Refined sugar. It is the number one food additive in North America. Overconsumption of white sugar is wreaking havoc on our health and is doing so through a billion dollar industry which is held up by a powerful lobby.
Refined sugar. In 1998 Canadians consumed 37 kilograms per person per year. In 2002 that amount had increased to 45 kilograms. We are consuming an estimated 12% – 15% of our daily calories from sugar, somewhere around 63 grams per day! If you think better in relation to teaspoons, that is the equivalent of just less than 16 teaspoons of sugar. Daily.
Refined sugar. For many people, consumption of sugar triggers a series of events, a rhythmic surging of cravings, eating and mood swings. A cycle they find challenging to interrupt. Blood sugar instability, insulin overproduction, weight gain, growth of digestive system yeast, increased acidity in the body, dental cavities, energy and mood fluctuations, suppression of immune system function. The physical, emotional and psychological health costs are huge.
I am hardly worthy of adding anything new to the large, and ever-expanding, base of knowledge which clearly and boldly tells us why our sugar consumption is toxic. However, I can share some of the 146 Reasons Sugar Is Ruining Your Health as noted by Dr. Nancy Appleton:
- Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body.
- Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.
- Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases).
- Sugar reduces high-density lipoproteins — HDL which is the good stuff in the cholesterol family.
- Sugar leads to chromium deficiency, resulting in high blood fat and diabetes-like symptoms.
- Sugar leads to cancer of the ovaries.
- Sugar causes copper deficiency, connected to issues such as anemia and osteoporosis
- Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium — think about this when you use chocolate milk as your child’s source of calcium
- Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.
- Sugar can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline levels in children.
- Sugar malabsorption is frequent in patients with functional bowel disease.
- Sugar can cause premature aging.
- High intake of sugar increases the risk of Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
- Sugar can cause arthritis.
- Sugar can cause asthma.
- Sugar can cause hemorrhoids.
- Sugar can decrease growth hormone.
- Sugar can increase cholesterol.
- Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein.
- Sugar causes food allergies.
- Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.
- Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.
- Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.
- Sugar can impair the structure of DNA.
- High sugar intake can impair the physiological homeostasis of many systems in the body.
- Sugar can increase the size of the liver by making the liver cells divide.
- Sugar can damage the pancreas.
- Sugar can increase the body’s fluid retention.
- Sugar is enemy #1 of the bowel movement.
- Sugar can cause headaches, including migraine.
- Sugar can cause depression.
- A diet high in refined sugar reduces learning capacity.
- Sugar can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
- Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance; some hormones become under active and others become overactive.
- High sugar consumption can lead to substantial decrease in gestation duration among adolescents.
- Sugar slows food’s travel time through the gastrointestinal tract.
- Sugar combines with and destroys phosphatase, an enzyme, which makes the process of digestion more difficult.
- Sugar is an addictive substance.
- Sugar can be intoxicating, similar to alcohol.
- Sugar can exacerbate PMS.
- Sugar can worsen the symptoms of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- High sugar intake can cause epileptic seizures.
- Sugar causes high blood pressure in obese people.
- In Intensive Care Units, limiting sugar saves lives.
- Sugar can increase the amount of food that you eat.
- Sugar dehydrates newborns.
- Greater consumption of refined sugar is associated with a worse outcome of schizophrenia.
- Sweet food items increase the risk of breast cancer — think about this when you see pink ribbons adorning sugary food products or business which push sugar.
- Sugar is a risk factor in cancer of the small intestine.
- Sugar induces salt and water retention.
- Sugar causes constipation.
- Sugar can cause brain decay in prediabetic and diabetic women.
- Sugar can cause metabolic syndrome.
- Sugar can affect the brain’s ability to deal with rewards and consequences.
- Sugar plays a role in the etiology and the continuation of acne.
- Too much sugar can kill your sex life — not so sweet!
- Sugar can cause fatigue, moodiness, nervousness and depression.
- Sugar is a common choice of obese individuals.
Have you got that?
After looking over the extended list posted by Dr. Appleton, which includes scientific (and not so scietific) references, I thought I would do a double check on our family sugar consumption, ferreting out the prepared foods in my home and checking the sugar content. Here is what I found:
His typical breakfast has 4g of sugar, and hers has 6g. Three times a week we have eggs, sometimes a fruit and protein smoothy, and I otherwise eat Erewhon Barley Plus (no sugar added). In winter months, steel cut oatmeal becomes a staple breakfast, served with fruit and yoghurt.
Sale items for lazy lunches. The black lentil curry has no sugar. The mediterranean vegetable with pasta, on the other hand, packs in a whopping 22g of sugar for the 500ml serving.
One 398g can of no name beans sadly possesses almost 25.5g of sugar. They might just as well be jelly beans! And the crocodiles, found swimming in my sewer after some irresponsible parent purchased and flushed them, um okay, they’ve been lingering in the pantry for a long, long time — just 2g of sugar for a serving size of 33 cheddar crocs!
Amy’s Organic Chili (this one is medium heat) offers up 8g of sugar in the can while a can of Stagg Chili (vegetable garden mix) provides 15g of sugar. The box of quinoa (yummy), on the other hand, in its 225g entirety, is stuffed with 4g of sugar.
So, now that I’ve open my pantry door and bared my processed crap to you, I’ve learned a bit about how much sugar is sheltered in my home.
I also learned I might never, nutritionally, survive a pandemic which closes down the market doors of the nation. Aside from a great selection of dahls (lentils), a variety of rices and pastas, some pearl barley and a ragtag collection of sale-stickered can goods, my family will be relying on the vermin offered up by the cat, the wild mushrooms my partner can identify by way of good german genetics, the crab apples from out back, and my knowledge of edible weeds (I do have this).
Our refined sugar consumption would be severely curtailed. This might be a good thing.