Is Sugar Toxic?

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

sugar-cubes

There’s been a lot of talk about the dangers of refined sugars like high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and others. After decades of research, it appears the adverse effects of refined sugars on human health are finally gaining much deserved mainstream attention. According to the CDC, more than 30% of adult Americans are obese. [1] These numbers exploded after health officials began pushing the high-carb, low-fat diet twenty years ago.

The Truth About Sugar

Extensive research on obesity, type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and hormone dysfunction reveal sugar isn’t just dangerous, it’s absolutely toxic. [2] [3] While it’s true that your cells rely on glucose for energy, your body doesn’t need refined sugar for anything. Quite the opposite. Despite this, food manufacturers continue to look for new ways to sneak sugar into every last food sold on market shelves. Here’s just a few reasons why you should reduce–if not eliminate–sugar from your diet:

Natural Sugars, Not Refined Sugars

When it comes to sugar, if it’s not a natural component of the food (like a banana, apple, or honey), chances are it’s not a natural dietary sugar. Any sugar extracted from its plant source, processed, and added to food for sweetening purposes is considered refined. This includes the spoonful of raw, organic table sugar many people put in their coffee each morning. Natural sugars occur as starches and complex sugars and are bound to vitamins and minerals. The digestive process uses these nutrients to break this natural sugar down into monosaccharides, a usable nutrient.

For most people, fruits and vegetables don’t have the same effect on blood sugar as a candy bar because fiber in produce tends to slow down the rate at which the sugars are digested and absorbed. Table sugar is created by separating sugar molecules, glucose, sucrose, fructose, etc., from their plant nutrients. This converts them into pure, refined, and empty carbohydrates.

The Other Harmful Effects of Sugar

We know sugar eats through the enamel of teeth and causes cavities, but its damage doesn’t stop there. Sugar leaves a path of destruction as it passes through the body, causing inflammation and degradation to blood vessels. It also disrupts the digestive process. When sugar mixes with starches in the stomach, fermentation takes place, creating carbon dioxide, acetic acid, alcohol, and water. Carbon dioxide, acetic acid, and alcohol are all toxic substances.

Sugar causes digesting protein to petrify and creates ptomaines and leucomaines, toxic protein substances. Sugars also kill the friendly bacteria that create vitamin B12, an essential nutrient for energy creation at the cellular level. Symptoms of B12 deficiency include depression, psychosis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.

Refined sugars have no nutritional value and lack the nutrients needed to encourage digestion. So, the body must steal these nutrients from other processes to digest sugar. This creates nutrient imbalances and deficiencies. From there, the sugar enters the blood stream.

Sugar Rots from the Inside Out

We know high blood sugar causes diabetes, but long before a pre-diabetic condition develops, widespread damage has already occurred. It all starts with one singular component–insulin. The pancreas releases insulin to trigger cells throughout the body to absorb glucose–a monosaccharide sugar–from the blood. The more constant this release of insulin, the more the cells stop listening to it. The liver then takes the excess glucose, converts it to glycogen, and stores it.

As sugar consumption continues, the liver swells and becomes damaged. This condition is known as fatty liver disease, and it’s on the rise wherever a carb-based diet is practiced. When the liver can no longer take the glucose, it gets sent to fat cells for storage. Weight gain and diseases follow.

Recent research done by Louisiana State University report those who consume sugar-sweetened beverages have a much higher risk of weight gain, type II diabetes, cardiovascular, and metabolic disease. The reason for this has been identified as the sugar load.

But this shouldn’t surprise us. Dr. Weston Price reported decades ago how primitive societies had good teeth and superior health to those in civilized societies on modern diets. Once a group of indigenous peoples were assimilated into modern society, individuals experienced physical degeneration and the onset of chronic disease all within one generation.

How to Avoid Sugar

Those who have given up sugar generally experience greater energy, a more positive mood, and successful weight loss. Plus, abstaining from sugar also reduces the risk of many diseases linked to sugar consumption, like diabetes, obesity, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, cardiovascular disease, depression, skin disorders, allergies, eye problems, kidney failure, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, hormone imbalance, accelerated aging, and cancer. To go sugar free, avoid it for two weeks. If you’re really ambitious, go for a month. Eat only natural, organic foods, and only use stevia or, better yet, raw organic honey whenever you need a sweetener.

Here’s a list of refined sugars to avoid:

  • Maltodextrin
  • Beet Sugar
  • Cane Juice
  • Rice Syrup
  • Maple Syrup
  • Cane Syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Corn Syrup
  • Sucrose
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup

Have you given up sugar? How has it made you feel? And did you find it easy or difficult? Leave a comment and tell us about your experience.

References (3)
  1. Davy BM1, Zoellner JM2, Waters CN3, Bailey AN2, Hill JL2.. Associations Among Chronic Disease Status, Participation in Federal Nutrition Programs, Food Insecurity, and Sugar-Sweetened Beverage and Water Intake Among Residents of a Health-Disparate Region. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2015 Feb 9. pii: S1499-4046(15)00004-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2015.01.001.
  2. Kostecka M1. Eating habits of preschool children and the risk of obesity, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in adults. Pak J Med Sci. 2014 Nov-Dec;30(6):1299-303. doi: 10.12669/pjms.306.5792.
  3. Bray GA1. Soft drink consumption and obesity: it is all about fructose. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2010 Feb;21(1):51-7. doi: 10.1097/MOL.0b013e3283346ca2.

