Thanks for the amazing response to the show this week. We ran out of time to take all the calls and the website got a gazillion hits. It took me by surprise what a hot topic sugar is. I’ve done programs (pre-website, sorry the notes aren’t archived) about hypoglycaemia and other aspects of sugar previously, so this time I concentrated on the “new” sugars but there is always much more that can be said on the subject of all things sweet.
I got a great question on twitter from @yemayasverse that asked, “not clear on why you need to avoid sugar – or cut down – if you’re not overweight and you brush your teeth regularly.” So here’s an extra five reasons to cut down on sugar.
1. Sugar suppresses your immune response to bacteria, viruses and fungal infections.
2. Sugar promotes inflammation, a leading cause of all things from pain and acne, to autoimmune conditions and cancer.
3. Sugar encourages the growth of H. pylori, the gut bug that is linked to stomach ulcers.
4. Sugar encourages the overgrowth of unhealthy flora, such as Candida (the cause of thrush and other chronic health issues).
5. Sugar is metabolised quickly causing an energy surge followed by a crash, can trigger mood swings and reduce mental clarity.
Of course the above top 5 are in addition to other reasons mentioned in the show.
1. Sugar can spike your “bad” cholesterol levels, increasing your risk of heart attacks and stroke.
2. Sugar is irrevocably linked to diabetes and Syndrome X.
3. Sugar really can make you fat – chaffing thighs might be inconvenient but obesity is a killer.
4. And it does rot your teeth, even in healthy sources like dried fruit.
5. Fructose causes gout and can kill your liver cells.
How much is too much?
We all like a little sweetness but almost all of us have too much.
Australians on average consume 53 kg of sugar per person a year (source). That’s means we eat more than 1 kilogram of sugar a week. Metabolising sugar requires different nutrients including vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, potassium, magnesium, manganese, chromium and zinc. The higher our sugar intake, the more likely we are to become deficient in these vital nutrients.
So how do you know if you are having too much? If you eat any processed foods, eat out or consume takeaway drinks, meals or snacks it is difficult to accurately estimate your actual sugar intake. One way to know if it’s too much is to go cold turkey for a week. To do this you’d need to cook from scratch using unprocessed food, nothing that comes in a packet, jar or box. If you get withdrawal symptoms (headaches, sweats, mood swings, insomnia, fatigue etc) it’s a sure sign you consume too much sugar.
Over the next few months I will attempt to add some new articles on some additional sugar themed topics including fructose malabsorption and artificial sweeteners. If you don’t want to miss them when they’re uploaded, it’s easy to keep update with new posts by clicking the RSS feed.