Sugar: it’s in almost everything we eat and drink. Like most professionals in healthcare, I am not a fan of sugar or the impact it has on our bodies. Too often, at Pulse Chiropractic and Wellness, I see patients that are suffering from the negative effects of excessive sugar consumption. Such as, joint inflammation, muscular weakness, and cardiovascular issues to name a few.
Consuming large sugar doses on a daily basis, as most Americans do, is a surefire way to compromise personal wellness and diminish the quality and duration of life. Because of this, everyone needs to understand what sugar is, along with how to avoid it and how to make adjustments in diet.
Sadly, sugar may be [killing more people/complicating more lives] than tobacco. Sugar consumption is a factor behind increasing rates of obesity, disease, vascular disorders, dementia and Type II diabetes. Researchers at MD Anderson have uncovered another mechanism by which high sugar intake increases breast cancer risk and lung cancer metastasis.
The impact of society’s sugar addiction is a global medical crisis that has been centuries in the making. In the 1700’s, the average citizen consumed about four pounds of refined sugar a year. Today, annual refined sugar ingestion has shot up to over 110 pounds per person!
So how is sugar so addicting?
When we eat sugar, the brain releases opioids and dopamine, resulting in a pleasurable energy spike that we want to re-experience. So, we repeat the behavior over and over, riding the waves of sugar-high to sugar-crash in a feedback loop.
Refined sugar forms, or bad sugars (high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, and sucrose) are key ingredients used by the food industry to keep us craving for more. Altogether, they spike blood glucose levels and create complications for health. From a nutritional standpoint, there is simply no need for people to consume sugars or simple carbohydrates.
Good sugar, or glucose, provides our cells with sustenance for life. However, plenty of glucose is already synthesized in our bodies through gluconeogenesis. In this process, our liver uses proteins and fats in our diet to create glucose. As long as we eat natural, nutrient-rich foods and avoid flavored drinks, our bodies will thrive on their own.
One of the biggest sugars to avoid is high fructose corn syrup, which comes infused in many sweets, sodas, and fruit-flavored drinks. Since it has become a staple in many supermarket foods, research shows that there has been an increase of obesity and health-related problems across the board. In animal and human studies, when high fructose corn syrup is eaten in excess, it correlated with higher triglycerides, fatty liver and decreased insulin sensitivity.
At Pulse Chiropractic and Wellnes, I see that patients who consume large amounts of sugar and simple carbohydrates have more back and joint issues, due to spikes in blood sugar that produce an inflammatory reaction throughout the body.
Steps to Reducing Sugar in the Bloodstream
To reduce sugar in our blood stream, here is a list of products everyone should avoid or replace with natural alternatives.
- Soft Drinks – Avoid them like the plague
- Fruit Juices – Contain the same amount of sugar as soft drinks
- Candies and Sweets
- Baked Goods (Cookies, cakes, etc.) – Saturated with sugar and refined carbohydrates
- Fruits in canned syrup – Eat fresh fruits instead
- Foods Labeled as “Low-Fat” – Often very high sugar content in place of fat
Instead of soda or flavorful juices, drink water instead! Instead of using table sugar, use Stevia as a natural alternative. Instead of fruits in canned syrup, eat fresh fruit.
What about the fructose present in fruit? The sugar present in fruit is okay, since it has not been chemically altered and is therefore easy for the body to process. Fruits also have healthy nutrients, antioxidants and fiber that are essential for healthy, normal functioning. You would have to eat several servings of fruit in order to ingest as much fructose as one soda can has.
The bottom line is that sugary foods should only be eaten occasionally, in small portions or as a treat. As a healthcare practitioner, my hope is that one day, there will be more world-wide public-health initiatives that help educate the public and reduce sugar in our food sources.
Pulse Chiropractic and Wellness is conveniently located on the 1st floor of the Piney Point Office building in Harris County, Houston TX. To get started please visit the New Patient section for more information and to schedule an appointment.