SUGAR: THE SILENT KILLER
By Annette Marlow
Jan 2007, updated July 2013
'Obesity has become the single biggest threat to public health in Australia'.
Fact: The prevalence of obesity in Australia has more than doubled in the past 20 years.
Fact: If weight gain continues at its current rate, by 2025, close to 80% of all Australian adults and a third of all children will be overweight or obese.
What has changed?
One of the clearest ways to understand why Western nations are in the midst of the worst obesity epidemic to ever hit the planet, is to compare what we eat today to the diets of our ancestors.
Most of the foods that line our supermarket shelves today are made up of highly processed white flour, cheap refined sugar, man made toxic fats like margarine, and a host of added chemicals to make the products taste like food,but are stripped of any nutritional value.
Before the advent of modern processing, our eating consisted of nutritionally rich natural foods such as wild meat and fish, fruit, vegetables, dairy, butter, nuts & seeds.
Research into the diets of traditional and primitive cultures reveal populations displayed robust health, excellent muscle tone, physical fitness and an absence of the contemporary chronic degenerative disease that we are plagued with today such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, tooth decay, arthritis and osteoporosis. Evidence suggests that when populations switched from their traditional diets to the new fangled diets invented by industrialized Western culture, disease followed.
Sugar is hidden everywhere
While we used to eat small amounts of natural sugar found in natural plants and fruit, we now consume enormous amounts of sugars.
Figures, from 2004 from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that the average AUSTRALIAN is consuming 44kg of sugar each year, with high-sugar breakfast cereals and soft drinks fuelling the trend.
FAT does not make you fat, excess sugar does....
The biggest misconception that we have been lead to believe is that eating fat, makes us fat. This is simply not the case, and is one of the greatest causes behind failing to heal obesity and disease. Sugar is the culprit.
When sugar enters the body, insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas) is secreted to help transport the sugar (glucose) into your cells. There is only a limit of sugar that the body can safely store. After that, any excess sugar that arrives into your body is converted from sugar into body fat for storage.
The problem with repeated high sugar/ high carbohydrate intake, is the constant triggering of insulin. Elevated insulin levels mean excess fat storage.... constant elevated insulin, results in insulin resistance (type two diabetes).
Type 2 diabetes is the world’s fastest growing disease, yet the most preventable epidemic. In human and economic terms, type 2 diabetes is Australia’s most costly condition. More than one million Australians have diabetes with the annual cost to the nation exceeding 3 billion dollars ( 12th may 2005).
The number of obese children in Australia has skyrocketed! One in four children in Australia are now overweight or obese.
Source: Peter Wilmoth, Generation XL, The Age, 21/8/05
Unless a drastic lifestyle change is adopted, further complications from obesity and diabetes such as heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure and cholesterol, cancer, gallbladder disease, gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout, breathing problems, snoring, sleep apneas, asthma and depression follow.[iii]
Excess Sugar..... Makes you sick!
Obesity aside, a high sugar diet brings about other problems.
Sugar drains and leaches the body of precious vitamins and minerals through the demand it places on digestion, detoxification and elimination, eventually disturbing your hormone systems and weakening your immune system......
Most people dont even realise the amount of sugat they eat in a day because they dont think they are eating sugar. All carbohydrates (yes white flours, breads, biscuits, cookies, pasta, grains, soft drinks, yoghurts, health bars, dried fruits, wine, beer, sports drinks, fruit, vegetables) convert to sugar once they enter your body.
While we need some sugar (mostly through whole foods and occasional treats), most of us are consuming way too much!
Sugar taken every day produces a continuously over-acid condition (yes reflux and heart burn!!!) and more and more minerals are required from deep in the body in the attempt to rectify the imbalance.
Sugar also leeches calcium from your the bones and teeth causing decay and general weakening to begin.
Sugar reduces the body’s ability to resist infection, because it damages the immune system, leaving the body prey to every possible illness.
By the time a child has eaten their high sugary breakfast cereal, drank their high sugary breakfast juice, eaten their high sugary snacks in their lunch boxes, then consume their after school slurpees, soft drink and chocolate bars, their poor bodies have to then try and get rid of all the sugar leaving them still devoid of nutrition.... No wonder so many kids are constantly getting sick!
