Why Sugar Ruins Your Family’s Health
Being healthy doesn’t just mean you and your family are free from disease. Optimal health means that you are functioning your best throughout the day. You should wake refreshed and renewed each day, ready and able to handle all the tasks that must be done. Your children should be able to play hard, concentrate easily, have good stamina, a pleasant demeanor, and sleep well.
Nationally, we have very poor eating habits. The average American consumes 120 pounds of sugar per year! This poor approach to eating weakens our systems and undermines the health of our growing children. Eating sugar can eventually lead to many disorders and diseases. When refined sugar is consumed, the pancreas must produce insulin to metabolize it and normalize the blood sugar levels. Eating sugar over a long period of time can overstimulate the pancreas and essentially wear it out so that it no longer produces insulin. This results in diabetes, or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
Most people are familiar with the sugar buzz which occurs when sugar is eaten and blood sugar levels rise. Sugar causes hyperactivity in children and can lead to anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness. A dip in blood sugar normally occurs after eating sugar, causing fatigue, dizziness, confusion, headache, and/ or restlessness. Eating foods which contain simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, make you feel tired and lessen your ability to think because your body’s tissues cannot receive enough oxygen. Sugar can become addictive, as more sugar is consumed in order to maintain the Buzz.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a condition which can develop from ingestion of sugar; the pancreas oversecretes insulin in order to remove the excess sugar from the blood. This will ultimately lead to a collapse of the adrenal glands, the organs needed to help combat stress. Sugar can also raise levels of adrenaline (an adrenal hormone) in children. Your immune system becomes weakened five hours after consuming sugar! This makes you and your children more susceptible to infection and to the development of allergies and asthma.
Sugar can decrease growth hormone and stunt your child’s growth. It can contribute to eczema in children. And it can cause toxemia during pregnancy. Sugar can cause heart disease. Cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and blood pressure increase as a result of eating sugar. High density lipoproteins (HDLs), the good components of cholesterol decrease.
A lowered blood sugar level causes a deficiency of zinc, chromium, manganese and B-complex vitamins; they are used up as our bodies struggle to metabolize the excess sugar. Sugar can also lead to copper deficiency, interfere with the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and protein, and upset the balance of minerals in the body.
Sugar can also cause: kidney damage, cancer of the breast, ovaries, intestines, prostate and rectum, weak eyesight, aging, alcoholism, tooth decay, obesity, acidity in the stomach, arthritis, Candida albicans (a yeast infection), gallstones, appendicitis, multiple sclerosis, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, osteoporosis, and migraines.
Our naturally sweet tooth can be satisfied with whole, ripe, organic fruits. Dilute fruit juices as they are also sources of concentrated sugar. You can have your cake and occasionally eat it, too! Treats can be made with unrefined sweeteners and eaten in moderation. Many natural sugars retain vitamins, minerals, and other components essential for their digestion that are stripped from common white sugar during processing.
People who function their best are usually those who eat the right foods. They eat alot of unprocessed whole foods such as grains, vegetables, legumes (dried peas and beans) and fruit, while avoiding fats, processed foods, and refined sugar. Check the labels and you will be surprised to find how many products you buy and regularly consume contain sugar (even toothpaste!). When you see high fructose corn syrup, glucose or fructose (anything anding with OSE, means it is a sugar) on a label, read “sugar”. Ingredients are listed in the order of amount, with the greatest amounts listed first. Often I will see sugar as the first ingredient, followed by high fructose corn syrup and maybe fructose!
1 cup of sugar is equal to: