by Cliff Smith

Nutrition Alert: 5 Reasons to Avoid Sugar, MASSAGE MagazineThis list of the top 5 reasons sugar is not good for the body will provide motivation for avoiding it.
1. Sugar suppresses the immune system.
Research projects at Loma Linda University evaluated the effects of sugar on phagocytes, the white blood cells of the immune system that eat up harmful invaders. One study showed sugar caused the phagocytic index to drop dramatically, creating a negative effect on the number of invaders that could be removed by the immune system.  To put it simply, the more bacteria consumed by the phagocytes, the stronger the immune system, and the less chance for disease. 

2. Sugar disrupts the mineral balance in a healthy body.
Calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron and zinc are crucial minerals the body needs to function properly. A shortage of just one of these minerals means the entire system can be thrown out of balance. Just two teaspoons of sugar can cause micronutrients in the body to change radically, creating a shift in blood chemistry.  Some mineral levels increase, some decrease, and delicate ratios are disturbed. Even a little sugar can negate the effects of consuming extra calcium or other mineral supplements. 

3. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety and concentration difficulties, especially in children.
In a writing for the Journal of Abnormal Psychology in 1986, Jane Goldman noted in “Behavioral Effects of Sucrose on Preschool Children” that a dose of sugar equivalent to that found in a 12-ounce soda did indeed disrupt the performance of children at school. It caused their concentration levels to decrease and their inappropriate behaviors to increase. It is important to note that in 1976 the sugar industry found it was less costly to make sugar from corn than from beets or sugar cane. Since then, high fructose corn syrup has become the sweetener most widely used in processed foods and sodas. Children everywhere are constantly exposed to high fructose corn syrup in many products, even supposedly healthy foods, such as cereal. This excess of concentrated sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup is having a definite impact on behavior in classrooms. Any teacher that has witnessed how sugar affects the behavior of students will testify to this fact.

4. Sugar contributes to arthritis.
Arthritis is a disease that has been linked to old age, but now there are many indications that sugar is playing a role in younger people developing arthritic symptoms. As previously mentioned, a body that is suffering a mineral imbalance may produce inflammation in the bones, joints and cartilage due to the accumulation of toxic minerals.  When one mineral decreases, another may increase. This can lead to a buildup of excess calcium, one of the most important minerals for strong bones and joints. Excess calcium floating around in the body can end up in joints, causing calcified, arthritic spurs and other problems associated with bone diseases. Another reason to avoid arthritis by eliminating sugar is the resulting weight loss. Of course, any reduction in weight will help take stress off achy knees and ankles.

5. Sugar speeds up the aging process.
When sugar is consumed on a regular basis, the pancreas can become over stimulated and secrete too much insulin. Excess insulin can cause a drop in normal blood sugar levels and hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, may develop. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include fatigue, memory failure, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, tremors, headaches and depression. These may sound like diseases of the elderly, but more and more young people are noticing effects like these because they are consuming too much sugar.

It’s hard to avoid sugar in foods today; however, searching the Internet will reveal numerous products that are not loaded with refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Stevia is gaining popularity as a sweetener that may actually be good for people. Among other benefits, stevia can help maintain normal blood sugar levels. 

There are ways to avoid over consumption of sugar, but it takes awareness. Watch out for high fructose corn syrup, dextrose and dextrin to avoid sugar in many of the foods that line store shelves today.

Cliff Smith, MASSAGE MagazineCliff Smith began seriously researching nutrition over eight years ago when he lost 30 pounds in 30 days on a diet of all natural whole foods and highly concentrated health drinks. Read his natural weight loss story and learn more about stevia sweetener at his online health food store.