As promised in my last health post, I am circling back around on a topic that is super important! The word ‘pandemic’ has been in everyone’s vocabulary for the past year or more, yet for decades we don’t look at the EPIdemic right in front of our faces. The OBESITY epidemic. Of course we all have heard about the Covid-19 deaths linked to obesity and playing a key factor in co-morbidity rates, but I don’t want to go off topic. Just know that there is ZERO health benefit to being overweight, let alone obese, yet every reason to get rid of excess weight.
Sugarcane is the world’s third most valuable crop after grains and rice. Humans evolved on a diet with practically no sugar or refined carbohydrates. The first chemically refined sugar dates back to India about 2,500 years ago. So what does refined even mean? Refined is a glamorous way of saying ‘highly processed’. What does highly processed mean? It means a food has been stripped of its original nutrient content and fiber. Manufacturers do this for several reasons. Number one reason would be profitability, followed by shelf life and market share. It gets nauseating and political, so I will refrain. Just know this: Motivation for refining foods is solely for profit, not for health.
Back to sugar…refined sugar. Most people think of white sugar when you say the word sugar. Sugarcane is a beautiful golden brown color. So why is sugar white? When sugar (same goes for flour by the way) is refined, it has been bleached and chemically treated. It provides NO nutrition to the body. It is no mystery that it is addictive. The same neural systems are influenced by both drugs and certain foods.
Refined sugar actually DEpresses the immune system. It can suppress the immune system for up to 6 hours. When white blood cells are exposed to high levels of sugar in the bloodstream, they simply stop engulfing bacteria. Remember in my last post when I said how super smart our bodies are? Don’t worry. I will keep reminding you.
Refined sugar is found in many packaged foods, but those tricky manufacturers hide it under many different names: molasses, dextrose, sucrose, fructose, syrups, sugar in the raw, and the worst of the bunch…..high fructose corn syrup. The manufacturers do this to avoid listing sugar as the main ingredient on a label, so make sure you read the label thoroughly. Note to self: do a post about how to read labels..ok got it. Moving on…
Somewhere along the line, someone realized that sugar was poison so they decided to create artificial sugar. I am here to tell you, it is worse. There have been numerous attempts to remove them from the market because of health concerns, INCLUDING cancer. In addition to cancer, although that should be enough to make you stay away, aspartame causes abdominal pain, asthma and other breathing issues, migraines, sexual problems, burning eyes and/or throat, chest pains, heart palpitations, memory loss, menstrual problems, hives, vertigo, vision loss…and many more, believe it or not. Aspartame worsens symptoms of fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Parkinson’s, ADD, diabetes, depression and other psychological disorders. There are more adverse reports to the FDA about aspartame than ANY other food additive. Weird, they are still on the shelves…hmmm. I will simplify it…our bodies simply do not know what to do with certain chemicals, and this is one of them. The methyl alcohol from aspartame travels in to our blood vessels, including your brain, and converts it to formaldehyde. Yep, you read that right. If you are having a hard time giving up diet soda, try Zevia. Most grocery stores carry it now and it gives you that soda fix. It is sweetened with stevia which naturally derived from a Peruvian plant. I have flavored seltzer that I make with my soda stream! If you want more information on other NATURAL sweeteners, leave me a comment below. Stay away from Splenda or any aspartame. If you struggle from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or extra weight, you should do your best to stay away from ANY sweetener.
SO take away tip: stay away from sugar and it’s fake friend.