Healthy Habits: Cut Back on Refined Sugars
In This Article:
Impaired Immune System Functioning
The following chart shows what refined sugar can do to the effectiveness of our white blood cells, those members of our immune system that eat up foreign invaders, and in fact seek out and destroy our own cells that have become cancerous.
Effect of Refined Sugar on White Blood Cell Activity 18
|Amount Refined Sugar Consumed||Number of Bacteria a WBC Can Destroy in 1/2 Hour||Decrease in Immunity|
|6 teaspoons = 8 oz. of soft drink||10||25%|
|12 teaspoons = frosted brownie||5.5||60%|
|18 teaspoons = apple pie à la mode||2||85%|
|24 teaspoons = banana split||1||92%|
(Special Note: A 12-ounce can of soda contains 9 teaspoons of sugar. An 8-ounce serving of fruit-flavored yoghurt contains almost as much.)19
Often referred to simply as candida, this organism is a normal fungus (yeast) that lives in our bodies. It normally takes up residence in our intestinal tract, but can get into our circulatory system. No one really knows what good it does our bodies, if any. Perhaps the only reason it's there is to help the decaying process of changing our bodies back into dust when we die.
If our blood chemistry is in good order and our immune system is strong, candida is kept in check. However, if these systems are not up to par, the fungus begins to overgrow our bodies. In his book The Yeast Connection, William G. Crook, M.D., puts forth an extensive list of symptoms indicating possible yeast overgrowth. Among them are fatigue, lethargy, depression, irritability, headaches, inability to concentrate, inappropriate drowsiness, muscle weakness and numbing, recurrent vaginal or urinary tract infections, athlete's foot, jock itch, persistent digestive distresses (heartburn, indigestion, constipation, etc.), swollen joints, nasal congestion, recurrent sore throats, and more.20
As was already pointed out, a steady intake of refined sugar in our diets can weaken the effectiveness of our immune systems, thus allowing candida to multiply. This, plus the fact that yeast feeds on sugar, makes refined sugar a real no-no.
And Much, Much More
This list could go on and on. In fact, Nancy Appleton, Ph.D., author of Lick the Sugar Habit, lists the following potential consequences of long-term consumption of refined sugars: hypoglycemia, diabetes, constipation, stomach or intestinal gas, arthritis, asthma, headaches, psoriasis, cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, obesity, candida albicans, tooth decay, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, canker sores, gallstones, and cystic fibrosis.21
Tips on Cutting Down on Refined Sugar
Don't Buy "Sweets"
Stay out of the candy aisle at the grocery store. Steer clear of the pastry section. Avoid the dairy cases. When it comes to spending your hard-earned money on sugar, "just say no"!
Rid Your Kitchen of Refined Sugar
Go through your refrigerator and cabinets, reading labels. If you find anything with these words on it, throw it out immediately: sucrose, fructose (obviously the commercially refined kind), glucose, maltose, lactose, galactose, cane syrup, corn syrup, corn sugar, invert sugar, dextrose, or anything else that smacks of refined sugar.
But all that food from my kitchen will be wasted, you're saying. "I know you're tempted to give it to poor people," writes Dr. David Reuben of what you'll find in your kitchen, "but don't do it unless you have something against poor people. And above all, don't give it to the dog. For one thing, the over-refined junk you're getting rid of probably doesn't meet the US Department of Agriculture standards for animal feed. It could get you in trouble."22
Keep tossing until your kitchen is completely free from refined sugar. "Then if you need a 'fix,'" says Dr. Nancy Appleton, "you will have to drive to the store to feed your habit. This will give you time to think, and maybe you'll change your mind. If not, buy only enough to satisfy your craving. Don't buy any more than you can eat at the moment. Buy the smallest size of whatever it is you crave, and throw out what you don't eat. Better wasted outside the body than inside."23
From HEALTHY HABITS: 20 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health by David J. Frahm as used by arrangement with Jeremy P. Tarcher, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright © 2003 by David and Anne Frahm. All rights reserved.
To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.