All About Sugar
by Kristina Law
© May 2017
What is sugar?
Sugar is a classification of carbohydrates. They are used in the body to make energy. But not all sugar is the same.
Negative effects of sugar
Sugar is so damaging that there are many, many books, studies and articles dedicated to the matter. Here are some of the highlights:
a) Sugar suppresses your immune system, increasing chances of developing or contracting diseases.
b) Sugar actively feeds infections including viruses, parasites, bacteria, yeast, and fungi.
c) Sugar feeds cancer cells (and everyone has cancer cells).
d) Sugar causes a rapid rise of adrenaline which can result in hyperactivity, anxiety, panic attacks, difficulty concentrating and trouble sleeping.
e) Sugar feeds bacteria in your mouth which contributes to tooth decay.
f) Sugar can cause an acidic environment in your mouth, which also contributes to tooth decay and periodontal disease.
g) Sugar causes the pancreas to produce large amounts of insulin, which stresses the pancreas and contributes to hypoglycemia and diabetes. Hypoglycemia then causes sugar cravings to get worse and the cycle continues.
h) The increase in insulin quantity accelerates the breakdown of cells and collagen throughout the body. This cellular breakdown is also known as “aging”. So sugar makes you age faster.
i) Sugar can cause weight gain and obesity, which in turn also contributes to heart disease and diabetes.
j) Sugar consumption is linked to increased hypertension (high blood pressure).
k) If you eat too much sugar, your kidneys have to filter it out. This can cause kidney stress.
l) Sugar interferes with the absorption of calcium and magnesium.
m) Sugar uses up certain essential minerals (such as chromium, zinc, calcium, and copper) causing deficiencies in the body, which can further contribute to everything from hair loss and yellowing teeth to heart disease and osteoporosis.
n) Sugar has been linked to MANY, MANY MORE illnesses and conditions…!
If I had to isolate the most important thing for people to do in their diets, I would say to cut out the sugar.
A little science about sugar:
There are several types of sugar but the two most important ones to discuss are glucose and fructose. Glucose is what people mean when they talk about blood sugar. Fructose is commonly referred to as “fruit sugar”. Most other sugars you eat turn into glucose.
Sugar is added to almost everything!
When most people think of sugar, they think of candy bars and desert. Some even go so far as to think of soda as sugar, but today, most package foods have added sugar — even “natural” or “healthy” foods!
Even “healthy” foods can be killing you…
One trick that companies do to make a food seem healthier is to include “real fruit” in the ingredients. Don’t be fooled. Fruit has sugar. Just 1/4 cup of raisins has about 21 grams of sugar. That’s over 5 teaspoons of sugar — almost 2 tablespoons of sugar! Similarly, 1/4 cup of dates has about 23 grams of sugar. Again, almost 2 tablespoons of sugar! The high sugar content of these fruits is why many companies use them instead of just plain sugar.
Not all sugar is the same — but they’re pretty darn close!
I hear all the time: “But I thought fruit is the ‘good’ kind of sugar.” There is no “good” sugar! Fructose is what people commonly call “fruit sugar”. Fructose is a type of sugar that is harder for one’s body to process since it can only be processed by the liver. While fructose is considered safe for people with diabetes because it doesn’t raise blood sugar as much, it’s actually extremely hard on the liver.
Honey and molasses do have some healthful benefits, like enzymes and nutrients that table sugar don’t have, but they are still sugar. They have almost equal parts glucose and fructose.
The proportions of fructose and glucose in agave varies wildly from company to company and plant to plant. It is highly unregulated, so it is impossible to tell what the fructose content is without testing each sample individually. In general, though, the proportion of fructose is much higher than other sugars out there.
Don’t be fooled by the different names…
There are more than 60 different names for sugars used on various food labels. These include: sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, agave, honey, sugar cane, barley malt, cane syrup, beet sugar, brown sugar, cane juice, cane juice crystals, caramel, coconut palm sugar, date sugar, fruit juice, mannose, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, etc. These are all just types of sugar.
I’m not saying fruit is all bad.
Fiber in fruit and vegetables — and even grains, can be very beneficial. It feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut which are crucial to your immune system, healthy mental state and more. It also triggers the hormones which tell your brain that you are full! It helps keep your bowel regular (reduces constipation). There are also a lot of nutrients in the fiber that aren’t in the fruit itself. That’s why I always tell people:
EAT THE RINDS!
Yes, you read that correctly. If you are going to eat fruit, eat the rinds and skins of bananas, apples, kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, watermelon, pineapple, and other fruits. It’s tougher than the fruit itself, so make sure you chew it well. You could also use it in salad dressings or in other recipes.
Sugar is necessary to life, but we get far, far too much.
There are varying amounts of sugar in most things. Even leafy green vegetables have sugars, but the amount is very, very small.
Are there any sweeteners that are ok?
Stevia and Monk Fruit.
Sugar and exercise
Exercise makes your muscles and bones use sugar better.