Monday, October 5, 2009

Refined Sugar: Not so sweet to the health

"No dessert until you finish your dinner" is a common dinner table command we've all been subject to. As a kid, I always used to wonder why we couldn't eat dessert first and why there was a huge discrepancy between portion sizes of green bean casserole and chocolate chip cookies. It never seemed fair. In fact, it still doesn't. However, I now understand the science behind sugar creating the valid parental concerns of hyper children and cavities among other dangers. These are the not-so-sweet effects of refined sugar:
  • Immune System Suppression- Because of the unnatural chemical structure and industrial contaminants of refined sugar, our immune systems recognize it as a toxic foreign agent and has been shown to increase the vitality and number of white blood cells. It also depresses the body's energy field and makes blood more acidic, which increases the body's susceptibility to toxins, viruses and bacteria. Once the body has a bacteria (like a yeast infection), the sugar feeds it! In addition, the abnormally large quantities of insulin secreted to balance blood sugar upon sugar consumption suppresses the release of growth hormone, which in turn creates immune deficiency.
  • Mineral Leeching- Since sugar is nutritionally "naked," the body is forced to borrow minerals, nutrients and vitamins from other areas to metabolize it. The leeching of calcium from the teeth creates cavities and the excretion of potassium and magnesium from the body can contribute to heart disease.
  • Obesity- When too much sugar is consumed, the liver converts the extra sugar molecules to triglycerides and stores them as fat or cholesterol, contributing to obesity.
  • Behavioral disorders?- Although the disorders and disabilities are up for debate, get this: Chronic violence in prisons was reduced by eliminating refined sugar and starches from the prisoners' cafeteria diets.Crazy, eh?! Plus, there have been links made between sugar and ADHD in children (although nothing has been confirmed).
  • Type II Diabetes- Since the pancreas has to work hard to secrete insulin for sugar metabolism, an excess work overload causes it to shut down, just as any machine would shut down if it is being jammed with more work than it is built for.
But before you go into a depression with the depressing knowledge, you should know you are not doomed. There ARE good sugars (see next blog)! And remember, any extreme measure that causes mental turmoil like completely avoiding refined sugar produces more negative effects for your body through stress than just eating the darn Snickers bar. The key is moderation.