The urgent message I want to relay to my friends and family are the facts behind sugar and how it’s making us all so sick in the body and mind. We are living in a time where sugar is killing many Americans. Cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, auto-immune diseases and Alzheimer’s (also known as type 3 diabetes) are at an all time high. Diabetes has become an epidemic with more than 29 million adults and children diagnosed in the US and over 400 million people worldwide. The American Diabetes Association has listed these numbers with the total cost of diabetes being a staggering $322 billion in the US in just one year. Never before in the history of mankind has there been an emergency need to lower blood sugar. We are inundating our bodies with sugar and refined carbohydrates. The average American eats 140 lbs of sugar per year! More people are dying today from sugar than the total amount of soldiers that died in World War 1 and 2. Just think about those numbers!
My personal experience with refined sugar and eliminating it from my diet was truly eye opening. Detoxing from sugar was intense and difficult. It wasn’t easy but I am grateful that I went through with it and continue to abstain from it as best as I can. With the constant respiratory infections I was getting from Candida and my chronic fatigue I was struggling with after my Rocky Mt Spotted Fever infection, I had no choice but to get rid of sugar in my diet or really suffer the consequences. I was also hypoglycemic (as a result of high sugar consumption growing up) and had been diagnosed since college so whenever I ate anything sweet, I would always crashed and pass out which I did often. My grandparents on my dad’s side had type 2 diabetes and I knew if I wasn’t careful, I would eventually become one. I was also suffering from depression and constant mood swings that were bi-polar which are all symptoms of high sugar consumption.
My naturopath told me to stop sugar for 90 days and for the first 30 days that included fruit and refined carbohydrates (which turns into sugar). I had to detox my body and so I pretty much locked myself up for a week and went through with it. It sounds like I was detoxing from drugs. Well, sugar is a drug and is highly addictive. It’s just as addictive as crack and just as difficult to get over. The endorphins go up high from sugar and not too long afterwards, endorphins drop down further than normal so you need more to get high again and it becomes a vicious cycle. Our body creates natural endorphins and sugar depletes that when absent from it causing anxiety and mood disorders so the need for more sugar becomes urgent and most of the time, we are not even aware of that. It’s quite cunning.
My body went through aches, sweats, chills, headaches and fever during the detoxification process. It felt like I had the flu. I remained mostly in bed and slept a lot because I was in a lot of pain from the detox. But by the end of the week, I felt much better. I was baffled at how radicle this detox was. I’m not a person that eats candy or lots of sweet things or so I thought! But when I got honest with myself, I realized every day, I ended my evening with one vegan, gluten free chocolate chip cookie. I had thought to myself, well it’s vegan and gluten free so it must be somewhat healthy and definitely healthier than your regular cookie. But I was wrong. It’s not really healthier because it has loads of sugar.
My diet before going sugar free was your average modern day American diet which included Starbuck’s soy lattes, protein bars, bagels on the weekends, turkey burgers, condiments such as ketchup, pasta, salads with dressing, occasional soda, muffins, vegan chocolate chip cookies, low fat vegan ice cream (cuz I thought that’s the healthier version), low fat frozen yogurt like Pink Berry (cuz if I eat this, I will have a better chance of losing weight than eating real ice cream), etc. Every single food on this list has sugar and much to my dismay I learned that sugar is everywhere. Because of this, we all have blood sugar dis-regulation in various degrees.
It is crucial to drastically lower sugar intake in order to maintain balance and health. Our cells need glucose to make energy in our body but when there is more than what our body needs, the excess glucose gets stored as fat and runs down our primary organs that regulate blood sugar: the liver, adrenals and the pancreas. As a result, many symptoms occur such as metabolic syndrome, weight gain, obesity, heart disease, depression, bi-polarity, adrenal fatigue, high triglycerides, cancer, hypoglycemia, diabetes, alzheimer’s, auto-immune diseases, thyroid disfunction, insomnia, anxiety, tooth decay, etc. High blood sugar is also devastating to other parts of the body like the eyes, kidney, feet, brain, etc. Sugar also depresses the immune system and prematurely ages the body. It feeds bacteria, viruses, parasites, yeast, fungus and cancer.
