Just Say NO to Sugar

Sugar is getting some bad press recently.  It’s consumption has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Sugar raises triglyceride levels, promotes cavities, lowers your immune system, feeds bacteria, yeast, and some cancers.  Simply put, sugar is devastating to your health.  According to Dr. Mercola, sugar is more addictive than cocaine, so no wonder it is the “largest source of calories for Americans.”  

Many American “drink” their calories.  Just think about all the sugar in fancy coffee drinks, ice teas, soda, and fruit juices. Water, black coffee, and tea contain none.  One can of soda equals about 140 calories of sugar.  I was taught in chiropractic school, that the amount of sugar in one can of soda can lower your immune system by about 70% for the next four hours after you have consumed it.  The American Heart Association and the Mayo Clinic guidelines for sugar intake daily is as follows: women- 100 calories a day on a 2000 calorie diet ( this equals 6 teaspoons of sugar) and for men – 150 calories a day on a 2000 calorie diet (this equals 9 teaspoons of sugar). 

All fruits and most vegetables have some natural sugar and that is OK in some quantities.  However, what I want you to really watch is added sugars like granulated sugar, honey, agave, high fructose corn syrup, and molasses.  As a side note, granulated sugar comes from two sources: the sugar beet (a root) and cane sugar (a tropical grass). 95% of sugar beets are genetically modified while pure cane sugar is not.  Proteins contain less than 1 gram of sugar per serving.  Grains with the least sugar are brown rice, barley, bulgar and popcorn.  Veggies with the least amount are olives, turnips, beets, asparagus, spinach, collard greens, endive and lettuce.  Dairy with the least sugar is cottage cheese, fresh mozzarella, and blue cheese.  Years ago, nutritionists used the term glycemic index which meant how fast the body converted starches and sugars after they are eaten to raise blood glucose levels. This term is not used as much since it can be misleading because blood glucose levels can be different depending on if a fat or a protein is consumed with the carbohydrate.  In essence though, the above lists of foods are low on the glycemic index and don’t spike your blood glucose levels as quickly.

In summary, avoid any beverages other than water, black coffe and tea, avoid added sugars, and watch the sugar content or glycemic index of natural foods to avoid raising blood glucose levels.  At all costs, NEVER replace added sugars with artificial sweeteners.  Artificial sweeteners are poisonous to your body, especially your nervous system and encourage weight gain by tricking your brain into thinking you are hungry.