Health Concerns of Refined Sugar
Published May 24, 2015
Sugar consumption has steadily risen in recent years. The USDA has found that the average American consumes around 150 pounds of sugar per year.  Carbonated sodas are a major source of refined sugars in the American diet. Energy drinks are close behind, and even commercial fruit juices are working against us. Some of these fruit drinks are more additives and sugars (as much as 90%+) than actual fruit and stripped of fiber. Keeping the sugar and throwing away all the good stuff doesn’t make for nutritious juice. Refined sugar is a problem yet sugar-laden beverages are purchased without hesitation by millions of people worldwide.
The Health Dangers of Sugar
The World Health Organization recommendation for sugar consumption is no less than 10% of calories,  but arguably, this recommendation should be much less. Those that are overweight, pre-diabetic, or suffering from any kind of health issue should limit and/or avoid sugar. Free sugar, meaning sugar that isn’t bound to fiber in fruit, can lead to inflammation, blood sugar instability, and, over a period of time, type 2 diabetes. If there’s no exercise in the equation, then the likelihood for developing these problems goes through the roof.
A daily dosing of sugar causes altered internal pH levels resulting in a more acidic body. It is believed that an acidic environment is a breeding ground for disease, whereas an alkaline body promotes good health.  To correct any type of imbalance, the body draws on mineral stores. For example, to protect the blood, calcium is drawn from the bones and teeth — enough to weaken bones. This precipitates osteoarthritis.
Refined sugar may even be damaging to the digestive system, particularly for those who have difficulty digesting carbohydrates.
Sugar is Everywhere
Around ¼ of the American diet is comprised of refined sugars, and when you take a look at the foods available at most supermarkets, this fact is hardly surprising.  Grocery store shelves are littered with junk foods–some of which are disguised as being healthy–that contain massive amounts of sugar. In fact, some prepackaged sports foods, like energy bars, contain more sugar than a candy bar! What’s more, many foods contain hidden sugar, or sugar that is masked by other names such as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and sucanat. While sucanat is probably better for the body than HFCS, the effects of sugar on blood sugar and internal organs are similar.
Do you avoid sugar? What have been your results? Please share with us your take in the comments!
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
- United States Department of Agriculture. Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption, 1970-2005. USDA.
- World Health Organization. Healthy diet. World Health Organization.
- Gerry K. Schwalfenberg. The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health? J Environ Publc Health. 2012, 2012: 727830.
- Barbara V. Howard, PhD; Judith Wylie-Rosett, RD, EdD. Sugar and Cardiovascular Disease. Circulation. 2002; 106:523-527. doi: 10.1161/01.CIR.0000019552.77778.04.
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