You've probably heard the song that has a line about killing you softly. Well the Health Problems Caused by Sugar are killing you sweetly.
Most of us know, despite the slick ads, that too much sugar is bad for us. The problem is most of us don't know why or do anything about slowing our sugar intake down. There are quite a few health problems caused be sugar that are creating an epidemic in America and other developed countries around the world.
Take a look at some of the ways simple sugars like glucose and high fructose corn syrup mess with your body.
Typically you have about 1-2 teaspoons of sugar in your 6 quarts of blood. Now if you drink a sweetened soda or juice with about 8 teaspoons of sugar and water in it and all that sugar went into your bloodstream you would go into shock, a coma, and possibly die.
Luckily your body has protection devices. Your pancreas injects insulin into your blood to counteract the sugar. This is great and if it only happened every once in a while it would be no big deal. However, with the diets that most of us now consume our insulin levels are always elevated.
Insulin lets cells take in the sugar but with too much sugar the excess gets converted to fat. The increased insulin levels also lead to higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure and a thickening of your arteries.
Also your pancreas was not meant to produce this constant high level of insulin and it can wear out with this heavy use. It cannot make insulin fast enough to handle all the sugar. When the sugar is allowed to stay in the blood for too long it can bind with cell proteins and damage them. The result is the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which causes your tissues and organs to degenerate or age. (so its a fitting acronym)
This whole process creates a vicious cycle -
Excess sugar can disrupt the balance of essential minerals in your body. It can even lead to the depletion of your stored minerals.
One good example of this can be seen with the mineral Calcium. Studies have shown that sugar increases the rate of calcium excretion. This can throw off the calcium-magnesium ratio and the calcium-phosphorus ratio that your body needs.
Because your body wants to maintain a stable environment - known as homeostasis - it goes to its best source of stored calcium - your bones. This can lead to osteoporosis.
If the balance is continually thrown off your body can lose its ability to maintain the proper balances of the essential minerals (just like the pancreas/insulin story above) and this in turn can lead to disease.
Digestion requires that your food get broken down into its essential parts. This takes place because of the function of enzymes.
Eating excess sugar can mess up the balance of essential minerals and that can mess up the function of enzymes.
When your enzymes don't break down the food correctly, undigested food particles can enter you bloodstream. Your immune system sees these particles as foreign invaders and sets your body up to attack those invaders.
Next time you eat that same food your immune system is primed and ready and will attack. This is an immune system response that can show up as a rash, as stomach pains, or other allergy symptoms.
Eating sugars and the foods that you are now becoming allergic to will keep your immune system on constant high alert and put it in overload status. A weak and exhausted immune system is no good to you when a real foreign invader shows up.
So another set of health problems caused by sugar - sickness and even chronic disease.
Beyond the overburdening caused by food allergies and sugar, there have been studies that show how sugar just slows down your immune system.
Loma Linda University did a study on sugar intake and phagocytes.
Phagocytes are special white blood cells that basically engulf or eat foreign viruses and bacteria. They are critical to your immune response.
In the study it was shown that these phagocytes decreased their consumption of invaders dramatically for up to 6 hours after eating sugar.
This is critical if you are feeling ill or you are around people who are ill. Eating sugar can destroy your chance of avoiding the illness and if you already have it sugar can prolong your sickness.
Again this comes down to the disruption and balance of essential minerals within your body.
As your cells go about their daily routine they produce waste. Some of this waste is known as free radicals. Free radicals bind up the oxygen your cells need and can lead to mutations within the cell - this is known as cancer.
Dr. Walberg showed that cells that had 35% of their oxygen removed became cancerous.
Normally your body fights off and neutralizes the free radicals and the toxic effects they can have. But when essential vitamins and minerals are unbalanced or depleted because of excess sugar intake the free radicals are allowed to be (for lack of a better word) free!
Diabetes, Heart Disease, Behavior problems such as ADD - these are just a few of the chronic problems that the FDA associates with high sugar consumption.
According to a report from the 1980's, the FDA warned that sugar consumption of 25% or more of the calories in a typical diet could lead to these chronic diseases and weight gain.
At that time they didn't feel as though Americans were consuming that much sugar so the report was never thought to be critical. However, at the turn of the century Americans were consuming over 150 pounds of sugar per year which is up to 40% of the caloric intake of a typical person.
More and more people are turning to artificial sweeteners like aspartame and splenda to satisfy their sweet cravings. This is not a good solution. There are definite health problems caused by sugar but artificial replacements open up a whole new chapter in toxic diseases.
Artificial sweeteners are man made chemicals that started out as mistakes and accidents during research to find things like pesticides...
Is that what you want to be putting in your coffee every morning?