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Sugar: Toxic Invader Number One
by Anne Louise Gittleman

Nothing in the diet promotes disease and aging more than excess sugar!

Despite what the mainstream media would like us to believe, sugar is not an innocent substance that gives us pleasure and causes no harm. Quite the contrary, I can think of nothing in the diet that promotes disease and aging more over the long term than excess sugar. The scientific evidence I have seen for the past 20 years has lead me to the inescapable conclusion that sugar is truly a dietary demon. The “sugar is bad for our health” message was lost during the media demonization of fats during the 1980s and early 1990s. But now it’s high time to resurrect this important message and understand why eliminating sugar will help keep us young and vital.

Believe it or not, there are over 60 ailments that have been associated with sugar consumption in the medical literature. They include cancer, asthma, allergies, diabetes, heart disease, and many more.

Have you ever considered the fact that almost all of the degenerative diseases that plague us today were practically nonexistent just 200 years ago? According to a 1912 Journal of the American Medical Association article, cardiovascular disease, for example, was so rare that research wasn’t even conducted on it until 1912--and that first study examined only four cases! So what has changed so dramatically between then and now to bring on devastating conditions like cardiovascular disease?

Without a doubt, the biggest change in our diets has been our sugar consumption. Yes, sugar--in the form of the refined white sugar known as sucrose, brown sugar, corn sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, lactose and maltose. Unfortunately, our bodies didn’t have a chance to gradually adapt to this relatively new substance in our diets. Over the past two centuries, we have literally shocked our bodily systems with outrageous and ever-growing amounts of nutrient-robbing sugar.

The statistics speak for themselves. According to Dr. James Scala, at the end of the 1700s sugar consumption was less than 20 pounds per person per year. By the end of the 1800s, sugar consumption had risen to 63 pounds annually. Now, 100 years later, the average American eats 152 pounds of sugar each year!

As sugar consumption has risen, so too has the incidence of degenerative health problems. This pattern has been observed not only in the United States but in every society studied. Half a century ago, researcher Weston A. Price observed countless cultures from the Arctic to the tropics and noted that physical degeneration and diseases developed in those societies over a period of a single generation once refined sugary carbohydrates were added to the diets. Below are some suggestions on what you can do to combat this serious dietary challenge.

What you can do to get the sugar out:
Become a Food Sleuth
Start to examine food labels as if your life depended on it. Keep your total daily intake of sugars under 40 grams. If you have heart disease, cancer, obesity, blood sugar problems, or any type of immune dysfunction, keep your daily intake below 20 grams.
Avoid Processed Foods
Especially those products that contain sugar or any word ending in “ose” in the list of ingredients.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Naturally
Satisfy your sweet tooth as much as possible the way nature intended--with natural, sugar-rich fruit and sweet vegetables such as squash and sweet potatoes. These sweet treats are loaded with fiber and nutrients, but you still should allow yourself no more than two to three servings of them per day. If you must have sweets, choose ones that have less than five grams of sugar per serving--preferably ones that contain blood-sugar balancing fiber, protein, and fat to slow down the release of sugar (and the secretion of insulin) into your system.

Ban White Sugar
Eliminate refined white sugar from your diet. Use small amounts of natural sweeteners such as stevia, date sugar, maple syrup, rice syrup, and fruit juices as transitions away from white sugar and toward a diet with very little concentrated sugar of any kind. In other words, gradually work at reducing the amount of sweeteners you use.
Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are associated with unpleasant side effects and health risks. They may also increase the body’s cravings for sweets, making it harder to kick the sugar habit.

Treat Yourself in Other Ways
Treat yourself to sweet experiences in place of sweet food. Sugar treats no longer seem so necessary when you allow yourself time for healthy indulgences.

Learn to Use the Glycemic Index
This is a classification of carbohydrates organized by their sugar/blood sugar/insulin interactions. The position of food on the glycemic index tells you whether it is recommended to eat plentifully, moderately, or as little as possible.

Consider Nutritional Supplements
If you have blood sugar problems or sugar cravings, try using blood-sugar supporting nutrients. The seven most powerful sugar-fighting nutrients are Chromium, B-complex Vitamins, L-Glutamine, Manganese, Panthothenic Acid, Vitamin C, and Zinc.

Excerpted with permission from How to Stay Young and Healthy in a Toxic World 1999 by Ann Louise Gittleman, M.S., C.N.S., published by Keats Publishing, Los Angeles, California. To learn more from Ann Louise visit www.annlouise.com

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