Everyone remembers the video of the toddler smoking cigarettes. “How could parents do that to their child?” everyone thought. Feeding our children half a pound of sugar a day is no different; it is proven in numerous studies to cause obesity, diabetes, and cancer, all of which have rates that are climbing substantially each year in America. Just look at how our sugar consumption has changed in the last few hundred years:
In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
In 2009, more than 50 percent of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar PER DAY—translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year!
Is it any surprise that our rates of those three epidemics have climbed as well?! Sugar is a Class A drug that is FOUR TIMES MORE ADDICTIVE THAN COCAINE. Doubt its addictiveness? Just look at the way people react when they’re told this simple fact--the agitated defensiveness is also seen in people who are confronted with drug addictions. And now that refined sugar is available in mass quantities at incredibly low prices, consumers are unable to limit themselves.
Sugar’s Effects on Our Body
Nancy Appleton, PhD, author of the book Lick the Sugar Habit, contributed an extensive list of the many ways sugar can ruin your health from a vast number of medical journals and other scientific publications. Some of them include:
- Sugar suppresses your immune system for up to 6 hours after consumption and impairs your defenses against infectious disease.
- Sugar ingested that isn’t used up as energy is stored in the body as fat.
- Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body: causes chromium and copper deficiencies and interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.
- Sugar can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, crankiness, and depression in both children and adults.
- Sugar can produce a significant rise in total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad cholesterol and a decrease in good cholesterol.
- Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, biliary tract, lung, gallbladder and stomach.
The Liquid Corn Sugar
Plain old refined beet and cane sugars aren’t the only problem; high-fructose corn syrup is sugar’s ally in the growing epidemic of cancers, diabetes, and obesity.
U.S. consumption of high fructose corn syrup went up 1,000 percent between 1970 and 1990, researchers reported in 2004 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Tumor cells thrive on sugar but they also use fructose to proliferate. Studies have linked fructose consumption with pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest forms of cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research, in its 2009 policy report, found that 28% of pancreatic cancers could be prevented if Americans maintained a healthy weight.
What Should We Do?
So is the key “moderation?” How do we determine what moderation of a Class A drug is? I used to think that a healthy diet meant switching to whole grains and eating more fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and less fats. But my kids were still getting sick and we were still dealing with a case of depression. The first step towards a healthy lifestyle is cutting out refined sugar.
“That’s impossible!” you might think. But is it?
How about trying it with me by your side for one month? For the month of April (and now in September), Healthy Families for God will be featuring A Month Without Sugar Campaign. During the entire month, I’ll post tips and information on how to make this possible. I’ll share recipes on this blog so that you can experience delicious cakes, cookies, and other foods just like you normally would but without refined sugars. Daily tips will include ways to get a quick breakfast without refined sugar, and how to make your everyday foods delicious with natural sweeteners.
You’ll agree to work towards cutting out all ingredients with any form of refined sugar in the ingredients list. You don’t need to throw away everything in your pantry that has refined sugar in it. Simply watch what you buy from the beginning of the month to the end of the month. If it has refined sugar in it, put it back! This includes items you purchase from restaurants, coffee shops, vending machines, etc.
The list of sugars to avoid are:
- evaporated cane juice (organic or not)
- brown sugar
- powdered/confectioners sugar
- turbinado, Sucanat, Rapadura sugars
- high-fructose corn syrup
- corn syrup
It also includes chemical sweeteners:
- aspartame (Equal/NutraSweet)
- sucralose (Splenda)
- acesulfame-K/acesulfame potassium (Sunett & Sweet One)
- saccharin (Sugar Twin & Sweet’N Low)
You will need to check the ingredients list on your groceries and avoid anything with those in the list.
However, this challenge allows the use of natural sweeteners. Allowed sweeteners are:
- honey (raw if possible)
- pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
- date sugar
- brown rice syrup
- fruit juice concentrate
As you can see, you will still have plenty of sweet options. It’s really rather a challenge to replace refined sugar with natural sweeteners.
This challenge will also help you find the key to losing weight, stabilizing cholesterol levels, avoiding sugar-highs and lows that can make you depressed, and reversing a multitude of other health problems. If you are normally consuming refined sugars every few hours of the day, your immune system is constantly in a shut-down stage. This challenge will also give your immune system the strength to avoid getting every single cold and flu that comes your way!
But most importantly, this challenge will give you the chance to experience true freedom; freedom from a hidden addiction that you may have never known you had but have been experiencing health problems from all along.
So are you up for the challenge? Make your next month be a time of energy, health, and freedom from addiction! Watch for posts on Healthy Families for God’s Facebook page and here on this blog to get videos, articles, and more information every day until we start our Month Without Sugar Campaign.