by Jill Coleman RN
We are eating more sugar than ever today. Recent research shows Americans eat 2 pounds
of processed sugar a week, on average! One hundred years ago, sugar was considered an occasional
treat, and outside of raw organic fruit, many rarely ate desert.
The trouble is, today most of the sweeteners are processed high fructose corn syrup. This
fructose is made from Genetically Modified corn. We have only scratched the surface on the hazards
of GMO’s. The body has to draw from its resources, like trace minerals, to process this over processed
product. Just like those man-made, synthetic vitamins I covered in my vitamin article.
Highly processed corn syrup, is hidden in many foods and is 100% refined. All refined foods
that are over processed to last longer on the shelves, turn into sugar once they are consumed, because
the fiber, nutrients, and minerals are destroyed in refining. The government also subsidizes the corn
this syrup comes from, which makes it cheaper for companies to use. That is why junk food is so
inexpensive! This is defiantly a case where you get what you pay for.
Natural sugar found in fruits, and other whole foods, like whole grains and wild rice, contain
minerals, enzymes, and fiber so they do not rush into your blood stream and cause an insulin response.
They have a lower Glycemic Index, (GI). This means it takes longer for the sugar to reach the blood
stream and the blood sugar is not raised significantly. Then the body does not need to produce so much
Simple Carbohydrates, like pasta, bagels, bread, potatoes, sodas, rice, and corn, and all sugars,
break down quickly during digestion and release sugar into the bloodstream. These have a high GI.
When you eat them, the body is forced to produce insulin because of the rapid increase in blood sugar.
This causes inflammation because the surplus sugar attaches to proteins, (the body’s building blocks)
and causes cellular free-radical damage. Sort of like what happens when metal starts to rust. Once this
happens, the free-radicals start a chain reaction, which causes more inflammation. When this occurs
in the skin, it causes wrinkles. When it occurs in the joints, the inflammation can instigate arthritis and
Eventually organs start to degrade and the body starts to break down. In an attempt to quell
the inflammation, the body also produces more cholesterol. Details of that mechanism are in my
Glucose, (what the body makes from natural fructose), is the basic energy source of our cells,
and 30-40% of it is used for brain function. 20% goes to the liver to be stored as glycogen. That way, if
we need a quick energy boost we can use it. The rest is used for the other organs.
When processed Fructose/sugar is ingested, 100% goes to the liver, which causes the
production of uric acid, (high levels are found with gout). This also blocks nitrous oxide which is the
blood pressure regulator of the body. In addition, (simply put), processed fructose also causes fat to be
deposited in the tissues because of the insulin response!
Since Insulin is the escort that takes glucose to feed the cells, the more sugar we eat, the more
the pancreas has to produce insulin. At some point, the body’s insulin receptors sort of wear out from
the copious amounts of insulin needed to get all the sugar out of the blood stream and into the cells.
This is the beginning of diabetes.
Another poignant bit of data is that sugar and vitamin C compete with each other to enter
our cells. If there is too much sugar, less vitamin C is able to enter the cell. Thus, our immunity is
compromised. This is particularly significant for the cells that fight infection, the White Blood Cells,
(WBCs). One kind of WBC, the macrophage, needs whole foods vitamin C, (not just ascorbic acid),
to move and devour viruses, bacteria and other foreign invaders. When you consume even one
tablespoon of sugar, it slows the movement of macrophages by as much as 75%! These effects can last
up to 5 hours! The production of these vital cells is also decreased. Leaving less soldiers for the army of
Artificial chemical sweeteners are NOT a viable solution. Not only does Splenda, Sweet&Low
and others contribute to health hazards, like brain tumors, obesity, and neurological disorders,
(especially in children), the body thinks it is getting sugar and releases insulin. When it does not get
an increase of blood sugar, our hunger is stimulated to keep the blood sugar from getting too low! In
addition, a hormone called Ghrelin is also increased. This is the hunger hormone!
Exercise and Glucose from whole foods, decrease the hunger hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin keeps
us from feeling satisfied after a meal. Processed Fructose increases ghrelin! Consider that in addition
to all this, most of us are deficient in valuable trace minerals and nutrients from real food, because of
depleted soils. So it makes sense that illness is on the rise.
Remember, the body is made to run on whole, unaltered food. That is the only way we get
the genuine replacement parts needed to rebuild and repair. The FDA tells us to avoid saturated fats
to minimize heart disease. But, the one study that lead to this conclusion did not separate out dietary
sugar from fats, so they were not able to distinguish if sugar or fats contributed to cholesterol and heart
Aside from Partially hydrogenated oils, fats/cholesterol in our food, affect less than 15% of our
blood cholesterol. Processed sugar seems to be the real contributing factor to high cholesterol and
disease. For example, when they came out with cholesterol medication, in the 1960’s, they wanted to
try it out on rats, but they needed rats with high cholesterol. So they gave them a diet high in saturated
fats and cholesterol. But the cholesterol in these rats did not increase. They then gave the same rats
a low fat, high sugar diet. Sound familiar? The cholesterol went way up! Now they could test the
So what can we do? Instead of a candy bar, eat an apple, or any organic fruit! Instead of white
rice, eat wild rice. Replace all breads/cereals with ‘Ezekiel sprouted grain’ variety products in limited
amounts. ‘Food for Life’ and ‘La Tortilla Factory’ also offer low carb, high fiber options, which have a low
Have a nice vegetable omelet for breakfast instead of cereal or oatmeal. Read labels and avoid
high fructose of any kind. Look at the Carbohydrate content of packaged foods and try to keep it under
120 grams a day. Avoid all hydrogenated oils. (See my article on cholesterol).
Substitute Stevia, Xylitol, or Lankanto for sugar. These are healthier, natural alternatives to
sugar, and do not elicit an insulin response. Raw honey or molasses are OK but only in moderation.
Once you stop eating processed sugar and refined carbohydrates, the sweet cravings will stop.
You may feel as if you’re withdrawing from a drug at first, but after 1-2 weeks, you should
see a difference. Studies show increased immune response, energy levels, and peace of mind with
a low sugar diet. While joint pain, depression, and incidents of colds decrease! Did I mention sugar
contributes to mood swings?
‘How to Lick the Sugar Habit’ by Nancy Appleton, has 146 reasons why sugar is bad for your
health. It doesn’t matter what disease we are talking about, whether it’s a common cold, cardiovascular
disease, cancer or osteoporosis, the root is always going to be at the cellular and molecular level.
Everything we put into our mouth has either a negative or positive effect on our entire body. When I
see our children living on Big Gulps, candy bars, and French fries, I can’t help but wonder where they will
be10 years from now.