The average American consumes 150 lbs of sugar annually.
A recent study done by researchers challenges the impact of sugar on children’s behavior, with so called experts suggesting that the sugar hyperactivity link is just a myth. For anyone, such as myself who has witnessed this hyperactivity in day care kids, who has been at a kid’s birthday party before and after the cake was served, to say this report was surprising would be an understatement.
Our expert Dr. Nancy Appleton explains that people metabolize sugar differently and every child is unique, so not all children are impacted the same. Whether or not sugar lies at the root of behavior problems, there is no question that it contributes to a host of other illnesses and conditions, such as autoimmune disease, certain cancers, bowel problems, heart disease and liver dysfunction, just to name a few.
Many people are dangerously addicted to sugar and the average American now consumes an astounding 150 pounds of sugar annually.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
There have been many reports linking sugar to digestive challenges and an array of other ailments. Dr. Appleton concurs that sugar is a primary contributor to leaky gut syndrome. She explains that normally the gut plays an important role in the immune system, transporting nutrients into the bloodstream and preventing foreign substances from infiltrating it. When excessive sugar intake disturbs the body’s supply of minerals and the proper balance of intestinal flora normally present in the gut, the enzymes that facilitate digestion and protect the permeability of the intestinal wall no longer function as efficiently.
When this happens, large molecules of undigested food or bacteria penetrate the barrier of the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. The body sees these unfamiliar substances as foreign invaders and the immune system shifts into the protective mode to fight back. It releases antibodies to repel the foreign substances, which triggers inflammatory reactions that can appear in various parts of the body.
How far reaching is the impact? Inflammation in the lining of the gut can lead to colitis or Crohn’s disease. If the antibodies attack the joints, it can result in arthritis. Inflammation in the lungs can cause asthma. The presence of foreign substances also imposes an additional burden on the liver, which plays a vital role in clearing toxins from the bloodstream.
High Fructose Corn Syrup & Obesity
It is easy to see that sugar is in baked goods and rich candies. However, you must beware; sugar can masquerade in many forms. Food manufacturers have become very adept at disguising it. One particular insidious form that sugar can take on is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
According to research done at Louisiana State University published in a recent issue of ‘The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’, the increased use of HFCS in the US mirrors the rapid increase in obesity. Where’s the connection between HFCS and obesity? HFCS hides on product labels because it does not have to be identified as sugar. With the low carb craze ongoing the use of HFCS is only likely to increase.
What to Do?
While many sources of sugar are obvious, other can be more subtle. Processed products from cereal to iced tea to ketchup are hidden sources of sugar intake. This often represents the real source of trouble for those trying to improve their diet and nutrition by cutting back on sugar.
Kick the Sugar Habit by…
- Emphasizing whole foods instead of processed ones in your diet.
- Lay off cookies, candies, cake and soft drinks to tune your body.
- Read food labels carefully and learn to spot the jargon.
- Stay clear of high consumption of mid-carb and low-carb products.
Follow the above suggestions and you will be sure to improve your health and add nutrition to your diet. But check with your professional healthcare provider first.
Resources for this article were taken from information provided by Nancy Appleton, PhD, nutritional author and consultant of ‘lick the Sugar Habit’, and ‘Stopping Inflammation’. Dr. Appleton’s Internet site at www.nancyappleton.com lists 146 ways sugar ruins your health.