Radiation, preservatives, carcinogens, mutagens, disease and killer airborn viral strains bombard you the second you leave your house. Molds and synthetic intoxicants bury spores and particles deep in your lungs while you sleep. Stress hides around every corner, catching your immune system unaware, compounding otherwise trivial problems. But… the above are like guppies compared to the great white menace of modern living.
Table sugar finds its way into just about every type of food product. Sugar with meat? We have that. Sugar in bread? You bet. In fact, sugar is added to some of the strangest things – even ones that were already unbearably sweet. And simply knowing about it won’t change much, because there’s really no way to counteract the terrible health effects of processed sugar.
I’ve recently had the opportunity to experiment with ungodly amounts of dietary sugar. Or – well, I wasn’t experimenting. Actually, I just like sugar. The truth is… let me explain… for a while there, I became a sugar monster myself, somehow consuming the national average like so many of you.
Here’s what I noticed:
- Mysterious skin problems
- Mood swings
- Low endurance
- Unexplainable stress and nervousness
- Sleep issues
- Unusual cravings
- Joint popping and inflammation
- Gas (gas, gas, gas!)
- Digestive problems
- Digestive problems
- Digestive problems
Listen, people… I wasn’t even using real white sugar. The stuff I added to my tea and oatmeal was the fancy, organic, hippy-shaman blessed “cane juice” crap. And despite knowing ten different ways to heal a diabetic ulcer using garden weeds, I fell prey to the oldest trick in the book – advertisement. Let’s just get this out of the way: Cane sugar is cane sugar. Whether it’s brown, blonde, white, or special Independence Day explosion colored, it’s processed sugar.
The problems I listed are not uncommon. Sure, eventually your body gets used to it and you stop noticing, but the problems lurk in the shadows. Many books have been written specifically about the hidden dangers of sugar – how it’s chemically addictive, how it damages nerves, how it slowly rots away your bones, how it poisons the immune system – but not once have I seen a truly accessible warning about the root of the problem. I mean, what kind of person wants to read a book of research about the negative health effects of sugar? Let’s be honest; usually the ones reading those books already have a good idea of what it does.
So without further ado, here’s the summary of any good book on the effects of sugar.
Step 1: You eat sugar.
Step 2: Digestion.
Your body rejoices
Bacteria, viruses, yeast, and parasitic organisms in your digestive tract, which are always naturally present, also rejoice.
Step 3: Energy Production.
Bye-bye minerals! To use such a concentrated source of food energy, your body has to supply enormous amounts of stored minerals (and vitamins), which are stripped away from blood plasma, muscles, bones, skin, joints, vital organs, teeth… and yes, that’s how sugar really causes a cavity, which is then infected by opportunistic S. mutans bacteria.
Hello bugs! Unfortunately, microorganisms in your digestive systems love sugar, and for the most part don’t find it hard to use at all. The “bad” ones eat sugar and produce harmful chemicals, some of which contribute to scientifically-proven sugar addiction. The “good” ones, under the influence of sugar, reproduce many generations of misunderstood, spoiled delinquents that wreak almost as much havoc in your body as the “bad” ones.
Step 4: Habituation and Illness.
Now both types of bugs, the “good” and the “bad,” are categorically bad. Floods of harmful, sticky, toxic chemicals are produced when bad bugs digest sugar, and – you guessed it – your body absorbs it all into your blood. Eventually you adapt; your body gets used to this and the immune system handles it best it can. But eventually you run out of ammunition, and sooner or later those bad bugs get a little cramped and move from your bowels to other places, causing minor infections that weaken you further.
Now comes illness… when your body’s met with outside stress, the flu, the cold, or anything else, that’s the last straw. You’ve hit your breaking point – your immune system and all parts of your body get overwhelmed, and real problems start to develop, like inflammation, chronic fatigue, and heart disease.
Step 5: Addiction and Disease.
