Sugar consumption in the United States is at an all-time high, with the average American eating about eighty pounds of it annually! For some of us, that is more than half of our body weight per year. One pound of sugar is roughly 2500 calories, or just less than a pound in our body. By eliminating processed sugar a person can potentially lose up to 23 pounds in one year!
Sugar can be found in sodas, cakes and candy bars, but it is also found in other processed foods such as whole grain bread, salad dressings, fruit juice and sports drinks — food items which we usually believe are healthy for us.
As we continue to eat more sugary food, it’s more important than ever to be aware of the side effects of sugar.
Some of the things that sugar can do that affect a person’s health are:
- Sugar can suppress a person’s immune system.
As little as one teaspoon of sugar can weaken a person’s immune system for up to four hours. Twelve teaspoons of sugar, the amount in most sodas, can paralyze a person’s white blood cells for up to four hours.
- Sugar can interfere with calcium absorption.
A lack of properly absorbed calcium can cause or worsen osteoporosis. The United States is the leading consumer of milk and calcium supplements, but also has the highest amount of osteoporosis. The solution is not in milk or calcium, but in adjusting our Standard American Diet.
- Sugar can put a person at an increased risk of heart disease.
Sugar produces significant rise in triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol), and decrease HDL (good cholesterol). This net effect on LDL, HDL, and triglycerides can cause heart disease.
- Sugar feeds cancer cells.
Cancer cells thrive in the acidic environment created by sugar which is connected with breast, ovarian, prostate, rectum, pancreas, biliary tract, lung, gallbladder and stomach cancers.
- Sugar can cause autoimmune diseases.
Autoimmune diseases includes arthritis, asthma, MS, and lupus. Most autoimmune diseases are caused by inflammation or acidic conditions within the body.
- Sugar can cause behavioral issues.
Sugar causes a rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating and crankiness in children, and is a major factor in ADD and ADHD.
- Sugar can cause a loss of tissue elasticity and function.
Sugar increases the aging process in the skin and the inability to maintain muscle mass and a healthy body composition.
- Sugar changes the structure of protein.
Once protein is changed there is a permanent alteration of the way the proteins act in your body occurs.
- Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (systemic yeast infections).
Candida can be responsible for food and environmental sensitivities, chronic fatigue, skin rashes, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue and a host of other conditions.
- Sugar can weaken eyesight.
Sugar can lead to poor blood circulation which deprives eyes of much needed oxygen.
- Sugar can cause a host of other issues throughout the body.
These other issues can include gallstones, appendicitis, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, increases in systolic blood pressure, and a decline in Vitamin E levels.
What are some simple ways to cut back on side effects of sugar?
Some simple ways to cut back on the side effects of processed sugar is to avoid candy, cakes, soda, and cookies. Take steps to decrease all processed foods in your diet. Sugar can be added in the most unsuspecting places. Drink more water and eat more whole fruits and vegetables, nut and seeds, and beans and legumes. Read labels and watch for other names for sugar, such as high fructose corn syrup. Remember the side effects of sugar go beyond decaying teeth; your physiology can be negatively affected and so can your health.
At Colorado Center for Health and Nutrition, we perform blood chemistry evaluations that help to determine which organs or body systems have been affected by your lifestyle and eating habits. With this data we can tailor a program to fit your needs and to address your specific condition.
Talk to Dr. Kim Bruno to develop an eating strategy that is beneficial to you and your long term health.
Visit the Colorado Center of Health and Nutrition website for more information about integrative nutrition and functional healthcare, along with links to patient forms and other information.