Senior Health – Sugar is Not Your Friend!

Growing up, our parents always told us not to eat too many sweets. Turns out, they were right! While sweets are and have always been, the smallest quadrant of the food pyramid, it seems that with age, sugar becomes increasingly bad for you. Decreasing your sugar intake can help cut back your risk of the most common health risks- such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes!

Before sugar gets to your tummy, it goes through an industrial refining process that purifies it. In that process, it is stripped of all vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes and any other edificial nutrients it may possess resulting in an unnatural substance that the body is unable to handle in mass quantity. (FACT: Sugar is refined in a process very similar to that of Heroin) Today’s accepted lifestyle includes a great deal more sugar then it did in the early 1900’s when heart disease and cancer were virtually unknown!

Today, the average American consumes approximately 115 pounds of sugar per year!

Sugar is addictive! Approximately 95% of people are addicted to it on some level. Stop and think about it. What happens when you don’t get your sugar fix during the day? You crave it, and become moody and irritable! The average American eats sugar with breakfast in their coffee or on their pancakes, you have sugar again with lunch in your salad dressing or a 3 o’clock snack of cookies or candy, and again with dinner. When you don’t get your normal hit of sugar, you crave it more and more and it affects your mood and ability to focus and work. Studies find that sugar addicts are much like crack addicts in their needs, withdrawals, and denial.

Some Risks Related To Sugar Intake:

Not ALL sugar is bad- sugars found in complex carbohydrates are actually good for you. However, the average individual eats far more sugar than their body needs or can handle. The following are a few risks associated with a high sugar diet.

o Sugar Depresses The Body And The Immune System! The glycemic index is a numbered rating system used to measure how fast or slow the absorption and digestion process is for any given food. The lower the rating, the slower the absorption, which gives a more gradual and healthier infusion of sugar into the bloodstream. Foods with a low glycemic index are better for you. However, a high rating means that the blood-glucose levels are increased quickly, which will stimulate the pancreas to secrete insulin to drop the blood-sugar back down to a normal level. These rapid fluctuations in blood-sugar levels are not healthy and put stress on the body. Another major drawback of sugar is that it causes the body to raise insulin levels which prevent the release of growth hormones which in turn depresses the immune system.

o A Tired Pancreas May Mean Too Much Sugar! A diet filled with too much sugar can exhaust your pancreas leading to the depletion of your insulin reserve. In turn, resulting in diabetes. The more sugar you eat, the harder your pancreas works to maintain a normal blood-sugar level. If you were to get tested after binge eating sugar for a number of hours, your blood-sugar level may very well be normal still, because your pancreas created enough insulin to offset the sugar. However, your insulin levels would be sky high. This overworking of the pancreas can lead to one day stopping creating insulin all together, which will leave you diabetic.

o Sugar and Heart Disease. Studies have shown that the increase in sugar consumption has lead to higher risks and cases of heart disease. Sugar has been associated with increasing the adhesiveness of blood platelets, increasing blood insulin levels and causing many heart complications and diseases.

So clearly, sugar, which seems more like an addiction problem and less like an enjoyable sweet, can lead to many complications and diseases.