Are you wondering why I challenged you to give up sugar this month? I did this because I really, truly believe that it is one thing you can do for yourself and your family to positively impact your health. In this post I’m going to give you 10 great reasons to give up sugar (but there are more and you don’t have to look too far to find them).
1. Sugar makes you fat, sick, and malnourished
When we eat sugar (really, any carbohydrates) it gets turned into glucose. Excess glucose gets turned into triglycerides in our livers and then stored in fat cells. Sugar makes us fat. No, it isn’t dietary fat’s fault. It is sugar’s fault.
Sugar leeches minerals from your body and makes you over-fat. You become simultaneously malnourished and fat. Don’t think you’re out of the woods if you’re thin, however. It’s entirely possible to be thin, sick (even if you don’t know it yet), and malnourished. Some individuals have genes that enable them to stay thin despite a terrible diet.
2. Sugar causes insulin resistance which often leads to diabetes
When insulin levels are continuously high due to high blood glucose levels, this causes insulin resistance. When this happens, your body won’t respond well to lower levels of insulin, and more glucose will get stored as fat. Once you’ve developed insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes is just a step away. Make no mistake, type 2 diabetes is completely preventable and controllable with diet alone.
3. Cancer feeds on sugar
In 1955 Nobel laureate Otto Warburg discovered cancer feeds on glucose cells. Since then, more research has displayed that you can activate cancer cell death by depriving the cells of glucose. This is done through a very strict ketogenic diet. Not only are individuals using this type of diet to help treat cancer, but also to help avoid cancer (particularly in those who have a history or family history of cancer).
4. Alzheimer’s Disease
Individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to be afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Diabetes doesn’t cause cancer, but more and more research is uncovering that they have the same cause—consumption of foods that alter the role of insulin in the body. Alzheimer’s is actually being dubbed type 3 diabetes by many.
5. Heart Disease
One of the biggest myths perpetrated is that dietary fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. This could not be farther from the truth. The true dietary villains are any foods that increase inflammation in your body. When your body is inflamed it produces more cholesterol to help take care of the problem. Sugar is one of the big villains in this instance.
6. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Instances of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease has doubled in the US in in just the last 20 years. This corresponds with the continued over-consumption of sugar in this country.
7. Sugar suppresses the immune system
Sugar suppresses your immune system. It does this using a number of different mechanisms:
- It interferes with Vitamin C transportation (double-check that bottle of Vitamin C to make sure there is no added sugar)
- White blood cells have a reduced ability to kill germs in the presence of sugar.
- The impact of fatty acids are neutralized when sugar is in your system. This makes your cells more permeable and susceptible to infection.
8. Sugar plays a role in mental disorders.
The brain is the most sensitive organ in our bodies to sugar. The extreme insulin spikes and the nutrient-leeching quality of sugar can cause major problems in the brain. This is why sugar has been linked to such disorders as anxiety, depression, and even schizophrenia. If you suffer from any of these problems, it would behoove you to keep your blood glucose levels stable.
9. Sugar destroys your teeth
I’m sure it doesn’t surprise anyone that sugar destroys your teeth. The combination of sugar, saliva, and bacteria creates the perfect storm for tooth decay. Want to keep your teeth in your head and avoid expensive medical bills—cut the sugar.
10. Sugar can cause significant mood and behavioral problems in children.
Because sugar impacts the brain in such a dynamic way, children are particularly susceptible to problems from sugar. Consumption of sugar manifests itself differently in different children. It can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, concentration difficulties, crankiness, and/or drowsiness. Children suffer when this happens they perform poorly in school or extra-curricular activities, they get in trouble, and don’t get along with peers.
Hopefully this list is enough to convince you that sugar isn’t just innocuous pretty white crystals. Be sure to check out 6 Ways to Cut Sugar and Still Enjoy Food for some helpful pointers to get you going!