The Dangers Of Sugar
The Dangers Of Sugar
By D. S. Mitchell
When I started writing this article, my intention was to write a quick easy read, nothing in-depth, certainly nothing scientific. Something along the lines of, “Ten Reasons To Kick The Sugar Habit”. That plan was quickly dashed as I read one scary article after another explaining the dangers of sugar consumption. If you are suffering from any of the diseases highlighted in this article, remember, you are not alone. If you want a better, longer life, it is time to take a look at your relationship with sugar in all of its malevolent forms.
THE DANGERS OF SUGAR: PART ONE
Sixty-Five Pounds Annually
The average American consumes 65 pounds of sugar annually without even being aware of it. That information alone should be a heart stopper. The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day and women no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams). On average each of us ingests 19.5 teaspoons or 78 grams a day. Research on the dangers of sugar on health are ongoing, and new information is being constantly being uncovered.
Dangerous And Addictive
If there was ever any doubt about the dangers of sugar they are being put to rest by a series of scientific studies. Research is proving sugar is both dangerous and extremely addictive. A person who drinks one 20 oz sugary beverage every day will cut their life expectancy by nearly five years. That is, comparable to being a regular smoker. If that fact doesn’t get your attention, read on, it gets worse, a whole lot worse.
Just As Bad
Sugar does a lot of damage to our bodies. With all the negative news about sugar is there an alternative? Some people say, “just use a sugar replacement.” Whoa. Evidence is mounting that sucralose, saccharin and aspartame are just as dangerous as sugar. Research shows that sugar replacements injure and destroy the essential microbiome in the gut. Microbiome are the millions of microorganisms inside our bodies that help us stay alive. These microbes protect us against germs, they also break down food to release energy, and produce vitamins.
Find A Garbage Can
To make it clear, sugar substitutes are just as bad as the real thing. In addition to the physical damage products like sucralose do, they are also associated with weight gain and glucose intolerence-the very things people use them to prevent. Those folks trying to cut down on sugar may be drawn to advertised benefits such as “maple syrup’s antioxidant benefits” or “honey’s healing power”. Forget such misinformation. Sugar is sugar, no matter what form it takes. I suggest that no one consume them. Keep them out of the house. If you have any of these sugar substitutes in your cupboard toss them in the closest garbage can.
Highs And Lows
The body’s reaction to sugar is like taking a roller coaster ride; an unending ride to extreme highs, followed by extreme lows, sending the body into a spiral of endless cravings. People report being “hungry all the time”. Descriptions include “being obsessed with food”, and literally feeling “addicted” to food. It makes perfect sense, because everything they eat and drink is loaded with sugar.
The danger of sugar is easy to describe. As the addictive cycle begins, say after you eat a piece of cake, a predictable pattern begins. Blood glucose begins to rise. Then, Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers is released, messaging that everything is “great”. Meanwhile, if you are not a diabetic, your pancreas is busy releasing insulin into your blood stream to help lower the threat of rising blood sugar. High insulin levels signal the body to store fat throughout the body, including the liver. With the release of insulin, blood glucose drops.
Another Piece Of Cake
As the sugar high subsides, your brain begins sending signals that you are ‘hungry’. The ‘false hunger’ signals kick cravings into high gear, demanding another piece of cake. Predictably, as you consume that second piece or cake, or cookie, the sugar driven roller coaster takes the body on another crazy, dizzying ride.
The ups and downs of unstable blood sugar will cause a person to experience mood swings, fatigue, and headaches. As described in the “addictive cycle” unstable blood glucose contributes to cravings, which begins the cycle of “false hunger”. When the body is under stress, it immediately kicks into fight-or-flight mode, releasing large amounts of stimulating hormones. Interestingly, the body has the same chemical response when it detects low blood sugar, created by the insulin response. After eating a sweet snack, stress hormones begin to compensate for the crash, by raising your blood sugar. Unexplained anxiousness, irritability, and even tremors often result. By contrast, those who avoid sugar have fewer cravings, and feel emotionally balanced and energized.
Can’t sleep? Thirty percent of Americans complain of insomnia, or interrupted sleep. Sugar may be keeping you up at night. Researchers have found that eating more sugar, along with less fiber and more saturated fat, is associated with lighter, more disrupted and less restorative sleep. Insomnia has been connected to diabetes, obesity and heart disease. This deadly trio of health conditions, is now being directly tied to sugar consumption.
Sugar And Mental Health
Consuming high-sugar products like cookies, candy and sugary drinks, are associated with a higher risk of depression. Researchers believe that blood sugar swings, neurotransmitter dysfunction, and inflammation may all be reasons for sugar’s detrimental impact on mental health. Sugar in fact, could be making you sad and depressed. Capping off a bad day with a comforting sugar laden snack may make you feel worse in the long run.
A recent Columbia University study found that post-menopausal women whose diets were high in added sugar and refined grains were at a high risk for depression. Study participants, that ate more dietary fiber, whole grains, vegetables, and unprocessed fruits had a decreased risk of depression. In another study, men who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than men who ate less than 40 grams per day.