Tuesday, 26 July 2011 13:39

The dangers of sugar

Written by  Hilde Nel
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Sugar - More harmful than cholesterol?

“We are getting sicker as a nation… Heart disease, diabetes and cancer are on the rise. Our children are not going to outlive their parents. This is the first time in human history that this is happening.” (Dr. Stephen Sinatra, renowned American cardiologist)

The message is clear. We are at a turning point in human history. Fast foods and sugary drinks have taken their toll. What’s frightening is not only the increase of lifestyle conditions, but the fact that our children do not have a healthy foundation to fall back onto. They are the first generation to be exposed to anti-nutrients from an early age.

Before you reach out for that fizzy cold drink or croissant with strawberry jam, consider the following:

Sugar increases inflammation and metabolic syndrome

According to world-renowned cardiologist, Dr. Stephen Sinatra, there are several studies confirming that sugar puts you at greater risk for heart disease than cholesterol. Sugar causes the release of insulin.

Too much insulin is the number one risk factor for heart disease, because surging insulin causes inflammation in the blood vessels.

Research shows that high C-reactive protein levels in the blood indicate an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Sugar and refined starches cause fluctuations in our blood sugar levels. According to Dr. Sinatra, surging insulin secretion is highly damaging and can lead to metabolic syndrome. This can cause elevated inflammation levels. Next time you have a medical check-up, please ask your physician to have your CRP-levels checked.

Sugar and refined starches elevate triglyceride levels and lower good cholesterol

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study showing that people whose sugar intake was 20% of their daily calories were twice as likely to have lower levels of good cholesterol and higher levels of triglyceride levels.  This means an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sugar increases high blood pressure

The results of an 18-month study at Louisiana State University, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, found that overweight adults who drank one fewer serving of sugary soda per day had a significant reduction in blood pressure after 18 months.

Sugar and refined starches cause blood sugar dips that aggravate mood fluctuations and reduce energy levels

Have you ever noticed how your mood fluctuates just before lunch-time? Most people who suffer from depression, anxiety, stress and irritability can vouch for that.

One of the first steps in addressing mood and concentration problems as well as lack of energy is to improve one’s diet. Low blood sugar levels can play havoc with the mind. Regular meals consisting of low-GL foods taken with protein can be a real lifesaver.

People who suffer from mood disorders, lack of energy, or low concentration levels should avoid sugar and refined starches at all costs.

Sugar makes you age faster

When sugar binds with certain proteins, glycolated proteins are formed.  Glycolated proteins make you age faster.

Sugar aggravates yeast infections and digestive problems

If you have symptoms of digestive problems and yeast infections in the intestines, the first thing to avoid is sugar. Yeasts and molds feed on sugar and fermented foods such as cheese and beer. If you suffer with gas or bloating, it may be wise to avoid these culprit foods.

One of the most important steps anyone can take to improve their health is to replace refined starches and sugary drinks with low-GL foods. Replace all refined starches with low-GL alternatives such as brown basmati rice. If you eat out and no healthy alternatives are available, there are some great products available that help lower the GL of food. Good examples include Manna

konjac fibre (glucomannan), or mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa).

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Last modified on Friday, 05 October 2012 11:15
Hilde Nel

Hilde Nel

A socio-cultural Anthropologist by profession, Hilde gave up her career in Anthropology at UNISA and the University of Stellenbosch to follow her true passion, natural health.

After completing an Advanced Certificate in Natural Healing, her life-long dream came true when she opened Simply Natural in October 2000 at Canal Walk in Cape Town.  Simply Natural has gone on to become one of the most respected health shops in the country, a source of information and expertise.

Hilde’s aim is to empower people to reach optimal health the natural way. She believes in a holistic approach to solving health problems, and that true joy and happiness unfold when using ones ultimate passion to serve others.

Her special interests include preventative medicine, nutrition for the mind, and digestive disorders.

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