The Dangers Of Sugar

The Dangers Of Sugar

The dangers of sugar are not obvious. The danger comes with the amount and daily intake

The dangers of sugar are compounded by repeated use. Sugar works slowly, its devastating results often taking years to manifest themselves in measurable ways, such as diabetes.

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.

Addictive Cycle

High sugar intake sends the body into a crazy, roller coaster ride of ups and downs.

The danger of sugar is easy to describe, it is addictive, sharing all the highs and lows of  any other addictive drug.

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.

Mood Swings

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.

Sleeplessness

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.

Increased Depression

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.

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Prepared For Disaster

Disasters are a frequent thing. Over the last twelve  months the need to be ready for a disaster has become ever more obvious, as headlines of school shootings, fires, category 5 hurricanes and earthquakes send terrified, often unprepared citizens, running for their lives. No one is immune to disaster, but being prepared can be the difference between death and survival. Do you have a disaster preparedness plan?

Mental preparation. Reality check time. It is important to acknowledge that disasters happen and that you and everyone you love is also at potential risk. Once that knowledge is accepted, making preparations becomes the only reasonable action. Find out what happens in your community. Know where the emergency shelters are. If there are obvious hazards about your home remove them or make needed repairs. Check your smoke detectors and be sure to change batteries at least once a year.

Be ready for an emergency.  You never know when such events will occur. The recent hurricane evacuations highlight our need to be ready for such events, day or night. Over the last year we have seen the devastation and chaos caused by Michael, Florence, Irma and Maria.  It can happen anytime, anywhere.  In my little corner of the world, the North Oregon coast, we are often subject to evacuation orders because of tsunamis, earthquakes, fires, floods and even a rare tornado.

Prepare emergency supplies. No matter where you live there is always the possibility that you will be forced to move quickly out of harm’s way. Not all incidents of danger are natural in cause, often these tragedies are man-made disasters, such as terrorist attacks and toxic spills. At such time, power, water, phone and transportation services will most likely be out of service. If you own a car keep the tank at least half full.

Keep phone numbers. You will need to have numbers of friends and family close by and far away. You will need emergency phone numbers. Did you know that text messaging may be more reliable than telephone voice service.

Others may need help. Is there an elderly neighbor or an infirm family member that might need extra assistance? Be sure that you also have a local map. Planning for such an event is the first step to survival.

Rehearse your escape. Be aware of your buildings exits, as well as the emergency plan of your children’s school. Set up family meeting places-the school or the library-one inside your neighborhood and one outside your neighborhood. Walk the distance making sure that each family member is physically capable of making the trek.

Don’t Delay.In many cases when confronted with an emergency people don’t panic, in fact they will often be in denial and will intentionally delay evacuation. If authorities order evacuation, do not dally, leave immediately. Let friends know where you are, you don’t want anyone risking their life trying to find you.

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Please Stay, Suicide Is Permanent

Please Stay, Suicide Is Permanent

Please Stay, Suicide Is Permanent

D. S. Mitchell

Just The Facts

If you are between 15-35, suicide is the second leading cause of death for your age group.  For all age groups, suicide is responsible for more deaths than murder and natural disasters, combined.  Men take their own lives four times as often as women. Many men sadly would rather be dead than seem ‘weak.’

Those Left Behind

As you can see, suicide is not a rare, or isolated event. It is very real and definitely permanent, and it leaves those who are left behind, in utter despair. For them the suicide event is plagued by stigma, guilt and self-recrimination. The most common question from those left behind is, “what could I have done differently?”

A Societal Contract

Suicide is like the tentacles of an octopus wrapping itself around all of us, casting doubt on hope, and future.  It tears at our social fabric and brings into question society’s compact with the individual.  Whether spoken or unspoken, we as people, are part of a greater society.  As a society, we have agreed to a collective future, a means to provide for our children, to continue our culture, to sustain our existence at all cost. Jennifer Michael Hecht wrote,  Stay: A History of Suicide and the Arguments Against it. And in her words,  “Either the universe is a cold dead place with solitary sentient beings, or we are all alive together, committed to persevere.”

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