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Wait. Sugar isn’t a health food Tamy? Duh.

By now, if you haven’t heard that sugar is not exactly a health food, then you’ve probably been living under a block of ice in Antarctica. And, if this IS totally new news to you, then I humbly apologize for the insult and I hope you’re fully thawed out.

Kidding aside, while most people are aware that sugar isn’t exactly healthy, I find that the majority of folks I know don’t take action to go out of their way to avoid it because they’re not fully educated on how harmful the stuff actually is to their health. And…to the health of their adorable little offspring, I might add. Plus, the stuff is addictive as all get-up, and one really needs to have their eye on the health prize in order to be willing to take the steps necessary to reduce their consumption.

Because the majority of the clients I work with already have an autoimmune diagnosis or are on the autoimmune spectrum, presenting with lots of chronic symptoms such as:

  • allergies
  • anger/irritability
  • anxiety/fear/nervousness
  • asthma/recurring respiratory infections
  • brain fog
  • chronic fatigue
  • depression
  • digestive issues (belching/bloating/gas/indigestion/malabsorption/diarrhea/constipation)
  • excess weight gain
  • food sensitivities
  • frequent urination/frequent UTIs
  • headaches/migraines
  • joint/muscle pain
  • memory/concentration issues/ “ADHD”
  • mood swings
  • skin conditions (acne/eczema/rashes/hives/dry/oily)
  • sleep dysfunction
  • sinus issues

removing excess sources of sugar from their diets is a CRITICAL factor in their body’s ability to heal and return to natural balance. 

Excess sugar consumption comes with lots of problems, and the problem is that in the typical modern diet, it is pervasive in nearly every meal we eat, unless we are eating a diet comprised of only whole, unprocessed foods.

Quoting Dr. Tom O’Bryan, “Sugar is one of the 10 most inflammatory foods in any quantity, and eating excess amounts of sugar is like throwing gasoline on a fire; it turns a manageable campfire into a roaring blaze.”

If you’re looking for some inspiration to FINALLY kick that sugar habit, read on!

14 Ways Excess Sugar May be Harming Your Health

  1. It leads to high levels of inflammation in the body. And, my friend, inflammation is a trigger for virtually every disease process!
  2. It causes mineral deficiencies by interference with absorption of these minerals…copper, chromium, calcium & magnesium. Minerals are essential to MANY functions in the body and are important for bone and tooth health, immune function, energy production, muscle & nerve function.
  3. It depletes antibody production leading to decreased immune function. This means you won’t heal as quickly when you are sick and makes you more likely to get sick in the first place.
  4. It feeds cancer cells.
  5. It is connected with the development of many different forms of cancer, including: breast, ovary, prostate, rectum, pancreas, biliary tract, lung, gallbladder, and stomach.
  6. It causes issues in the gastrointestinal tract: indigestion, malabsorption; increased risk of Crohn’s disease & ulcerative colitis. Oh, and I’ll add that it fuels the fire of these disease processes once they’re already cooking as well.
  7. It is a causative factor in many autoimmune diseases including arthritis, asthma, & Multiple Sclerosis.
  8. It causes a decrease in insulin sensitivity leading to insulin resistance. Hello diabetes!
  9. It causes skin issues such as acne & eczema.
  10.  It can cause headaches & migraines. Here’s an idea, instead of treating your chronic headaches with medications which are harmful to your gut microbiome and long-term health, how about removing sugar from your diet instead?
  11.  Increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, memory issues and cognitive decline. Want to be able to hold intelligent conversations with your grandkids and enjoy life into your golden years? Limit your sugar intake NOW!
  12.  It causes an increase in free radicals & oxidative stress leading to premature aging and an increased risk of disease.
  13.  It causes Impaired adrenal gland function, leading to a decreased ability to handle stress.
  14.  It is a cause of high blood pressure in obese people.

Nurture with Sugar When Sick? Awwww…HELL NO!

There is a quote I love that I had made into a sign for my kitchen, it says “Food is meant to nourish, not to nurture.” This is so true, and it’s a tough thing to admit that many of us do this to ourselves and to our kids. We find ALL the ways to justify this behavior. 

However, because excess sugar is so inflammatory and suppresses your immune system, one of the worst things you can do for yourself or your kids is to nurture with sugar-containing junk food during illness (or times of stress). I see it all the time on social media, a parent reporting about how sick their poor, poor child is, with accompanying photos of the whoopie pies, donuts, saltine crackers, chocolate milk, soda and juice they are “making them feel better with”. 

Sugar suppresses the white blood cells of your immune system, so if you eat lots of it during illness, your recovery will take days longer. Adding fuel to the fire is taking fever-reducing medications such as Tylenol rather than letting a fever run its course and do its job. A fever is the body’s natural defense against an invading organism, and rarely are they dangerous as we’ve been scared into believing. 

By forcing down a fever with medications, not only are you harming the beneficial microbes in your gut and causing inflammation to your gut lining, but you are preventing your immune system (or your child’s) from fighting the infection naturally. This suppresses the immune system causing a lengthier illness and greater susceptibility to illness down the road. No bueno! 

Can I suggest that when either you or a loved one is sick, nourish with whole foods such as wild caught meats, soups made from bone broth, organic vegetables, herbal teas, and water in lieu of sugar-laden junk foods? Your immune system will thank you for it and you’ll recover much faster.

Junk Foods In Disguise

There are many foods that most Americans are eating on a regular basis which have been marketed as “healthy” but which are anything but. They cause surges in blood sugar levels in your bloodstream, followed shortly by a quick nosedive. This nosedive can cause mood swings, brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, excessive hunger, etc. 

The glycemic index of a food gives you an idea of how quickly a particular food will raise your blood sugar leading to the nosedive described above The glycemic index of foods is compared to pure glucose, which is given a value of 100. Foods with a glycemic index above 60 are considered “high”, foods below 45 are considered “low”, and foods in-between these numbers are considered “medium”. 

It is important to note that because we are all genetically unique, with different histories and lifestyle habits, each of us may metabolize these foods differently. For example, for some of us a banana might cause a major spike and blood sugar crash, while for others the banana may cause no surge at all.

Health Foods or Drivers of Disease?

The following list of high glycemic foods are foods that have been marketed to the public as “healthy,” but which actually wreak havoc on your blood sugar and contribute to blazing inflammation throughout your body and in your gut. I know that before I became informed, I was fooled, and gave these foods to my kids all the time. 

An important concept to keep in mind is that these foods have a cumulative effect. So if you start your day by eating a bowl of Cheerios and a banana, then two hours later eat some pretzels or graham crackers, along with a piece of fruit followed by a sandwich for lunch, you are putting your body through a constant roller coaster of blood sugar spikes and crashes that are keeping the inflammation fire blazing.

For a complete guide to foods that will help keep your blood sugar balanced and begin to put out the blazing fire of inflammation, sign up on my website for my email newsletter, and the pdf guide will be delivered to you!

Now, go eat a grass fed burger and a pile of broccoli.