Your probably know that sugar and sweets can lead to gaining weight. But sugar also has a much darker side. Sugar depresses your immune system, making it easier to catch infections and harder to get rid of them. And now sugar has been linked to a host of diseases that collectively constitute the biggest threat to worldwide health.
A revealing article in this month’s issue of Nature exposed the true dangers of eating too much sugar, especially if you have infections like Staph and MRSA. And the potential risks of eating a lot of sugar go way beyond infections and weight gain.
Most people are surprised to find out just how much of their food contains added sugar. Nearly all processed and packaged foods contain added sugar, just check out the ingredients label. And processed foods are what fill 90% of the shelves at your local supermarket.
Added sugar is found in so many foods that it’s hard to find foods that don’t have it. Ingredients like corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are the two biggest culprits. The average person in the U.S. now consumes over 600 calories from sugar every day – that’s nearly 30% of total daily calories!
The problem is, your body was not made to digest and process all that processed and refined sugar. For the vast majority of man’s history, sweets and high sugar foods were always a minor part of the diet. It’s only been over the last 50 years or so that processed and refined sugars have become a significant portion of what we eat.
Sugar is much more than just ‘empty calories’. In many ways, sugar can act as a toxin in your body, which can become a root cause for a host of diseases over time. Sugar can trigger liver toxicity and lead to a number of chronic health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, dementia, accelerated aging and even cancer.
Sugary and processed foods make your body more acidic which rob you of crucial nutrients. Refined sugars are processed to strip away their nutrients, fiber and minerals. This forces your body to strip away minerals from your bones and other tissues in order to digest them. In this vicious cycle, the mineral deficiency can further cause enzyme depletion, which then contributes to poor digestion, reduced nutrient absorption and autoimmune disorders like “leaky gut syndrome”.
As mentioned before, sugar undermines your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections. In fact, did you know that drinking two cans of regular soda pop depresses your immune function by 92% for up to five hours (J. Archives of Surgery, 1999)? Sugar and simple carbs feed many types of infections, especially yeast and Candida infections that are very common either during or after having MRSA or Staph.
Sugar causes inflammation in your body. Bacterial infections like Staph also cause inflammation, and eating sugar makes this problem worse. Inflammation over time can lead to arthritis, heart disease and even autoimmune disorders.
Perhaps worst of all, sugar is addictive. Sugar has many similarities to alcohol (alcohol actually comes from sugar). Sugar disrupts dopamine levels and has strong habit forming effects. On top of sugar cravings, this insidious food ingredient also disrupts hormones so you feel more hungry and less full after eating. So not only is sugar the worst food to eat for infections, it can also be the hardest food to give up.
What you can do
The single most important diet change you can make to help an infection is reducing the amount of sugar you eat. Of course, it’s also very important to eat more immune boosting foods, high-nutrient foods and foods that actively fight off infections. But the biggest bang for your infection diet buck is probably sugar reduction.
Below is a list of ingredients that all mean the same thing: sugar. Look for the following ingredients on food labels and eat them more sparingly (or avoid them altogether if you can):
- sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, evaporated cane juice
- corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, barley malt
- honey, maple syrup, molasses
- rice syrup, fruit juice concentrate
- dextrose, fructose, glucose, and other ingredients ending in ‘-ose’
PS – Raw honey, maple syrup and molasses are better forms of sugar because they do not have the minerals and other nutrients stripped from them during processing like regular sugar does. However, they are still forms of sugar and are best minimized or removed from your diet during active infections.
To your health,
Microbiologist and Natural Health Expert