Sugar Ain't So Sweet After All!

by DavalosMcCormack on July 2, 2009

Sugar is probably one of the most popular ingredients in cooking. It makes everything, well almost everything, taste better. No wonder it’s in virtually everything we eat, even in foods we wouldn’t ordinarily think contained any – such as a Big Mac, ketchup, even peanut butter.

The average American eats 156 lbs of sugar every year, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Think about that. 156 lbs, that’s 31 5lb bags of sugar. It’s no wonder obesity is such a big problem in this country. Back in 1890 we only consumed 5lbs per person per year. Nowadays we get through that in about 2 weeks.

But obesity is not the only problem caused by consuming too much sugar. In her book, Lick The Sugar Habit, Nancy Appleton Ph.D. lists 76 ways that sugar is bad for you. Obesity is only #13 on that list. Here’s the first ten.

  1. Sugar can suppress your immune system and impair your defenses against infectious disease.
  2. Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body: causes chromium and copper deficiencies and interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
  3. Sugar can cause can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children.
  4. Sugar can produce a significant rise in total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad cholesterol and a decrease in good cholesterol.
  5. Sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and function.
  6. Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, biliary tract, lung, gallbladder and stomach.
  7. Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose and can cause reactive hypoglycemia.
  8. Sugar can weaken eyesight.
  9. Sugar can cause many problems with the gastrointestinal tract including: an acidic digestive tract, indigestion, malabsorption in patients with functional bowel disease, increased risk of Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
  10. Sugar can cause premature aging.

Even without the other 66 reasons it’s a pretty scary and depressing list, one that could frighten even the sweetest tooth into cutting back (which is a good idea because #76 is that it causes gum disease)

Manufacturers not only pack foods with sugar, they also try and disguise the fact  by giving them different names from dextrose and sucrose to fructose, diatose and molasses (if you want to see the dozens of other ‘names’ check this out) Whatever the name, the end result is the same, extra calories in your diet, extra problems for your body to have to deal with.

Let’s just take one part in particular, the liver. When you eat whole foods, even fruits rich in sugar, the fibre and other elements in the food allow the liver to absorb the sugar at a comfortable rate.

However, if you just consume sugar without the fiber that slows down its absorption then you flood the liver with it. Over time that can damage the liver, causing liver cells to divide and the organ to expand. If you do that to excess you can destroy your liver.

And you don’t even have to do that for too many years to see the impact. In just the past couple of years two 15 year old boys underwent liver transplants at the University of California San Francisco after basically destroying their livers by drinking a dozen or so sodas a day. 15 years old. And they had no other underlying risk factors, no family history. Just a sugar habit.

So next time you are staring at the vending machine wondering what soda to buy, think about those 15 year old kids, think about their liver, think about your own liver, think about those 76 reasons why sugar is bad for you.

Think about it. Doesn’t taste quite so good now does it?

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