I was recently listening to a sermon at my church, and our pastor was talking about how much his kids love fruit loops. I turned to my husband and jokingly (kind of…) said, “Do you think I should go tell him how much sugar is in fruit loops?”
It’s easy to assume that the majority of the population knows and understands that sugar is MORE disease-causing than fat, and that it is the ingredient that is best in very small, infrequent amounts. However, that is not the case. So I feel compelled to write about this because it is SO important — not only in dental health and preventing cavities, but also in gut health. Removing sugar also means removing the food source for fungus or bad bacteria which preferentially feed off of sugar. It also means removing something that is proven to be more addicting than cocaine (source).
Don’t we want to all want to be functioning at our optimal health!? Of course we do!
So read on, because it IS possible to break the addiction and be the healthiest version of you.
I want to provide education around sugar and the reasons why it should be reduced. Namely, it depletes minerals in the body, alters normal physiological response, and causes chronic disease. Yuck.
Education is critical in helping people make the best decisions for themselves, so I’m here to do just that. But before we go too far: this isn’t sugar shaming — heck I just ate a brownie (gluten, dairy, soy free) last night! But it’s those occurrences you want to keep to a minimum (maybe once a month or for special occasions.)
Let’s (briefly) look at some very interesting history that took place in the 1960’s. Fat, for most of us, has been portrayed in the media as the “bad” or the culprit of disease. So many food items are now labeled as “low fat” and “fat free”. Yet our country is now the most unhealthy it has ever been.
A few years ago, a journal published in JAMA came out explaining that the sugar industry paid scientists to blame fat as the culprit of disease, even though the evidence clearly showed that sugar was the culprit. Basically, the Sugar Research Foundation sponsored a study on coronary heart disease (CHD) and assembled findings chronologically into a narrative case study. They downplayed sugar’s role in the disease and upplayed fats role. The research from that 1960s – 1970s program successfully cast doubt on the hazards of sugar while throwing fat under the bus as the dietary culprit for CHD. (source)
It’s also been proven that diets high in sugar can produce other serious health problems like elevated levels of glucose and insulin, impaired glucose tolerance, insulin and leptin resistance, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. A diet high in added sugars has been found to increase the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease by three times. (source)
That means we’ve been influenced and lied to by people who profit from us eating a lot of sugar. It also explains why fat has been cut out and we’re still so unhealthy as a country.
In addition to sugar being a strong perpetrator of CHD, it also brings havoc to oral health. In fact, a 2015 study showed that without sugar, dental procedures including hygiene and fluoride would be nearly unnecessary. In fact, it’s been proven that repetitive use of sugar ensures a continued, lifelong development of cavities. (source)
Even with “preventative” measures like fluoride, we’re still seeing a rise in cavities due to sugar intake. Adults (65+) living in an area with fluoride in there and using fluoridated toothpaste still had nearly half of all tooth surfaces affected by cavities. (source)
Wow! So I’m curious, was this information surprising to you? Have you tried to minimize your sugar?
If you have no idea how much sugar you eat on a daily basis, the first place to start is reading the labels of processed food. The American Heart Association recommends less than 6 teaspoons per day for women and less than 9 teaspoons per day for men. I would say that is still too high, and we should shoot for half that or less, and not on a daily basis.
Then, try to switch your food choices to those that come from the earth (veggies, fruits, etc!). And don’t forget to lick the dirt off in the process (yes, I’m serious, feed that microbiome!) There are hundreds of different combinations of veggies, sustainably sourced protein, and fruits to choose from instead of processed snacks. Fruit should also be eaten in moderation, but mother nature created all things in perfect balance. Fruit has fiber, and vitamin C to offset the glucose and fructose it contains and helps slow absorption of sugar.
Removing sugar from the diet can be a process that may require baby steps. The pathogenic bacteria that feed off of sugar have literally hacked your brain and your body, and tricked you into consistent sugar cravings. As soon as you lower the source of food for the bad bugs, they will throw a temper tantrum (disclosure, you may not feel your best!) Remember that these few weeks are only temporary and you are a powerful fierce being who is capable of anything!!
Who is off sugar?! How has it changed your health? Let me know!