There's been a lot of talk about the dangers of refined sugars like high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and others. After decades of research, it appears the adverse effects of refined sugars on human health are finally gaining much deserved mainstream attention. According to the CDC, more than 30 percent of adult Americans are obese.  These numbers exploded after health officials began pushing the high-carb, low-fat diet twenty years ago.
The Truth About Sugar
Extensive research on obesity, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and hormone dysfunction reveal sugar isn't just dangerous, it's absolutely toxic.   While it's true that your cells rely on glucose for energy, your body doesn't need refined sugar for anything. Quite the opposite. Despite this, food manufacturers continue to look for new ways to sneak sugar into every last food sold on market shelves. Here's just a few reasons why you should reduce – if not eliminate – sugar from your diet:
Natural Sugars, Not Refined Sugars
When it comes to sugar, if it's not a natural component of the food (like a banana, apple, or honey), chances are it's not a natural dietary sugar. Any sugar extracted from its plant source, processed, and added to food for sweetening purposes is considered refined. This includes the spoonful of raw, organic table sugar many people put in their coffee each morning. Natural sugars occur as starches and complex sugars and are bound to vitamins and minerals. The digestive process uses these nutrients to break this natural sugar down into monosaccharides, a usable nutrient.
For most people, fruits and vegetables don't have the same effect on blood sugar as a candy bar because the fiber in produce tends to slow down the rate at which the sugars are digested and absorbed. Table sugar is created by separating sugar molecules, glucose, sucrose, fructose, etc., from their plant nutrients. This converts them into pure, refined, and empty carbohydrates.
The Other Harmful Effects of Sugar
We know sugar eats through the enamel of teeth and causes cavities, but its damage doesn't stop there. Sugar leaves a path of destruction as it passes through the body, causing inflammation and degradation to blood vessels. It also disrupts the digestive process. When sugar mixes with starches in the stomach, fermentation takes place, creating carbon dioxide, acetic acid, alcohol, and water. Carbon dioxide, acetic acid, and alcohol are all toxic substances.
Sugar causes digesting protein to petrify and creates ptomaines and leucomaines, toxic protein substances. Sugars also kill the friendly bacteria that create vitamin B12, an essential nutrient for energy creation at the cellular level. Symptoms of B12 deficiency include depression, psychosis, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and heart disease.
Refined sugars have no nutritional value and lack the nutrients needed to encourage digestion. So, the body must steal these nutrients from other processes to digest sugar. This creates nutrient imbalances and deficiencies. From there, the sugar enters the bloodstream.
Sugar Rots from the Inside Out
We know high blood sugar causes diabetes, but long before a pre-diabetic condition develops, widespread damage has already occurred. It all starts with one singular component – insulin. The pancreas releases insulin to trigger cells throughout the body to absorb glucose – a monosaccharide sugar – from the blood. The more constant this release of insulin, the more the cells stop listening to it. The liver then takes the excess glucose, converts it to glycogen, and stores it.
As sugar consumption continues, the liver swells and becomes damaged. This condition is known as fatty liver disease, and it's on the rise wherever a carb-based diet is practiced. When the liver can no longer take the glucose, it gets sent to fat cells for storage. Weight gain and diseases follow.
Recent research done by Louisiana State University report those who consume sugar-sweetened beverages have a much higher risk of weight gain, type II diabetes, cardiovascular, and metabolic disease. The reason for this has been identified as the sugar load.
But this shouldn't surprise us. Dr. Weston Price reported decades ago how primitive societies had good teeth and superior health to those in civilized societies on modern diets. Once a group of indigenous peoples were assimilated into modern society, individuals experienced physical degeneration and the onset of chronic disease all within one generation.
How to Avoid Sugar
Those who have given up sugar generally experience greater energy, a more positive mood, and successful weight loss. Plus, abstaining from sugar also reduces the risk of many diseases linked to sugar consumption, like diabetes, obesity, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, cardiovascular disease, depression, skin disorders, allergies, eye concerns, kidney failure, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, hormone imbalance, accelerated aging, and cancer. To go sugar-free, avoid it for two weeks. If you're really ambitious, go for a month. Eat only natural, organic foods, and only use stevia or, better yet, raw organic honey whenever you need a sweetener.
Here's a list of refined sugars to avoid:
- Beet Sugar
- Cane Juice
- Rice Syrup
- Maple Syrup
- Cane Syrup
- Fruit Juice Concentrate
- Corn Syrup
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Davy BM1, Zoellner JM2, Waters CN3, Bailey AN2, Hill JL2.. Associations Among Chronic Disease Status, Participation in Federal Nutrition Programs, Food Insecurity, and Sugar-Sweetened Beverage and Water Intake Among Residents of a Health-Disparate Region. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2015 Feb 9. pii: S1499-4046(15)00004-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2015.01.001.
- Kostecka M1. Eating habits of preschool children and the risk of obesity, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in adults. Pak J Med Sci. 2014 Nov-Dec;30(6):1299-303. doi: 10.12669/pjms.306.5792.
- Bray GA1. Soft drink consumption and obesity: it is all about fructose. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2010 Feb;21(1):51-7. doi: 10.1097/MOL.0b013e3283346ca2.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.