For a very long time now, I thought sugar was my friend. Over the years, in its various forms, sugar has cheered me up when I was feeling down. It has been the highlight of birthday parties, the guest star at most holiday functions and available whenever I needed or wanted it. But sugar has not been my friend, and for the longest time I thought I needed only to exercise to compensate a balance for calorie purposes.
I raise this topic mainly because this month I have focused on issues relating to avoiding sickness at work and other preventative measures to keep healthy during a season of colds, flus and allergies. Generally speaking, I don’t think most of us realize how much sugar contributes to the demise of our immune system.
First of all, sugar is not only evident in the obvious choices of candy bars, cakes and soft drinks. Sugar is processed in many different forms and integrated into everything from breads and cereals to condiments, sauces and frozen meals. This is why many sources say the average American consumes 2-3 pounds of sugar each week (Gasp! Yes it’s true).
Not only can sugar suppress the immune system, it can increase bad cholesterol (LDLs), cause hypoglycemia, weakens defense to bacteria, causes kidney damage, causes acidic stomach, and contributes to diabetes, osteoporosis and cardio vascular disease. This is barely touching the long list of negative effects that sugar can have. If I were to print the entire list of impacts sugar can have on your health, you would surely feel sickened by it.
Sugar tends to feed bacteria and yeast and therefore cause inflammation. So in a time when you might start to feel under the weather, be conscientious of what you are putting in your mouth. Read the labels of the foods you are buying at the grocery store and start paying attention, you will likely be surprised at just how much sugar you are consuming. The holidays are always going to be gushing with treats and desserts, but plan ahead and implement moderation. If you do find that you are excessive in your sugar intake, cutting it back may be one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself right now to stay healthy and prevent illness both now and in the future.