Monday, May 21, 2012

Sweet Disaster

Sugar, oh how so sweet, but so deadly. Yes, I said it, deadly. Ever wonder why you crash in the afternoon? Or maybe wonder why you just don’t have the energy that you used to have? Or just maybe wonder why your doctor told you that you have 4 cavities? A lot of this wondering can be explained by the massive amounts of sugar we consume on a daily basis.
       According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, “children ages 2-19 years old consume 45.6 pounds of sugar per year from soda and fruit drinks.” That boils down to about .12 lbs per day, or 12 teaspoons of added sugar. Each additional serving of soda or juice drink you consume each day increases your chances of becoming overweight by 60% (Harvard School of Public Health). Sugar doesn’t just add to your chances of becoming obese, it also spikes your blood glucose levels, decreases activity level, leads to cavities, and suppresses your immune system.
How does sugar do all these horrible things to your body you ask? As soon as food enters your body, your blood glucose levels increase. The type of food you eat determines how high those levels spike. Slower digesting foods, or foods that contain fiber curb the spike of glucose. Part of this curbing of digestion is due to the fact that fiber cannot be digested in the body. Glucose enters the blood stream quickly and the pancreas must produce insulin to decrease the levels. So what is the big deal with having sugar spikes? For one, it can cause your pancreas to become damaged from over production of insulin, which leads to a lovely problem of diabetes.
Dental cavities, that is always a fun thing to have! What causes cavities you ask? When carbohydrates or sugars are present on your teeth, oral bacteria feed off of them. This, in turn, causes acid to be produced, which dissolves the enamel of your teeth. Sounds a little painful to me. P.S. did you know that people way back when didn't brush their teeth, or have cavities? What no cavities?! 
So, you drank your favorite soda, bacteria sets to work on your teeth, your insulin levels increase, you seemingly have more energy (short-term), your body becomes stressed, and your immune system is depressed. This depression is caused by the sugar and Vitamin C competing for space in your cells. In summary of that point, the more sugar, the less Vitamin C, the less Vitamin C, the less chances your body could fight bacteria and viruses, and wa-la, your sick with a cold!
Sugar in moderation is okay, well what is this moderation anymore? Moderation doesn't exist. Our foods and drinks are pumped so full of added sugars we don't even know the meaning of moderation. My advice, cut your sugar intake in half for a bit and see what happens. Keep cutting it back until the added sugars in your life are non-existent. I'm sure your body will thank you later. 

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