Sugar, a sweet poison

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by Dr. Tony Vendryes, 9 Oct 2006

The average American consumes an astounding two to three pounds of sugar each week. Sugar consumption has gone from only five pounds per year in 1900 to the current level of 135 pounds per person per year.

This is not surprising as highly refined sugars in the forms of sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar), and high-fructose corn syrup are being quietly processed into many popular foods such as bread, biscuits, breakfast cereal, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and a host of other convenience foods.

Heart disease and cancer were virtually unknown in the early 1900s but we now know that many modern ills may be related to our sweet tooth. Here is a list of some of the consequences of high sugar consumption. These are taken from a variety of medical journals and other scientific publications and are based on medical research.

SUGAR and THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

In the 1970s, researchers found out that vitamin C was needed by white blood cells in high concentrations in order for them to destroy viruses and bacteria. Now glucose and vitamin C both have similar chemical structures, and they compete with one another to enter the white blood cells. If there is excess glucose in the blood, there is going to be less vitamin C allowed into the cells. It doesn't take much: A blood sugar value of 120 reduces the white blood cell function by 75 per cent. So when you eat sugar, be reminded that your immune system may be slowing down to a crawl.

Little wonder that sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of candida (yeast infections) while increasing your risk of infection from many bacteria, fungi and viruses.

THE CANCER LINK

A weak immune system will make you more cancer-prone. Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, lung, gall bladder and stomach. Sugar can impair the structure of your DNA and this will also influence your cancer risk.

BRAIN BLUES

The consumption of refined sugars is associated with fluctuations in blood sugar levels - sometimes high, sometimes low. The brain is almost totally dependent on glucose (blood sugar) for its energy. Many nervous system disorders are related to or made worse by eating sugar. Children are particularly at risk.

These disorders include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety disorders, alcoholism and other addictions, epileptic seizures and migraine headaches. In juvenile rehabilitation camps, when children were put on a low-sugar diet, there was a 44 per cent drop in antisocial behaviour.

Sugar can increase your risk of Alzheimer's disease and researchers found that sugar intake is higher in people with Parkinson's disease.

DIGESTIVE DOLDRUMS

Sugar can cause many problems with the gastrointestinal tract including - GERD (acid reflux disease), indigestion, malabsorption, increased risk of Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis. Sugar can increase the size of your liver by increasing the amount of fat in the liver cells and creating fatty liver disease. Sugar can damage your pancreas and promote constipation. High sugar consumption will also increase your risk of gall stones and gall bladder disease.

METABOLISM

Sugar has the potential of inducing abnormal metabolic processes in a normal healthy individual and to promote chronic degenerative diseases.

Sugar can cause a decrease in your insulin sensitivity, thereby causing abnormally high insulin levels and eventually diabetes. Sugar may also produce a significant rise in total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad cholesterol while decreasing your good cholesterol. It could also increase your risk of gout and is a major cause of obesity.

Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body: causes chromium and copper deficiencies and interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.

It may cause hormonal imbalances such as increasing oestrogen in men, elevating the male hormones (androgens) in women, exacerbating PMS, and decreasing growth hormone levels. Sugar can increase your body's fluid retention.

SUGAR AND AGEING

Sugar can change the structure of protein and cause a permanent alteration of the way those proteins act in your body. Thus, by changing the structure of collagen, a protein in the skin, sugar can make your skin age prematurely. By changing the proteins in the lens of the eye, sugar can cause cataracts. Diets high in sugar will increase free radicals and oxidative stress, known causes of accelerated ageing.

And the half has not been told. What about the effects of sugar on the heart, the blood pressure, the circulation, the blood vessels and your sex life? Don't allow a little sweet to make you really sour.

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