Before anyone gets upset, I’m not asking you to give up sugar. That is a personal choice. However, I do want to make you aware of what science is finding. Hell, what regular people are finding.
I know I’ve shared my personal health story before, but I want to focus on the parts particularly affected by sugar.
I’ve eaten sugar all my life. My mom has always been really sick so I didn’t always have a lot of supervision over what I ate as a child. If there was something sweet in the house it was often gone within a few days. If not by my hand then by another. None of us had a good relationship with food. Neither from a psychological or a neurochemical perspective.
We were using it to cope. Sugar was a part of our bonding experience. However, sugar was hurting each of us and we didn’t even know it till much later.
Alzheimer’s and Sugar
I’ll start with my dad. We didn’t learn that sugar was hurting him until a few years ago when he had the stroke. The more research we did we learned that there is currently a debate over what may be coming first in Alzheimer’s and it’s sibling disease, dementia.
Some scientist a say that insulin resistance in the brain leads to Alzheimers claim that insulin resistance tends to affects the areas of the brain that are most susceptible leading to less energy for the brain to carry out functions in those areas. When you have less fuel your brain can’t function as efficently. This includes memory. This is important with Alzheimer’s disease because over the course of the disease there is a progressive decrease in the amount of blood sugar used in certain brain regions. Those regions end up using less and less.
Others argue that the Alzheimers leads to insulin resistance in the brain. I’m personally more inclined to believe the first option, but the link provided does share the research on that as well.
Now, what does that mean?
Insulin acts as a key to let sugar into your cells. When your body doesn’t respond to insulin correctly it can let too little in. If you are eating a diet high in carbs and sugars, that means that your cells aren’t getting the fuel that you are sending to them. When that fuel isn’t absorbed in the cells, it gets turned into fat.
Even worse, if the cells are not obtaining the sugar as a fuel, it could mean that the cells in his brain are cannibalizing the fatty materials in his brain….which is one theory on how plaque may be developing in this disease.
Heart Health and Sugar
New studies are showing that sugar should be considered more dangerous to your heart than fat. We are now learning that sugar lowers good cholesterol and damages arteries. Even WebMD is recognizing this new information. This leads to your body producing more cholesterol to try to heal the lesions. Too much of that and you end up with blockages.
This video from Dr. Berg on youtube explains its all. His videos are great if you are looking for holistic information on healing yourself and your family.
Sugar and Neuropathy
The most common cause of neuropathy is sugar. People with diabetes or some sort of sugar regulatory problem are at a much greater risk for neuropathy than anyone else. Studies have shown that as your sugar levels rise your neuropathy can increase.
When you intake too many carbs, it creates too much sugar in the system. This rushes into the bloodstream and then to your nerves. Sugar causes your nerves to swell and as they swell, it eventually cuts off the blood supply to the nerve causing damage. This damage manifests as feelings of burning, tingling, or numbness in the hands and feet. In addition to this damage, nerve damage can lead to migraine headaches, restless leg syndrome, carpal tunnel and Alzheimer’s disease.
Every day I hear people say, well I don’t eat that much sugar. Well, let’s take a look at one breakfast: Raisin Bran cereal, skim milk, apple. Simple. To the average American, it sounds healthy right? All I see is sugar. I got this breakfast from an article about neuropathy and sugar. According to their calculations, this breakfast breaks down to roughly 32 teaspoons of sugar or nearly 3/4 a cup. And the average American is estimated to consume around 53 teaspoons of sugar per day.
Just compare that to the early 1900’s when American’s only consumed 2 teaspoons on average.
We are doing a lot of damage to our body.
And Everything Else?
Keep in mind, I haven’t even mentioned the obvious problems of diabetes and obesity themselves. We all know about those risks. What we don’t realize is that it is in everything you buy at the store. It is naturally occurring even in fresh fruits and some veggies. Processed and frozen foods all contain added sugars or toxins that break down into sugar. Manufacturers hide sugars in everything. And they are doing damage to our body.
Nor does it begin to touch upon all the other problems Dr. Berg and others have linked to this sweet substance.
What can I do?
The simple answer is to find out your carb tolerance. Which means you may have to make the decision to go off sugar and carbs long enough to get them out of your system. Then you can start reintroducing them so many grams at a time. I hated counting, but since doing an elimination diet, I have learned that my carb limit is somewhere around 40-60 carbs per day. My boyfriend can’t handle more than 20. We’re still learning what my parent’s carb intake is.
If you want to get really serious you can go Paleo or Keto. Keto is a bit more extreme, but that is the route I have gone. And there are plenty of places that offer advice, recipes and starter tips. The ones I can think of off the top of my head are Cooking Keto with Kristie and Keto Connect.
We use keto strips to monitor if we are in ketosis and blood sugar testers on occasion to make sure we don’t get too out of wack. I will admit, I break diet on occasion, which does cause me problem, but about 90% of the time I’m on a keto diet. I’ve lost nearly 40lbs and still losing. I feel great, and the number of health problems I’ve experienced has gone down. The best part is that the problems I have experienced both mental and physical both decrease when I consume less sugar.by