Everyone knows sugar is not good for you, but WHY is it so detrimental? Besides the fact that no one needs added sugar to survive, and the fact that it makes you fat, sugar also does other terrible things to your insides…such as cause cancer. I am going to list a few reasons why I NEVER consume added sugar (raw local honey/manuka honey/pure maple syrup is ok in moderation). ****NOTE that I am also 100% against sugar substitutes/artificial sweeteners, etc., which are equally as bad!
- Addictive. Sugar is HIGHLY addictive. Just like addictive drugs, sugar causes a massive dopamine release in the “reward center” of the brain. This is especially bad for people who are more prone to addictive behaviors. I don’t ever “cheat” on ice cream or anything with refined sugar because of this – there is absolutely zero nutritional value and even if you just have a little bit of this type of sugar, you will want more and more. Many people have no self-control, therefore can’t stop eating the bad food, and then end up very over-weight and unhealthy. Abstinence is the best thing when it comes to this substance! Sugar and other junk foods, because of their effect on the reward center of the brain, function similar to drugs like cocaine and nicotine. You will also crave and need more and more of the substance, the more frequently you consume it!
- Fructose turns to fat. Before sugar enters the bloodstream it is broken down into fructose and glucose. Glucose is found in every living cell on the planet, but fructose is different. Our bodies do not produce fructose and there is no need for fructose, physiologically. Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver. This is fine if you’ve just finished working out or you just eat a piece of fruit – the fructose is turned into glycogen and stored in the liver until we need it. If the liver is already full of glycogen, eating a lot of fructose overloads the liver, forcing it to turn this fructose INTO FAT. When this process is repeated over and over again (very common), this leads to a fatty liver. GROSS. ALSO KEEP IN MIND: it’s almost impossible to overeat fructose by eating FRESH FRUIT – this applies more towards ice cream, doughnuts, soda, candy, etc. Also, people who are extremely active can tolerate all of this much better than people who aren’t (they also probably know about moderation and don’t eat tons of sugar on a daily or even weekly basis).
- Causes insulin resistance, and diabetes. Insulin is an important hormone. It allows glucose to enter the cells and tells the cells to burn the glucose instead of fat. Too much glucose is highly toxic. Insulin resistance occurs when the insulin in the body stops working as it should – the cells become resistant to it. This can lead to so many diseases such as metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions: symptoms are large waist circumference, high blood sugar, fatigue, etc.
- Ages your skin. HELLO WRINKLES! This is enough to prevent me from eating sugar. Sugar has zero nutrients and it’s pretty much pointless to consume – unless it’s fresh fruit or occasional honey or pure maple syrup, as previously stated. Too much sugar damages collagen which makes you more prone to getting wrinkles. Sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products – the more sugar you eat, the more of these you develop. As these accumulate they damage adjacent proteins in a “domino-like fashion”. Collagen and elastin are MOST vulnerable to the damage and these are the protein fibers that keep skin firm! Once they are damaged, they become dry and brittle thus leading to wrinkling and sagging. YIKES. These all start around age 35 and increase rapidly afterwards. Read more about that here. Next time someone offers you cake or a doughnut or ice cream, think about all the crows feet and nasty wrinkles it will cause.
- Can cause you to get CANCER. Cancer is obviously one of the leading causes of death. It’s characterized by uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells. Insulin is a key hormone that regulates this growth. Many scientists believe that having constantly elevated insulin levels can contribute to cancer. High sugar consumption also drives up inflammation in the body which is another cause of cancer. People who eat a lot of sugar are at a MUCH HIGHER risk of getting cancer – studies have shown. Sugar and cancer are best friends. Cancer cells love sugar. Also keep in mind WHITE FLOUR is essentially sugar in a different form – hence another reason why I don’t eat any bread or gluten/wheat. Cancer thrives in an acidic environment – sugar is highly acidic! This is why you simply must avoid it at all costs!
- Has fat-promoting effects. Different foods have different effects on our brains. Not all calories are created equal – hence the fact I eat super clean but do not even count a single calorie. Studies show that fructose does not have the same effect on satiety as glucose – therefore making you hungrier as opposed to feeling full. Sugar calories are NOT fulfilling, in other words. This will lead to weight gain. Just remember: SUGAR = EMPTY CALORIES, ZERO NUTRITIONAL VALUE. don’t eat it!
- Raises cholesterol and causes heart disease. Studies are finally showing that saturated fat, such as found in coconut oil, does not cause heart disease. Sugar is now recognized as the culprit. Large amounts of fructose raise triglycerides, increase bad cholesterol, raise blood glucose and insulin levels AND abdominal obesity (the most dangerous type of fat). These are risk factors for heart disease. The risk of dying from heart disease is more than doubled if 21% of your daily calories are from added sugars. Added sugars = sugars/syrups that are added to foods or drinks when they are PROCESSED. This includes sweetened yogurt, milk, grains, cakes, cookies, candy, soda, juice, etc. Sugar sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugar in the American diet. Cut them out 100% – this is such an easy fix! I ONLY drink water because it’s the only thing we actually need. And I don’t add anything to my coffee other than coconut oil.
I hope this has opened your eyes to the detrimental effects of sugar. We do not need added sugar at all in our diet! Focusing on eating WHOLE, REAL food that is not processed will eliminate all of the cancer causing sugars. As stated before, sugar found in whole fruit does not have the same effect as processed sugar (although I still limit my fruit intake and focus more on vegetables). If you want to live a long healthy life and anti-age on a daily basis, you must give your body the things it needs. Sugar is not one of these things! Also, you can enjoy clean treats on occasion by eating and living my lifestyle – I sweeten things only with SMALL AMOUNTS of pure, raw local honey or 100% pure maple syrup.