The Effects of Sugar on Health

“Sugar was once called a ‘white death’. It deserves 100% of this title” – Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride

Natural sugar, which is converted into glucose by the body to be used as energy, occurs in foods such as fruit, vegetables and carbohydrates. However, the body does not need to ingest refined sugar (which is often added to food and drinks) to accomplish this. This type of sugar, which can cause health problems, is extracted from sugar beet, sugar cane and corn and then refined.

The Effects on Physical Health

This refining process loses all the nutrients and concentrates the sugars. Hence food and drinks with added refined sugar (that doesn’t occur naturally) contain empty calories, ie the body will get a high surge of energy but none of the nutrients needed for its digestion and repair. So, if we eat more sugar than our energy levels require and therefore more than our bodies can cope with, it can lead to chronic or serious illnesses such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, liver disease, heart disease, dementia and mood disorders.

“When we consume refined sugars and starches, particularly alone, without fats or protein, they enter the blood stream in a rush, causing a sudden increase in blood sugar. The body’s regulation mechanism kicks into high gear, flooding the bloodstream with insulin and other hormones to bring blood sugar levels down to acceptable levels. Repeated onslaughts of sugar will eventually disrupt this finely tuned process, causing some elements to remain in a constant state of activity and others to become worn out and inadequate to do the job,” says Sally Fallon in her book Nourishing Traditions.

Dr Robin Bersin in her article What You Should Know About Sugar – According to a Doctor, “Excess sugar can stunt the cells in your immune system that attack pathogens, your body’s white blood cells, making you more susceptible to illness and infection.”

She continues, “Too much refined sugar can overfeed the ‘bad’ bacteria in your gut microbiome, the ecosystem in your gastrointestinal tract that helps regulate your immune system and is key to ensuring proper digestion. This overgrowth of bad bacteria can lead to digestive issues, but also inflammation, acne, joint pain, and many other health concerns”.

This is echoed by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride in her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome. She states, “Apart from causing the blood glucose roller coaster and having a detrimental effect on the gut flora, it has been shown to have a direct damaging effect on the immune system, which is already compromised in GAPS patients. Consumption of sugar is a major reason for widespread magnesium deficiency in our modern society, leading to high blood pressure, neurological, immune and many other problems.”

As the consumption of sugar has increased, so have all the “civilized” diseases – Sally Fallon

The Effects on Mental Health

Too much sugar can also effect our mental state. Again Dr Robin Berzin comments, “Your body absorbs simple sugars quickly, which increases your blood sugar and gives you a temporary surge of energy. But this ‘sugar high’ is short-lived and followed by a dramatic crash in energy which often accompanies feelings of irritability, sadness and mental fogginess.” To read the full article go to In line with this, Sally Fallon comments, “Sugar consumption is associated with hyperactivity, behavior problems, lack of concentration and violent tendencies.”

In conclusion, it appears that no on, no matter how good their health, can get away with eating large amounts of sugar. In GAPS patients it probably will be out of their diet for the rest of their lives – I know it is in mine, as I am now extremely sensitive to it. Unfortunately, in the modern, western diet sugar is everywhere, so how do we cut down to healthier levels and is it possible to avoid it completely? Take a look at my article How To Go Sugar-free for some answers and advice.

Photos by Mae Mu and Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.

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