage mode.
Sugar intake has the ability to suppress your immune system up to 75% or more for 4-6 hours after consumption. Over consumption of sugar makes you more susceptible to illness and can slow your recovery process if you are already sick.
As our blood sugar levels rise our pancreas produces insulin to shuttle the sugar into our cells. Over the years of excess sugar consumption our bodies can become insulin resistant and stop producing insulin all together.
In numerous studies there is a direct correlation between increased sugar consumption and death from cardiovascular disease. When insulin levels spike continuously the endothelial lining of the blood vessels become damaged which creates inflammation. This chronic inflammation is what may eventually lead to heart attack.
When your body digests sugar it changes the ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria in your gut…and not in a good way. Bad bacteria thrives off of sugar and can cause tons of different ailments since they produce all sorts of harmful toxins. Besides feeling run down and low energy, the increase in this toxic bacteria can cause yeast infections, autoimmune disorders, arthritis, heart disease and many other ailments.
Sugar is an empty calorie. When you consume sugar you don’t get any nutrients, vitamins or minerals. In fact sugar depletes the body of zinc, magnesium, potassium and chromium. It literally robs your body of the things you need for good health.
This is just only a few of the problems that over consumption of sugar can cause for you. There are many, many more.
An article written by Nancy Appleton Ph.D featured on Hammernutrition.com gave a slightly more detailed list…
Read it here to scare the crap out of yourself:
Now what kind of sugar are we talking about?
In this case we are talking about refined sugar, or white table sugar. This sugar is known as sucrose. Sucrose is usually derived from sugar cane and besides being a sweetener has no added health benefit. This is the sugar you will find in candies and other processed foods. Other forms of sugar come from fructose and glucose.
“Fruit sugar” is a better alternative to sucrose when you’re getting it from fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have natural vitamin, mineral and fiber components to them so their sugar can play a role in overall health.
What about high-fructose corn syrup? That has fructose in it. This added sweetener is probably worse than just basic table sugar and deserves its own blog post in the near future.
“Blood Sugar” is the body’s preferred source of energy. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose and uses them throughout the body. This is why complex carbohydrates that are naturally non-sucrose containing are important as a fuel source; especially when you’re living a healthy active lifestyle.
Cutting out refined sugars is almost virtually impossible (because Ben and Jerry’s deserves a spot in our lives every now and then) but cutting back on them for our overall health is extremely important. We all need to take a second each day to really think about the food were putting in our body and ask whether it is fueling us or hurting us. If it’s coming from whole food like fruits, veggies, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates then it’s going to help us on our path to better health. If it’s coming from pre packaged foods and candies then its probably doing more harm than good.
Thanks for reading and remember one step for better health each day creates a healthy lifestyle over time.