Our body only has one hormone, insulin, which is known to lower blood sugar but in actuality, the main purpose of it is to facilitate the transport of glucose into our cells to make energy that our body needs. When there are high levels of sugar, an abundance of insulin is formed to bring the glucose to the cells but because there’s always sugar in the blood, they eventually become down regulated, which causes insulin resistance. In simplest terms, the cells become resistant to insulin because it’s always being produced and therefor not bringing in the glucose it needs. As a result, sugar levels stay high in the blood and the cells don’t get the energy it needs and this is where the system breaks down. Meanwhile, we have 3 other hormones: cortisol, epinephrine and glucagon that elevate sugar levels to maintain homeostasis when our sugar levels drop.
There is a reason why we only have one hormone to bring down glucose levels. Refined sugar was only created in the 1600’s. Mankind has been around for 2 million years and it’s only been a couple hundred years where refined sugar has been in the diet. Paleolithic men thrived on meat and fat, which is how our bodies are made up of. From an evolutionary sense, we only had one hormone for that reason. But we have a bunch of hormones to raise blood sugar so our primary evolution problem was to raise blood sugar, to give our brains, our nerves and our red blood cells enough glucose to survive. And the consumption of sugar that we are at now (which is the highest) has only been the last 30-40 years and it’s no coincidence that our illness is at an all time high. Our bodies were meant to not have excess sugar.
The food industry and the politics surrounding the system of food giants are the reasons why we consume so much sugar. Sugar is in every processed food we eat because it is cheap and it’s an easy sell. It’s everywhere and made so easy for you to consume. But you have a choice and you can take matters into your own hands. If we can all eliminate refined sugar in our diets, the world would be in a much better state. Think about where healthcare would be today if we did that. You can make a difference in your life by learning a few facts about sugar.
Fructose, found in vegetables and fruits are mixed with naturally occurring fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and beneficial phytonutrients. When we consume more than what’s needed, the rest gets stored as fat. For example, 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories stored as fat. The excess is turned into free fatty acids, VLDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Therefor, consuming fructose is fat producing.
High fructose corn syrup is probably one of the worst things to ingest in your body. It is most prevalent in most processed foods because it’s cheap, easy to transport, produce and store. It’s also produced from genetically modified corn. Just to name a few, it’s in soda, candy, soups, sauces and even salad dressings. One should avoid it like a poison.
Here are the hidden names of sugar: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Disaccharides, Molasses, Succanat, Polysaccharides, Sucrose, Fructose, Invert Sugar, Dextrose, Sucrose, Glucose, Lactose, Sorbitol, Mannitol, Barley Malt, Malt, Malt Extract, Maltose, Rice Extract, Golden Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup, Evaporate Cane Juice, Fruit Juice Sweeteners.
Here are is a list of different types of sugar: Brown Sugar, Raw Sugar, Organic Sugar, Powdered Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, White Sugar, Cane Sugar, Beet Sugar, Corn Sugar, Date Sugar, Maple Sugar, Coconut Sugar
Over a century ago, before sugar was invented, your average person consumed through vegetables and fruits (from origin) about 15 grams of fructose per day. That’s equivalent to one modern apple. Here are some facts that will help you read labels to determine how much sugar is in most of the food we eat.
In one teaspoon, there are 5 grams of sugar.
Soda has 39 grams of sugar
Apple Juice has 28 grams of sugar
Orange Juice has 23 grams of sugar
Yogurt with fruit has 27 grams of sugar (almost as much as soda!)
3 Oreos has 13 grams of sugar
Protein Bar has 11-18 grams of sugar
Frappuccino has 31 grams
The simplest way to avoid refined sugar and carbohydrates is by eating whole foods and eliminating all packaged foods. This is much easier said than done but having gone through it myself, I am so glad I’m not a prisoner of sugar anymore. Having eliminated it, I can taste the natural fructose in vegetables. My taste palate has improved vastly. Full fat greek yogurt without the fruit is naturally sweet to me. I can taste the sweetness in unsweetened coconut cream/ milk, cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado. Berries in the summer time taste very sweet. In the past, I used to add sweeteners to berries because it wasn’t’ sweet enough.
Every once in a while, I will have dessert with refined sugar and the impact of the first bite is shocking to my taste buds and my body. I can immediately feel my blood rushing. The taste is too much for me. And the next day, I wake up craving for bread or think about what kind of sweets I can have for dessert. It’s maddening so I try to abstain as much as I can. What I appreciate most is that I don’t have the anxiety, depression, the mood swings and physical illnesses anymore. When I lived my life dependent upon sugar, I couldn’t live to my fullest potential. Today, my life by far supersedes how I was living before.