Tuesday, January 11, 2011
For the purposes of simplicity, let’s look at sugar just like we’re looking at gluten – as a processed food. And in that sense, it’s something to be avoided.
To be sure, sugar occurs naturally in certain foods – and that’s a good thing because sugar (or glucose) is a natural fuel for the body. It’s when we start supplementing the naturally-occurring sugar that we get into trouble.
Here are a few things that processed sugar does to the body: “Refined sugar has been linked to hypoglycemia, yeast overgrowth, a weakened immune system, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, enlargement of the liver and kidneys, increase of uric acid in the blood, mental and emotional disorders, dental cavities and an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain.”1
And I’m no scientist, but here are some interesting facts I’ve found in my research about sugar: “Bone char, made from the bones of cows, is at times used to whiten sugar. Some sugar companies use it in filters to decolorize their sugar." 2 Bone char?! During this cleanse we're not eating ANY animal products - bone char is definitely off limits! And disgusting! And if you think brown sugar is any better, it's just bleached sugar with molasses added to it.3
“Maintaining and harvesting sugar cane can be unhealthy and dangerous for the workers. Their work involves the use of sharp machetes and at times exposure to hazardous chemicals."4 Nobody wants to eat hazardous chemicals - that’s a given. But more importantly, the karma that comes with eating food grown by people who are being treated unjustly has got to be pretty awful.
“Refined sugar is 99 % pure crystalline sucrose. When eaten, it enters the blood stream very fast, quickly elevating your blood sugar level. The pancreas responds by releasing insulin. This lowers your blood sugar level, resulting in irritability and fatigue. A cycle begins where you crave more sugar to raise your blood sugar levels again.”5 And that’s where the mood and energy swings begin.
And given that the average American eats 140 pounds – yes, I said POUNDS – of sugar in a year, maybe that's why people are ruder and fatter than ever! That figure is from 2005 – it’s probably higher today - and it breaks down to 22 teaspoons a day (teens do an average of 34 teaspoons a day). “One can of soda has 10 teaspoons, and 10 teaspoons is the maximum amount of sugar we should be eating in an entire day to be healthy.”6
And finally, “One can of soda per day can put on 10 pounds per year.”7
So here’s the good news – eliminate sugar and you’ll probably level out a bit emotionally. Your belly will probably level out too.
1 From "Skinny Bitch," quoting from “Sugar Blues,” Natural Nutrition, livrite.com
5 Excerpted from betterworldbaking.com
6 From "The Splendid Table," radio broadcast on January 16, 2010
7 From "The Doctors," television broadcast on February 3, 2010