6 Feb 2006
by Linda DeFever
Holistic Exercise, Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach
On some level most of us know that sugar is not healthy. Do you really know how devastating sugar is? Reducing one''s sugar consumption is challenging, as it is highly addictive. Eliminating sugar too fast can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, depression, fatigue, and cravings.
The research of Alfred Lopez, in the 60’s, pointed to sugar as being a significant player in the development of heart disease. Ahrens'' work in the 70s found the same thing. Sugar causes an increase in the adhesiveness of the blood platelets, which may be the reason for its role in heart disease. Sugar is also implicated as a causative factor in Type 2 Diabetes, osteoporosis, kidney disease, liver disease, obesity, and depression. Sugar may contribute in the growth of cancerous tumors, as cancer cells love sugar. Every tablespoon of sugar depresses the immune system for up to 6 hours. If you find that you are constantly sick, sugar may be a large part of the reason.
Sugar is far more fattening for most people than fat is. The worst type of sugar is fructose, often found as high-fructose corn syrup which is now everywhere in processed foods, including soft drinks, baked goods and ketchup. Kids are particularly vulnerable - the foods they love are filled with the stuff, and as a result of consuming these foods they are becoming obese and developing Type 2 Diabetes at an alarming rate. High-fructose corn syrup is even an ingredient in those touted-as-healthy low-calorie frozen dinners! Read labels carefully. Anything that ends in "ose" is a form of sugar, such as glucose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, lactose, dextrose, galactose etc. Also watch for "monosaccharides" or "disaccharides", which are also fancy names for sugar.
Almost all sugar on the market is highly processed, and as such the nutrient-dense molasses of the sugar-cane plant has been stripped away. The only sugar on the market that is a whole food is from Brazil, and is called Rapadura which literally means, "unseparated sugar". If you must use sugar, this is the only one that can be recommended. "Sucanat", "turbinado", "raw sugar", "demerara", "muscovado", and "evaporated cane juice", are all examples of separated sugar and should be avoided. To wean yourself off sugar, you may find it helpful to take a gram or two a day of omega 3 fish oils, to reduce the cravings.