Why is Refined Sugar So Bad for Your Health?

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

Stack of sugar cubes. Drinks like sodas and energy drinks contain a lot of refined sugar that can lead to obesity.Sugar consumption has steadily risen in recent years and the USDA now reports that the average American consumes around 150 pounds of sugar per year. [1] Sodas are a major source of refined sugars in the American diet. Energy drinks are close behind, and even fruit juices are working against us. Don’t let the word “fruit” fool you. Some of these fruit drinks are stripped of all nutrients and have more additives and sugar (as much as 90%+) than soda.

Sugar Contributes to Diabetes

The World Health Organization recommendation for sugar consumption is no less than 10% of calories, [2] but arguably, this recommendation should be much less. Those that are overweight, pre-diabetic, or suffering from any kind of health issue should limit and/or avoid sugar. Free sugar, meaning sugar that isn’t bound to fiber in fruit, can lead to inflammation, blood sugar instability, and, over a period of time, type 2 diabetes. If you don’t have exercise in your life, then the likelihood you’ll develop these problems goes through the roof.

Sugar Affects Body pH

A daily dose of sugar causes altered internal pH levels resulting in a more acidic body. It is believed that an acidic environment is a breeding ground for disease, whereas an alkaline body promotes good health. [3] To correct any type of imbalance, the body draws on mineral stores. For example, to protect the blood, calcium is drawn from the bones and teeth — enough to weaken bones. This precipitates osteoarthritis.
Refined sugar may even be damaging to the digestive system, particularly for those who have difficulty digesting carbohydrates.

Sugar Has Many Hidden Sources

Around ¼ of the American diet is comprised of refined sugars, and when you take a look at the foods available at most supermarkets, this fact is hardly surprising. [4] Grocery store shelves are littered with junk foods–some of which are disguised as being healthy–that contain massive amounts of sugar. In fact, some prepackaged sports foods, like energy bars, contain more sugar than a candy bar! What’s more, many foods contain hidden sugar, or sugar that is masked by other names such as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and sucanat. While sucanat is probably better for the body than HFCS, the effects of sugar on blood sugar and internal organs are similar.

Do you avoid sugar? What have been your results? Please share with us your take in the comments!

References (4)
  1. United States Department of Agriculture. Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption, 1970-2005. USDA.
  2. World Health Organization. Healthy diet. World Health Organization.
  3. Gerry K. Schwalfenberg. The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health? J Environ Publc Health. 2012, 2012: 727830.
  4. Barbara V. Howard, PhD; Judith Wylie-Rosett, RD, EdD. Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease. Circulation. 2002; 106:523-527. doi: 10.1161/01.CIR.0000019552.77778.04.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Liz

    so what about fructose? im eat mostly fruit.

  • Ruth Mitchell

    I gave into temptation last night and ate a candy bar from the trick or treat candy I stashed away for Halloween. My arthritic knee is so swollen and painful today, I need a cane to walk. My first instinct was to blame my compression hose. Next, I determined the problem was not staying off my feet enough yesterday. Then the generic brand of my nsaid was insufficient. Alas, I concluded it must have been something I’d eaten. I spent the weekend out of town visiting my best friend. We had coffee cake, brownies, etc. I was fine yesterday (Monday) so it couldn’t have been that. Then I remembered having a big candy bar.
    It wasn’t worth the few moments of pleasure. Alcoholics move over.
    Sugar is an addiction and is toxic. Something I already knew and have been avoiding. Details provided for others in denial.

  • Sylvia Tam

    I gave up sugar for two months in an effort to bring down my candida levels. Coincidentally, I had had a blood test prior and both my cholesterol and my thyroid stimulating hormone were happened to be high. I was retested after the two months of not eating sugar, and all my cholesterol levels had improved dramatically (LDL, HDL and Ratio), and my TSH dropped from 8.7 down to 2.4. I had no idea not eating sugar was going to affect these.

  • Anne

    I have given up refined sugar for over a month now. For the first couple of weeks I was on holiday with a friend who is also cutting out sugar; it was good to be away from the usual routine and encourage one another in starting some good eating habits and resisting temptations! Now, after six weeks, I am amazed by how much better I feel! I don’t crave sweet things; I feel full after smaller meals; and I don’t snack! I have more energy and am losing weight. When I had a choc chip cookie recently, I was surprised to find that it tasted over sweet and lacking in real flavour. I wish I had given up refined sugar years ago!

  • Brigitte

    I have given up sugar for several weeks in association with nourishment for deacidification, while I eat an overplus of base foods. In a little while I could notice a significant betterment of my arthrosis in my fingers, in association with my fibromyalgy and neuropathy in my feed. I can really advice this kind of nourishment. You can safe a lot of money for medication for a much better physical health and a better quality of life.

  • Karen

    I have been suffering with actinimycosis- a very rare bacterial infection. For a number of weeks after starting daily it therapy, the thought of sugary foods turned my stomach. The last two days( I’m still on the ice 8weeks later), I’ve been binging on sugary foods I’ve been making for Christmas. I was coughing so bad a night ago and had such a sore throat, I think I’ll stay off the sugar!

  • Daniel Varga

    Fructose does not cause Diabetes, at least the Fructose you find in actual fruits like Bananas, Peaches etc. because they’re not refined. Also, fruits are alkaline and have no bad effect on your pH level so the body must not draw certain minerals or vitamins to protect itself.

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