Your bugs get addicted. “Good” or “bad,” doesn’t matter; these little guys want sugar and nothing else will suffice. Don’t forget this: the bugs in your belly help you to digest food. At this point, whenever you eat a steak, they go to a corner to pout. Whenever you eat vegetables, they make signs and protest. Potatoes and sweet corn are accepted like survival food – so close to being like sugar, yet so far away. Your body struggles to produce enough hydrochloric acid, enzymes, and bile to handle digestion all by itself, but picketing bugs swarm to the carbohydrates in your food like starving lions, bringing opposition to your tissues. Now your digestive strength for anything but high-carbohydrate foods and sugar is pretty much non-existent, but as long as you chew well and your liver colors everything brown, you’ll neeeever noootice. (And besides, you “just don’t feel right” without some pasta, taters, or Pepsi.)
Health diminishes now. You don’t feel quite right without sweets or starches, and any time you skip your regular meals and snacks, the bugs riot and your stomach turns. How could you be so selfish? Don’t you know you’re caring for billions upon billions? This whole thing has your body spending every last dime of nutrition keeping bugs happy and maintaining the smidgen of health it has left. All the while, tsunamis of bug toxins and half-digested food chemicals make their way to your joints, heart, brain – to the very tips of your toes – occasionally getting stuck in your blood stream, creating inflammation and leading to arterial plaque. Between rations of immune system supplies, when your body is at its most helpless, so much toxic crap piles up that eventually you can’t get nutrition to certain tissues (like extremities, skin, or even the heart), which then have to ditch helping the rest of your body and struggle to even survive. Diseases manifest, and over a longer period of time they become stubborn, chronic ailments that sometimes accept medical treatment and sometimes just kill you.
…Now, I know all of this can seem a little exaggerated. And trust me, I understand; I don’t like it when health foodies blow things out of proportion either. But this is different. Regular ass scientific research carried out by regular ass Fanta-gulping researchers gives us the same sweet picture – and as a matter of fact, before your neighbor told you all the crazy health Nazi horror stories about sugar being an addictive poison, the book or video they heard it from likely compiled a hundred years of legitimate “just for grins” research that’d been shelved well away from the public. (Brought to you by private interest.)
I’m personally a sugar monster myself every now and again, and I understand a smidgen will do no harm. But for those of you who’ve made little to no effort to track how much you’re actually consuming, you’ve been warned. The best we can do to keep from suffering a painful, sugary existence is to practice moderation, use darker varieties of sugar when we do on occasion want something sweet (these types contain more nutrition… just barely), or better yet, find alternatives in fruit, palm sugar, maple syrup, date sugar, stevia, and raw honey, all of which have to some extent been proven easier on our bodies than sugar itself.
–Dr. Jensen’s Guide to Better Bowel Care (Dr. Bernard Jensen)
-Chemistry of Man (Dr. Bernard Jensen)
-Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sucrose and Health (James M. Rippe)
-Sugar free, cancer free? (Andrea P. Myers and Lewis C. Cantley; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
-Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake (Nicole M. Avena, Pedro Rada, and Bartley G. Hoebel; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
-Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults (Yang Q, Zhang Z, Gregg EW, Flanders WD, Merritt R, Hu FB; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
-Sugar consumption and human cancer in sites other than the digestive tract (Burley VJ; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
-Sugar consumption and cancers of the digestive tract (Burley VJ; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
-Dietary sugar and lung cancer: a case-control study in Uruguay (De Stefani E, Deneo-Pellegrini H, Mendilaharsu M, Ronco A, Carzoglio JC; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
-Fermentation of five sucrose isomers by human dental plaque bacteria (Matsuyama J, Sato T, Hoshino E, Noda T, Takahashi N; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
-The Effects of Sucrose on Metabolic Health: A Systematic Review of Human Intervention Studies in Healthy Adults (Sigrid Gibson, Pippa Gunn, Anna Wittekind, and Richard Cottrell; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
-Charaka Samhita (Special thanks to these ancient authors, who detailed the health effects of various processed sugarcane foods, including white sugar, thousands of years ago.)