Your adrenal glands (sitting on top of your kidneys) are excessively stimulated with sugar and therefore can weaken over time from too much sugar. The are many dangers associates with weakened adrenal glands (known as adrenal fatigue) including, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, ADD, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, arthritis, fatigue, candida, fungal infections, insomnia, mental exhaustion, behavioural problems and a host of degenerative diseases.[iv]
Eating sugar depletes the body of mineral stores which compromise your enzyme production (enzymes break down your food). Without appropriate enzymes, undigested food particles enter the blood stream and your immune system can confuse food particles as foreign invaders, signaling the body to launch an attack whenever you eat that food. This can include allergic reactions such as rashes, joint pain, sleepiness etc.
Excess sugar eventually affects every organ in the body, and sets the stage for disease and chronic illness.[ii]
Open your eyes! Don't be fooled.
Sugar is hidden everywhere....
Modern processing uses sugar as a bulking agent and flavour enhancer in many foods. Even foods that you may think are healthy (because that is how they are marketed) contain high amounts of sugar including breakfast cereals, health bars, spreads, yoghurts, soups, sauces, stock , salad dressings, dry biscuits, frozen dinners, packaged luncheon meats, fruit juices etc.
Many foods marketed as low fat or no fat contain various types of sugars (including dangerous artificial sweeteners).
Fruit juice has about eight full teaspoons of sugar, better known as fructose, per glass. And fructose is every bit as dangerous as regular table sugar since it will also result in a major increase in insulin levels.
Here is jsut an example of how much sugar is contained in some foods.
Snickers Bar = 5.75 teaspoon
Low fat yoghurt 220 g = 7 teaspoons
Coke Can 375ml = 10.25 teaspoons
Glazed Donut = 6 teaspoons
Cup of sweetened cereal = 7 teasp
READ THE LABELS!
Ingredient lists on food products list sugar in descending order by weight. Beware of sugar listed as ingredients that you do not recognize such as Glucose, Dextrose, Sucrose (table sugar), Galactose, Fructose, Beet Sugar, Cane Sugar, Table Sugar, Grape sugar, Raw Sugar, Brown sugar, Refined or Granulated Sugar, Confectioners Sugar, High Fructose Corn syrup (HFCS), Sorbitol, Molasses, Fruit Juice Concentrate.
7 grams of sugar = approx one teaspoon of sugar, so check how many grams you are consuming in a boxed, packaged snack, cereal, yoghurt, soft drinks etc.
Usually where there is sugar, there are also harmful chemical additives and trans fats in the same product.
SUGAR IS AN ADDICTION
Addiction to sugar is very real and is a serious form of an eating disorder.
Sometimes sugar addiction starts merely from a sweet tooth, other times carbohydrate craving can begin from psychological trauma. Or simply, eating an excessive carbohydrate diet, without enough protein or healthy fats.
Prolonged high insulin levels, set off by excessive sugar in the diet sets up a chain reaction of disrupted hormone production and biochemical reactions that lead to body fat increases, chronic conditions and degenerative diseases.
Sugar has become central in our eating habits and lifestyles over the past 20 years and so has chronic disease during the same period of time[vi].
Our bodies were designed to consume a natural diet and will best function when it is provided with foods that are found in nature, rather than processed man made sugar laden synthetic foods.
The key to healthy weight management and preventing aging and degenerative disease is to keep your insulin levels in a low but healthy range, and that can only be achieved by limiting your intake of processed sugars and processed carbohydrates, eating adequate amounts of good fats and protein as well as engaging in sufficient exercise.
 Weston A Price, Nutrtion and Physical Degeneration, 6th ed, 2004
[ii] Dr. William Coda Martin, The Dangers of Refined Sugar, The Sweetest poison of All...: Why Sugar Is Toxic To The Body, 1/8/2003
[iii] Dr Joseph Mercola, & Dr Kendra Pearsall, Sweet Deception, 2006.
[iv] Dr Joseph Mercola, & Dr Kendra Pearsall, Sweet Deception, 2006
[v] Schwartzbein Diana MD & Deville Nancy, The Schwarzbein Principle, The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy and Feeling Younger, 1999.
[vi] Schwartzbein Diana MD & Deville Nancy, The Schwarzbein Principle, The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy and Feeling Younger, 1999.