For most people, some added sugar in the diet is fine and will not cause short or long term health issues. In small quantities, the body has several mechanisms for using sugar effectively and disposing of the excess.
However, the problem that most of us face is the realization that “some” is not a whole lot when you understand everything that has added sugar. In fact, the average American consumes 66 POUNDS of added sugar every year! Some of the most surprising foods that are high in added sugar are low-fat yogurt, condiments (ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc.), spaghetti sauce, granola, protein bars, as well as flavored coffees, teas & smoothies.
So what’s the big deal, you may ask? Will a little sugar here and there really make a difference in my health? The answer is a resounding yes!
About 20 years ago, Nancy Appleton, PhD, began researching all of the ways in which sugar affects our health. She has continually updated and expanded the list as her research goes on, and it now includes 144 points. Here is a sampling of what she has found (the entire list can be found here):
- Sugar can suppress your immune system.
- Sugar eaten during pregnancy and lactation can influence muscle force production in offspring, which can affect an individual’s ability to exercise.
- Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
- Sugar causes a decline in tissue elasticity and function – the more sugar you eat, the more elasticity and function you lose.
- Sugar can lead to or is a risk factor for cancer of the ovaries, lungs, prostate, breast, small intestine, stomach, rectum, gallbladder, pancreas and kidneys.
- Sugar can lead to an acidic digestive tract.
- Sugar is frequently malabsorbed in patients with functional bowel disease.
- Sugar can cause premature aging.
- Sugar can cause arthritis.
- Sugar can cause heart disease.
- Sugar causes food allergies.
- Sugar can impair the structure of DNA.
And on and on it goes…
Our bodies have the capacity to deal with a lot of unhealthy habits and exposure to toxins, but every system has a limit. Sugar consumption and other unhealthy habits must be limited and balanced out with nourishing foods & activities that help the body heal if you want to live a long, healthy life.