Sugar: The Sweet & Silent Killer
Sugar’s role in the cause of world-wide disease has been linked to cancer, heart illness and, of course, diabetes.
Everybody knows that sugar causes tooth decay. It’s also understood that it brings on hypoglycemia, diabetes, and weight gain.
But, it gets worse…
New studies are putting sugar in the driver’s seat of some of the world’s deadliest diseases. It’s been found to support heart illnesses and can even bring on asthma attacks by inflaming and narrowing air passages. Then, mucus production increases, causing wheezing, coughing and severe shortness of breath.
And cancer loves to feed on it…
Why? It all comes down to a simple protein…
One research team at Duke University School of Medicine thinks they know how it happens.
Sugar, you see, strips healthy cells of specific growth factors that keep them alive, processing and absorbing nutrients. In this case, the nutrient in question is glucose. When this happens, the cells die. However, the research team at Duke found that cancer cells all contain a protein called Protein Kinase which belongs to a family of proteins known as AKT.
Because of Protein Kinase, cancer cells are unaffected by the stripping of glucose. The cells produce their own glucose, which keeps them alive and well.
And all this is because refined, processed sugar is a completely false food: no nutritional value, no fiber and absolutely no minerals. But, it does metabolize into your system by sucking out the nutrients you so carefully put into your body to remain healthy and balanced. This is also why sugar creates the perfect environment to sky-rocket cholesterol levels and stop fatty acids from being properly metabolized.
Fatty acids are responsible for releasing energy and letting us go through our days feeling invigorated — and lively. When those acids are blocked by the absorption of sugar, you get sluggish, tired, and have those “down days.” If you’ve ever suffered from fatigue or lethargy, you know what happens when fatty acids aren’t processed the right way by your body. It can even be responsible for bouts of depression, anxiety, and hyperactivity. But, the big question for is, why does sugar cause diabetes?
Picture this: a network of clear, twisting tubes moving water through a transparent container. Miles of these tubes can be seen with varied thickness. There is a hole at the top where you can pour additives into the tubes, and you choose to put in flour. A little flour doesn’t affect the water’s movement but as you add more and more, the water becomes thick and its movement is markedly slower.
This is what happens when you eat foods high in sugar. Sugar acts like a thickening agent for the blood. The good news is your pancreas knows all about this and sends insulin to the rescue. Now, insulin goes in and acts like a shop vac and sucks the unhealthy amount of sugar out of your bloodstream. If that’s the case, then why worry? Your pancreas will just throw out insulin and take care of the problem.
Well, the fact is when you consistently eat food high in sugar (even yogurts and high-starch, high-carb food like pasta and potatoes), you turn your pancreas into a high-volume insulin factory, and over time, your body becomes desensitized to it and the vacuum effectively shuts down. Then – you guessed it – diabetes. That’s why diabetics have to shoot insulin. Your body needs more to get the vacuum pulling again.
How Do Artificial Sweeteners Compare: NutraSweet, Equal and Splenda – Oh, my!
So, Equal and other artificial sweeteners are the answer, right? WRONG! These are even more dangerous than sugar because NutraSweet and Equal are made with aspartame. This is essentially a toxic poison that contains methyl alcohol (wood alcohol). When it’s absorbed by your body, it converts to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, a toxic chemical that, through overexposure, can cause blindness, skin allergies, and liver and kidney damage (if you’ve ever been bitten by an ant or stung by a bee, then you know how painful formic acid feels when it hits you). Overexposure can be defined as just 3 – 4 cans of diet soda per day.
But, what about Splenda? That’s supposed to be a healthy alternative. WRONG AGAIN! Splenda is actually a chlorinated, man-made sweetener, and it’s toxic to your tummy. Duke University did a study and found that Splenda was like pouring poison into your gut. The chlorinated artificial “sucralose” (that’s the sweet stuff) destroys the good bacteria and flora in your intestines and colon making digestion and healthy waste elimination a real problem. And that leads to bloating, constipation, and misery. As you can see switching to artificial sweeteners is no way to avoid the dangers of sugar!
Can Honey or Other Natural Sweeteners Save the Day?
Now, you may think you’re okay using honey as a natural sweetener. Think again. If you use a processed honey then you are worse off than if you use sugar. Honey causes tooth decay much faster than sugar, partly because it’s sweeter, but mainly because it’s sticky and stays on your teeth longer. Plus, a tablespoon of honey has 42 more calories than sugar. Commercial honey is processed with heat, stripping it of its health benefits and putting you at a greater risk for disease. So, it’s important to use only natural, raw honey that is not heated before packaging. Get yours at a health food store like Whole Foods or another trusted source.
There Are A Few Other Choices You Can Make To Cut Sugar Out:
• Agave – That’s right, the same stuff they make tequila out of. But don’t worry, you won’t get “buzzed” from this 100% natural sweetener. It has basically the same caloric value as sugar, but it scores low on the glycemic chart which means it is safe for folks with diabetes: it doesn’t spike insulin.
• Malitol – This little gem does not raise blood sugar, so it doesn’t pop insulin levels either. It’s about as sweet as sugar yet does not promote tooth decay. But, watch out: malitol is known for its laxative effect on some people!
• Stevia – It’s a South American herb that comes in over 300 species. Some studies have shown that stevia actually lowers blood sugar levels all while being 10 – 15 times sweeter than sugar. You can get it in powder or liquid form.
• *Fructose – Like agave, fructose is another low glycemic sweetener that comes from fruit. You can find it in your health-food store. Plus, both fructose and agave are much sweeter than sugar so you’ll use less.
*Stay miles away from High-Fructose Corn Syrup. When eaten, it makes a B-line straight to the liver where it is turned into pure, globs of fat. Plus, it doesn’t tell the pancreas to turn on the insulin machine letting us know we’re full. So we keep eating…and eating…and eating. In fact, since High-Fructose Corn Syrup was introduced (circa 1980), obesity statistics have blown through the roof. It’s found in most prepackaged foods, so be on the lookout.
Beware Pre-Packaged and Processed Foods
The most difficulty you’re likely to have in your quest to wipe sugar from your diet is if you partake in pre-packaged or processed foods.
Even 100% fruit juices can contain 10 teaspoonfuls of sugar or more per 12-ounce cup. Even with no sugar added, fruit juices can contain the same amount of sugar as an equal sized soda.
Avoid prepackaged lunchmeats. In addition to containing pages of preservatives and sodium, these meats can have gobs of sugar and fat.
The biggest thing here is to always be on top of your game. Make sure you’re reading labels and not just shoving food into your cart without knowing what’s in it. That way you’ll always know what’s in you and your family.
You don’t need to have your sweet tooth pulled. Enjoy the healthy natural sweetness of yams, cooked carrots, and vine-ripe tomatoes. As an extra treat, break out the fruit. You can add fresh fruit to plain yogurt or gelatin for a flavorful nutritious dessert.
Remember: sugar can slash away at your immune system, rob you of nutrients, give you heartburn, and cause you to turn gray and look old prematurely. It has been linked to colitis, Crohn’s disease, and even cancer. Blowing sugar off your table and out of your life may be the best thing you do for your health and the health of those you care most about.