The Toxicity of Sugar
Why is sugar so bad for us?
by Alexis Costello
The idea that sugar is not good for you is not news for most people. Ask someone why sugar isn't good for them, though, and it becomes a little less certain. Once we get beyond the pop and candy that we often consume sugar in, is there anything intrinsically toxic about sugar? When my family was trekking through Costa Rica a few years ago, we saw village kids chewing on what looked like big fibrous stalks. They told me it was sugar cane. When we tried it, I was surprised that it wasn't sickly sweet; as you chew the tough, stringy stalk, the tasty juice gets extracted, producing a sweetness much more mellow than a candy would be. In the same way that much of the nutritional value and all the fibre of an apple is lost when it is processed into juice, so the fibre and nutrients that help keep sugar cane a little more balanced are lost in factories. Even if you are eating cane sugar, you are still consuming a highly processed food that would be very difficult to eat too much of in its natural form.
How it all breaks down
Let's move past the empty calories leading to malnutrition, past weight gain, past type 2 diabetes. Let's talk about how your body actually processes sugars and what that means for you.
Your digestive system breaks sugars down into glucose and fructose. Your cells need glucose to function and your body will pull glucose from pretty much anything you eat. We tend to think of fruit when we hear the word "fructose," but in actuality most of the fructose in our diets comes in the form of table sugar (basically half-and-half glucose/
(Obesity in Canada
In Canada, one in four adults and one in 10 children are obese-—-that's six million Canadians. Obesity is a leading cause of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and cancer, impacting not only those who are obese but also their families, employers, health practitioners and governments.
Direct health-care costs related to obesity represent $6 billion—or 4.1 percent of Canada's total health-care budget, according to a 2010 report This estimate does not account for losses in productivity and tax revenues.
Source: Canadian Obesity Network)
fructose) and high-fructose corn syrup in soft drinks and prepared foods (roughly 55 and 45 percent respectively).
Unless you just finished a good workout, your liver tends to turn fructose into fat and then store it. Some of this fat gets sent out into the bloodstream as VLDL cholesterol (also known as the very bad kind) and some stays in the liver. This can lead to fatty liver disease, a collection of symptoms that used to only be seen in alcoholics but is now occurring due to metabolic syndrome.
Just as type 2 diabetes used to be called adult onset diabetes but we had to change the name as children began to develop the disorder, so too the name of this liver condition has had to be changed to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The Canadian Liver Foundation estimates that • almost 10 percent of children now have NAFLD, which will lead to serious health consequences. This has been found in children as young as four.
We got it wrong in the '80s. It's not too much saturated fat that clogs your arteries and creates heart disease, it's sugar.
While a fatty liver is a health concern the real risk is in the effect this VLDL cholesterol can have on the heart. As study after study has shown us over the last 15 years, we got it wrong in the '80s. Its not too much saturated fat that clogs your arteries and creates heart disease, it's sugar.
A comprehensive study following 88,520 women over 24 years in the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition in 2009 stated: "Regular consumption of SSBs (sugar-sweetened beverages) is associated with a higher risk of CHD (coronary heart disease) in women, even after other unhealthful lifestyle or dietary factors are accounted for." Large amounts of fructose have been shown to increase both triglycerides and abdominal fat in as little as 10 weeks, both of which are risk factors for heart disease for both men and women.
Sugar, insulin and cancer
Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled multiplication and growth of cells. Insulin is one of the key hormones that should regulate cell growth and division, therefore many are beginning to think that consistently elevated insulin levels might be contributing to cancer. In fact, insulin growth factor (IGF) not only seems to promote tumour cell proliferation, it actually can interfere with allopathic cancer treatments like chemotherapy.
It seems like a gross exaggeration to say that all the sugar people are eating could give them cancer until you read some of the research. In one study, for instance, consumption of sugar proved to be more of a risk factor for colon cancer than consumption of any other substance, including alcohol, meat and fat. Keeping your body more alkaline and reducing acid-forming foods is generally regarded as important for cancer prevention and sugar definitely is acidifying in the body.
In early March, the World Health Organization published new guidelines urging adults to keep the "free sugars" in their diet at less than five percent of total daily calories. They define free sugar as added sweeteners, as opposed to the sugars that are naturally occurring in the food. For the average adult, this would be less than six teaspoons of sugar. Tell that to Canadian teen boys who consume more than 40 teaspoons a day!
There is an understanding that this will be very difficult for people who are unused to cooking meals from scratch to do, since basically all processed foods contain free sugars, but it gives us something to reach for as a goal.
Research continues to mount linking excess sugar consumption to everything from obesity and diabetes to dental decay, heart disease and cancer.
Alexis Costelloo is a natural health practitioner and owner of Happily Holistic in Kelowna who hasn't been able to look at a cookie since she started writing this article. www.happilytholistic.ca / firstname.lastname@example.org
A FEW YEARS BACK [ENTERING THIS JAN. 2015] ONE OF THE USA INVESTIGATIVE PROGRAMS WENT INTO THE "SUGAR" IN OUR FOODS. IT BLEW ME AWAY….. THERE IS SUGAR IN TECHUP; MANY TINS OF PEAS, AND IN OTHER PROCESSED FOODS YOU'D NEVER THINK WOULD CONTAIN SUGAR. AS THE PROGRAM BROUGHT OUT, MANUFACTURERS DO IT TO HOOK YOU ON THEIR PRODUCT.
YOU TALK ABOUT EVIL PATTERNS OF FOOD PRODUCTION JUST TO GET THE GREEN-BACK DOLLAR INTO THEIR BANK ACCOUNT, SO THEY CAN HAVE THEIR 5 MILLION DOLLAR MANSION AND 100,000 DOLLAR CAR…… JUST ONE EXAMPLE IS THIS, OF A SICK WESTERN WORLD, WITH THE WORD SICK USED IN MANY WAYS - Keith Hunt