top of page

Does Sugar Make Life Sweeter?

How much sugar do you think you consume a year? How much sugar do you think the average American consumes a year? Statistically speaking, the people of the United States consume the most sugar of all the people in the world. According to a report by the USDA in 2018, the average American consumes 57 pounds of added sugars a year. According to Dr. Mark Hymen, one of the pioneers of functional medicine, it's 152 pounds. Added sugar, in this sense, is cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, sugars that aren't naturally occurring in a food. It has been officially stated by “authorities” for many decades that sugar can lead to obesity and diabetes. However, many of the sugar induced illnesses have been swept under the rug, while others are just being researched and “proven.” Research has been done in universities and labs all over the world, including some of the best known and highest regarded universities in our country. All the research writes about excessive sugar consumption, with varying degrees of which constitutes excessive. According to these scientists, excess sugar adversely affects your health. I prefer to simply state, sugar adversely affects your health. No matter what the established amount is, the scientific findings are similar all over the world. The findings are very interesting. Here are a number of the adverse effects: 1. It impairs the immune system. Consumption of sugar adversely affects the immune system’s ability to create healthy neutrophils. Neutrophils are the cells that kill off bacteria and viruses. Even a little bit of sugar can allow the invasion of a cold or flu virus to infect you for 4-6 hours after eating it. 2. It promotes gut-dysbiosis, which is where the gastrointestinal tract has significant growth of opportunistic pathogenic bacteria. This “bad bacteria” kills off the “healthy bacteria” creating inflammation in the gut. Typical symptoms are bad breath, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, various types of abdominal pain, and difficulty urinating. This also causes the body to not be able to use the nutrients in the foods, leading to other health problems. 3. Sugar creates non-alcoholic fatty liver, which is when fat builds up in the liver, creating inflammation, liver damage, scarring and cirrhosis. 4. It can harm brain function by negatively impacting the function of the hippocampus, the region responsible for memory. It also promotes neuro-inflammation, cognitive decline and dementia. Chronically high sugar intake is shown to cause brain insulin resistance, which is a known risk factor for neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. 5. Sugar can lead to heart disease. This was actually discovered in the 1950’s. However, since the research was funded by the sugar industry, the results were never publicized and scientists were paid off to blame it on fat and cholesterol. With current research and the rediscovery of the old research, sugar has repeatedly been shown to increase cardiovascular disease risk factors such as insulin resistance, leptin resistance (leptin is the hormone that signals the body that it is full), high blood glucose, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure. Current studies are being done on how sugar is affecting platelets, the cells in blood that enable clotting. 6. It’s been known, and hidden, for 50 years that sugar increases tumor growth and metastasis of cancer. At any given time, we have thousands to millions of precancerous cells in our bodies. When we are healthy, our digestive system and immune system are able to kill them off. When our tissues are inflamed and/or our blood glucose is too high, cancer cells rewire their metabolism to take up glucose from the bloodstream for use as fuel. Consuming large amounts of sugar gives the cancerous cells a lot to feed on and the ability to move throughout the body. It’s also been shown that limiting the amount of glucose in circulation may inhibit cancer growth. Sugar is addictive, both emotionally and physically. It activates the dopamine reward part of the brain, releasing the “feel good hormones.” This creates a feedback loop where the individual repeatedly seeks out that stimulant – and since the body and mind want to “feel good” it becomes the norm to become conditioned to desire and seek out sugar. It also stimulates a similar dopamine circuit in the GI tract, again making the person more conditioned to crave sugar. It’s also been shown that sugar stimulates the release of opioids through the endogenous opioid system. Over time the continuous stimulation of this system rewires the brain neuro-circuitry to NEEDING TO HAVE THAT SUBSTANCE. Are you aware that sugar is hidden in almost all packaged foods? It’s obvious in food items like candy, soda, and cakes, but it can also be in places you don’t expect, like pasta sauce, salad dressing, and yogurt under many different names. In the recent past, manufacturers were not required to list if sugar is naturally occurring or added in the nutrition facts section on food labels. This has changed, but there can still be hidden words. Look in the ingredients section for words such as syrup, those that end in “ose,” and terms such as evaporated cane juice. According to WebMD the general amount of ADDED SUGARS in commonly used foods are:

  • Pasta sauce 6-12 g in a ½ cup serving

  • Granola bars 6-12 g

  • Yogurt 7-33 g in 8 oz

  • Salad dressing 5-7g in 2T

  • Breakfast cereals 10-30 g 1cup

  • Energy drinks 25g 8oz

  • Bottled tea 32g bottle

  • Apple juice 24g cup

  • Ketchup 4g T

Study after study is showing that excessive amounts of sugar consumption is adversely affecting our health. The question becomes: what is too much? That varies by individual. In my office I discuss the 80/20, 90/10 and 100% rules. If you know you’re healthy, you feel great physically and emotionally, live by the 80% whole, healthy food; 20% let yourself splurge. If you’re working on healing something physical or you know you eat sugar/drink alcohol, etc. for some kind of emotional support, go by the 90/10 rule. If you have a serious disease, especially one that’s caused by or exacerbated by sugar consumption, do your best to do 100% (without becoming obsessive about it). Ultimately it takes personal responsibility to know what excess means for you or if you’re ready to release it completely. Love yourself, love your body and listen to it. It will always tell you what it truly needs – but if you do have an addiction, be careful! It’s telling you what it WANTS to need. This isn’t a “bad” thing.” This “addiction” can be opening an opportunity for deeper spiritual growth on what the soul truly needs and desires. Does sugar make life sweeter? Given the wisdom of natural medicines combined with the western scientific studies, I say absolutely not. Treat your body, mind and spirit by finding the sweetness in life truly aligned with your spirit. You’ll be happy you did!

From Aug 9, 2021

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page