Sugar Will Kill You

I was sick this morning. Nauseous. Fatigued. A migraine that painkillers can’t touch. Weepy. An overall feeling of general and inescapable yuckiness. Just so, so sick.

All this because I ate cake last night. 

I knew it was a mistake by the time we got in the car and were on our way home: I felt crap-alicious. (which means highly crappy, to all the senses, in Dara-speak) And cranky! Oh boy was I a sour-puss as we all took off our party clothes and climbed into bed! This was followed by a very bad night’s sleep – sugar is having some very undeniable effects on my entire body.

And I know it was the cake: everything else I consumed is a regular part of my diet (meat, potato, red wine, cream, veggies…) But I haven’t had any refined, processed sugar or grains in two months. I have been enjoying the longest run of the greatest health of my life, and I went and screwed myself with some red velvet cheesecake. All because I didn’t want to offend my host by refusing this mile-high cake extravagance. (Seriously, that was my reasoning. I stopped my automatic refusal because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Never again. I have to live with myself, and so does my husband.) 

Is it the wheat that is causing this total-body angst? The dairy? The soy that was probably hiding in their somewhere, someplace, some form? The actual sugar itself? I can’t say for sure, but I’m not eager to repeat the experience for the sake of science. Whether it was one offender or many, this experience has fortified my commitment to the Primal diet and living sans sugar and grains unshakably.

That cake should be served with the warning: contains poison. Because sugar, no matter what form it comes in, will kill you.

In fact, sugar is killing the majority of Americans, slowly but surely. Does that sound extreme? Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer… these diseases of affluence can be traced back to our continually increasing consumption of sugar, in all forms.

Here are some fun facts about that seductive sweetener:

  • Sugar binds with vitamins & minerals in your body, which means that they are not being absorbed, but depleted, thus depriving your body of nutrients vital for health & healing.
  • Sugar binds with and dissolve B vitamins in the digestive tract, which means they aren’t absorbed or utilized, resulting in health problems in the skin, nervous, digestive, and reproductive systems, and undesirable stress reaction.
  • Sugar requires insulin in order to be processed by the body, a hormone that assists your body in metabolizing and storing fat. If the insulin is too busy taking care of sugars, it will store fat instead of utilizing it; in the same vein, insulin will eventually start to store both sugars and fat as excess fat stores.
  • Sugar depresses the immune system by inhibiting the endocrine system; this decreases your body’s ability to heal.
  • Sugar contains no fiber, no minerals, no protein, no enzymes, no fats, no vitamins, it is truly empty calories. Because your body uses vital nutrients to process these empty calories, it is depleting your body even further of what it needs to function well.

Two hundred years ago, in the early 1800s, the average sugar consumption per person was around 15 pounds per year (and didn’t include the modern marvel high fructose corn syrup). In the year 1990, twenty-one years ago, this average yearly intake was at 180 pounds per person – equal to, or more than, the average body weight. Break that down, and the average Joe is eating half a pound – eight ounces – of sugar a day. I can only imagine that number has increased exponentially. (I am having a hard time finding recent numbers on that score.)

You don’t have to be downing candy bars and soda pop to reach that intake, either. Sugar hides in many places, and has many aliases. Some brands of ketchup have more sugar per ounce than ice cream; some salad dressings have three times the sugar profile of soda. Many coffee creamers container more sugar per serving than a candy bar. Don’t get me started on breakfast cereals, or other good ole fashioned American staples that come in boxes, bags, and cans. In summation: they are full of sugar.

Here’s the rub: the label may not read first ingredient: sugar, or even list “sugar” at all. Sugar likes to hide behind such official names as dextrose, corn syrup solids, malt powder, sucrose, glucose, fructose, malitol, sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt, ethrylitol, aspartame, saccharine, beet sugar, and my favorite, often found in “health foods”: crystalized cane juice, which is, uh, sugar.

Sugar is in everything, at least everything prepackaged & processed, and sugar is not our friend. We are regularly consuming mass quantities of something that is known to depress the function of at least five major systems in the human body, and yet we wonder why we are sick, lethargic, and overweight as a nation.

I am not a medical professional, and I am not claiming that eliminating sugars from your diet will heal you of cancers, diabetes, et al. I will, however, speak from my experience that eliminating sugars & grains from my diet has completely revolutionized my health and overall well-being.

Sugar. Great as a pet name for your significant other, but lousy as a food source.

What sort of presence does sugar have in your diet? 

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