Susan Silberstein & Marilyn Joyce (Health and Nutrition Educator & Heath Counselor) gives expert video advice on: How are sugar and diabetes related? and more...
Why is "refined" sugar dangerous for my health?
Sugar is dangerous in many ways. First of all it can deplete our b vitamins that are so important to our nerve system function. Sugar can contribute to dental care worries which is tooth decay. Sugar can elevate our insulin levels, which is going to move us in the direction of insulin resistance and ultimately diabetes. Sugar can dramatically affect our immune system leaving us vulnerable to cancer. The amount and frequency of sugar ingested are both important, because the more sugar we ingest the more dramatically we're going to suppress our immune system. Even a modest amount of sugar can reduce our immune system's ability to fight disease by fifty percent. Now, also the frequency, because one hour after ingesting sugar we have about a thirty seven percent reduction in immune response. Two hours after sugar ingestion we have a forty four percent reduction in immune response. That problem will continue until about roughly five hours after we ingest sugar when we finally get back to baseline of our immune system. Isn't that just about time for another sugar fix?
How are sugar and diabetes related?
Basically what happens is that as we ingest a lot of sugar, it goes into our bloodstream and then at some point our body cannot function to produce enough insulin to move the sugar into the cells. It's just too much sugar. So, part of what we're seeing today is what we call insulin resistance, where the sugar is not getting into the cells in an efficient manner and so we're building up a huge amount in our bloodstream, and of course that leads to diabetes. That is an epidemic, both in young and old people today. I mean, I'm seeing Type 2 diabetes in children as young as three years old in my practice; that is a scary situation. What we need to do is to cut back the sugar and have more complex carbohydrate foods instead so that the body has to break them down gradually, and utilise the sugar that is inherent in those foods over time. All food is broken down into sugar eventually in the body, but it's the time span in which it takes to get there. Simple sugars get into the blood too quickly and cause a real jag in the blood, that spike in the blood, which is what is unhealthy. The spike and then the drop, the spike and then the drop, and that leads to insulin resistance over time.
Are there any healthy types of sugars?
Sugar is sugar. There's no getting around it. I believe that it's ok to have a little bit of natural pure maple syrup in your products or a little bit of raw honey once in a while. Raw honey does have enzymes. Once you cook the honey it's got no enzymes, or pasteurize it, there's no more enzymes left, but if you get some pure maple syrup or some raw honey that's a great sweetener to add into your food. Once in a while that's great. You have your home made pancakes, whole grain of course, and then you add some real pure maple syrup, but sugar overall, you want to keep it down. The sugar that we take in, when you think that today people are eating approximately one hundred fifty pounds of sugar a year, between one hundred thirty and one hundred fifty per person. That's scary. I constantly teach my families about this. Kids are eating three quarters of a pound of sugar a week, a day, pardon me, and that's like five pounds a week. That was what people were allowed or allotted during World War I and II for a person for a year and kids are eating that in a week. This is where we really need to cut back and get rid of those simple sugars and high fructose corn syrup and other things that are added into food for flavor. What we've created is people addicted to sugar. We need to break the sugar habit because it does decrease the immune function and it absolutely does destroy your B vitamins and your vitamin C so that your nervous system is not working as efficiently. These are critical matters in our culture.