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Sugar is the Other Little White Powder

Few substances can demand our attention better than sugar does. In this context, I am referring to white table sugar.

My position on this little white substance is clear: Sugar is not a food, but a highly addictive poison.

Like many of us, I tried for several years to stop consuming it. Eventually I did and it was one of the hardest things I have done (even more difficult than running marathons and grading for karate black belts).

Nutritional science is now recognizing inflammation as a major reason we age. Sugar, when ingested, explodes with energy into our bodies--hence, the energy spike. With that explosion, though, comes massive inflammation.

During my sugar years (a long time ago now), I tried an experiment. For one week I consumed three tablespoons of sugar daily. I changed nothing else—I kept the same morning Tai-Chi practice, running schedule, and generally the same food routine.

Within three days my joints started to feel sore.

By day five, they were achy and slightly swollen.

By day seven I was not able to run without pain in my knees, and my wrist, fingers, and lower back bothered me all day while working.

Sticking with the plan, I stopped the sugar on day seven and felt its effects slowly recede over the next three weeks. I spent one week on the stuff and required three weeks to recover.

Think of the body as a castle surrounded by a stone wall. The immune system is this wall, and the guards watching at the drawbridges are immune cells keeping out the barbarians (pathogens) waiting for a chance to invade.

When we eat sugar and that inflammatory event occurs, it is as though the castle is on fire. The guards leave the gates and drawbridges and rush into the castle to deal with the fire. Since no one is guarding the gates, the barbarians take the opportunity to enter.

Now there are two problems:

· The fire (inflammation)

· The barbarians in the castle (pathogens—viruses, parasites, and bacteria rampaging through the castle)

One gram of sugar, enough to sit on the pad of your index finger, will shut your immune system down for three hours. That’s right, for three hours your castle has no guards stopping the barbarians. One of the best ways to protect yourself against COVID is to stop consuming white sugar.

NOTE: Brown sugar is simply white sugar with molasses added.

If you are new to Health.Simply, you may want to first read this post about cravings, where we examine what a craving is and what to do about it. Until we first understand the origins of our cravings, we cannot overcome them.

When we eat a diet heavy in simple carbohydrates—you know the usual suspects like pastries, donuts, muffins, pasta, white rice—we expose our bodies to an addictive pattern of easy-to-use but expensive-to-our-health energy source. These foods covert very quickly into sugar (glucose) and spike blood sugar levels.

We are dealing with this if a few hours after a meal we feel edgy, anxious, foggy, and emotionally down. We are entering into hypoglycemia—simply stated, we are running out of energy. Unfortunately, most reach for another hit of simple carbohydrates, usually processed sugar.

Here is how various sugars are labeled by the food industry:

· Corn syrup

· Crystalline fructose

· Evaporated cane juice

· Fructose (this one is seven times more damaging to the liver than the others when consumed in its refined form, not from whole fruits)

· High-fructose corn syrup (this one is extremely bad)

· Malt

· Maltose

· Turbinado sugar

All of the above are basically sugar disguised as something healthier. Some are less refined than others, but all cause an inflammatory war in your body when consumed. In addition to causing a mood and anxiety roller coaster, all forms of sugar cause changes to our cell membranes, arteries, and hormones. We are not built to handle the metabolic nightmare that sugar creates.

By now do you see why I believe sugar to be a poison inflicted upon us, often as children, and can addictive and damaging?

Please don’t despair, though. There is hope and so many ways to overcome the vicious sugar cycle. If you stick with natural, whole foods, you’re off to a healthy start. I will do a deeper dive in the next post to help you eliminate processed sugar and lead a happier, healthier lifestyle. I started doing that years ago and have never looked back!

In her New York Times Bestselling book A Mind of Your Own, Dr. Kelly Brogen, board certified in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, and integrative holistic medicine writes:

“One of the most effective ways to heal a dysfunctional immune system—and thyroid gland—is by eliminating sugar and getting blood sugar under control. You read that right: the secret to ending your depression could very well be in stopping the highs and lows (the sugar roller coaster) that are taking place in your bloodstream and by implication, your brain.”

Remember, we create our lives moment by moment, so we might as well be conscious of this process and choose what we create, one simple habit at a time.

Cameron Moffatt DOMP

For additional insights, here is an article from the New York Times on sugar.

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