†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.

  • warden621

    what abut Xylitol?

  • Not bad but I prefer Stevia instead:

    http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/stevia/

    If you can spare the calories, raw honey is the best sweetener.

  • PzBz

    Is it not true that cancer cells also thrive upon sugar?
    I have largely given up sugar and have never felt better. I look better at 47 than I did at 22. Rarely have hunger pains, which allows me to eat healthier and feel satisfied with less food. Article is spot on: sugar is poison!

  • Elizabeth Conley

    I gave up sugar gradually, about a year ago. I had already given up aspartame. Doing so gave me many immediate and long term benefits. Soon after I gave up aspartame I noticed that practically everything tasted sweeter to me, so I started using less sugar. I felt even better, so eventually I completely eliminated refined sugar and honey from my diet. I almost never take dessert now.
    I also gave up wheat, which is considerably more difficult to avoid.
    I now have normal sleep patterns, a cheerful attitude and boundless energy. I feel better at 52 than I did at 22. I am very, very rarely ill, and then only briefly. My teeth, gums, hair, nails, skin, eyes – everything is visibly healthier.
    I used to try to be healthy – following FDA guidelines of course. By the time I reached 50 it was pretty obvious that all my efforts had failed. Now I’m happy to say that I’ve figured out how I can be healthy. No wheat and refined sugar for me – ever. For me, at least, those two things are slow poisons. Your experience may differ, but if you feel like you just can’t get healthy no matter how obedient you are to your doctor and the FDA’s guidelines, you might want to try eliminating sugar. It’s not the only possible source of health problems, but it is a significant one.

  • Elizabeth Conley

    Stevia gives me headaches. Once I gave up sugar I felt so much better than I found it easy to give up sweet foods.
    Feeling good gives me a lot more pleasure than eating sweet foods ever did.

  • d sutton

    A typical person in today’s American culture will consume as much sugar in one day as a person 150 years ago would consume in one year. Sugar is not good for you.

  • The change over time isn’t anywhere near as bad as you think – although it’s still really, really bad.

    In the early 1800s (that’ almost 200 years ago, for those playing at home) sugar consumption in the US averaged 9lb per person per year.

    In 1700, the average Englishman consumed 4lb (and the average American, about 2lb) – so by the early 1800s consumption in the US had already more-than-quadrupled in 100 years.

    By the Civil War it was almost 40lb/person/yr in the US.

    These days, it’s not sensible to just count sugar; if you add up all high-glycemic sweeteners, you get just short of 180lb/person/yr.

    So if you had said that the average person has more added sugar in their diet in a WEEK than someone had in a year in 1700, you would have been on the money. But not an 1860’s year’s worth of sugar in a day… not even for Biggest Loser contestants.

  • The big difference between The Lovely and I, is that I have a sweet tooth and she doesn’t.

    She doesn’t have sugar in coffee: I have 1-1.5 teaspoons (on Saturdays: the rest of the week I have 1 artificial sweetener).

    She will eat 1 square of Lindt 70%; I’ll eat 3 squares.

    Having turned 50 a little over 3 weeks ago, an odd thing happened the day after my 50th: I read somewhere that just as smoking was now associated in the middle-class mind – and in the data – with low levels of education and intelligence, and economic under-performance, so too would obesity come to be associated with those same things. It’s a disease of poverty and ignorance.

    I’ve always considered obesity to be a failure of applied intelligence: either because the individual fails to apply rational (forward-looking) analysis to their behaviour, or because there is a meta-cognitive impediment to their doing so (i.e., they don’t have the cognitive capability to properly evaluate their food and lifestyle decisions). Obviously poor economic outcomes depend on a variety of co-factors, but a lack of intelligence and/or education is often a contributory factor.

    I did not have the second excuse (lack of cognitive capability)… any failure of applied intelligence in my life decisions, was therefore on me.

    3 weeks later I’m back to exercising hard (1400-1500 calories a session) and dropping ‘wobbly weight’ hand over fist.

    And my sweet tooth is gone: when I consider the ‘allure’ of sweet things, I remind myself that I am not dumb enough to just give in to every carnal urge that emerges from my amygdala… that I am not my ‘reptile’ brain.

  • Clearly, sugar should be consumed in moderation, as is the case with calories deriving from all foods and beverages. That said, demonizing sugar as a standalone cause of complex health conditions is overly simplistic and not at all based in science. For instance, consider the fact that as obesity rates have climbed over the past four decades, the lions’ share (84%) of additional calories in the average American’s diet comes from fats, oils and starches. The same USDA data shows that sugar, from all sources, plays a relatively minor role contributing just 9%. Calories from soft drinks played an even smaller role in this increase. And, as CDC data indicates, foods – not beverages – are the number one source of sugars in the American diet.

    Also, contrary to the assertions in this article, there is simply no scientific evidence to support the idea that a single ingredient uniquely causes an increased risk of vascular events or diabetes – which are complex health conditions related to myriad factors, including family history, overall diet, inactivity and more.

    How do we encourage healthier lifestyles? By supporting education-based efforts that teach people how to balance all calories with physical activity. This balance can certainly include sugars, and sugar-sweetened beverages for that matter, which as this New York Times article explains, are not pariah some would claim: http://nyti.ms/10ntOrz.
    -American Beverage Association

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