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Health Effects of Sugar

Updated on July 14, 2014
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It tastes oh so good and associated with happy childhood memories. But sadly there are no benefits to sugar and it is a known cause and contributor to over 140 health problems.

From suppressing your immune system and cancer, to obesity and joint pain, sugar is more trouble than it's worth.

Sugar is commonly used as rewards and treats, but it is also cheap and freely available and it is a major contributor of the obesity and disease epidemic of the western world. Luckily there are some yummy alternatives. Keep reading to find out more~

Sugar Fact: Did You Know?

3oz (90g) of sugar will reduce your immune system to 50% for around five hours.

As little as 18grams (just over 1/2 ounce)~about half a can of regular coke~ is enough to reduce your antibody production.

Sugar Effects On Health

The reason sugar is linked to so many health problems is mainly because it disrupts hormones, suppresses your immune system and interferes with the absorption of nutrients.

Your immune system is a delicate machine where your lymph nodes and fluid work hard to eliminate toxins from your body. Because sugar is basically pure toxin, it overloads the lymph system. Not only this but sugar raises your insulin levels, blocking growth hormones and slowing down your immune system~ making you at more risk of becoming ill, from a common cold to cancer.

Nutrients are essential for us to be healthy, feel and look good. Sugar does not contain any useful nutrients itself and actually interferes with the absorption of vitamins and minerals such as calcium and magnesium. So for your body to digest sugar it has to look to the stores of nutrients your body already has. Instead of giving you energy, fighting illness or keeping your system clean, your nutrients are sent to combat the effects of sugar.

Depression is a big problem in the western world now and I think the fact we have such a big sugar dependence is no coincidence. Sugar increases insulin demand and as mentioned before prevents nutrients being absorbed, including B vitamins which are essential for hormone balance.

Obesity is now a pandemic and for the first time there are now more obese people in the world than starving. It is now the biggest health problem in the modern and developing world and it is completely man-made. Sugar is the biggest contributor to this. It inhibits the hormone that tells us when we are full, so we overeat. It also causes fatigue and joint pain, making us less likely to be active.

Health Problems Sugar Is Known To Cause Or Contribute To:

 
 
 
Diabetes
Obesity
Depression
Cancers
Joint Pain
Low Immune System
Arthritis
Cell Damage
Food Allergies
Gall Stones
Nutrient Malabsorbtion
ADHD & ADD
Heart Disease
Tooth Decay
Wrinkles
Fatty Liver
Ulcers
Fluid Retention
Inflammation
Dehydration
Headaches
This is just an example of how dangerous sugar is and is by no means an exhaustive list. For more details please read 'Suicide by Sugar' by Nancy Appleton PhD & G.N. Jacobs

Look Out For Hidden Sugars

Any processed food probably has added sugars. One of the most scary is in baby formula. One UK supermarket brand, intended for new born babies, sell cartons for one complete meal and each one contains 7.2g of sugar. A baby will be feed every 2-4 hours, so that's 43.2-86.4g of sugar a day for a new born baby! The recommended amount for an adult is 90g a day which is still enough to cause a lot of damage.

Read labels carefully and try to avoid anything processed. Low fat foods and sodas are the worst, using sugar to make them more palatable. Junk food, salad dressings and seasonings also contain added sugar~ if in doubt, read the label!

Replacement For Sugar

So if sugar is a no-no what can you eat instead to get that sweet taste? The bad news is not much. You're best off getting your sugars from fruit and vegetables in their raw state as these will also contain a lot of nutrients and fibre to help you process them.

Sweeteners, such as Aspartame (Splenda) and Sorbitol are known to be extremely dangerous (more so than sugar itself) and cause health problems from headaches and irritability to brain tumors and fertility problems.

Honey, though high in nutrients, is still absorbed by the body quickly. There is much debate as to whether honey is a must for it's healing properties, or unhealthy because it is still regarded as a 'simple' sugar. I personally believe that raw honey in small quantities is beneficial and an ideal alternative.

Fruit juice, is not ideal as it has had the fibre removed and is a high dose of sugar in a small portion. Where your body does not have to work to break down the food (as that has already been done for you by juicing the fruit), you get an insulin spike and a massive sugar rush just as with table sugar.

Other sweeteners such as Xylitol and Stevia are much debated. Both from natural sources, many claim they are safe sweeteners. Xylitol in particular is claimed to be safe for diabetics due to it's low Glycemic Index and in fact protects teeth against decay.

Source

Sugar Consumption

Back in 1700 the average person consumed about 7 1/2 pounds (lbs) of sugar every year and most of that would have come from pure and natural sources such as fruit.

Today the average is a shocking 150lbs a year! That's just under 3lbs every week, with most of it coming from highly refined sources such as white sugar and high-fructose corn syrup added to processed foods. One can of coke now contains the equivalent of 10 cubes of sugar. We don't taste it as too sweet because it is there to balance out the taste of salt, caffeine and phosphoric acid which are there to make us addicted and more thirsty to buy more of the product.

Then of course there's our obsession with all things candy and cake. It's never been trendier to open a cupcake shop or create huge dioramas covered in candy for special occasions.

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    • Kukata Kali profile image

      Kukata Kali 3 years ago

      This is a great hub. I just mentioned the importance of letting the sugar go in my newest hub as well. Great info :)