I know that sugar plays a role in the inflammation I have, and I have talked about sugar being the enemy to autoimmune disorders in a previous post. I have been learning more about the affects of sugar on the body by reading the book The Autoimmune Fix, by Tom O’Bryan. He shares a list of all the ways sugar is making us sick. I want to share some of those with you.
Negative Affects of Sugar
- Sugar causes chromium and copper deficiencies and interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium. These minerals, particularly chromium, are essential in the production of antibodies.
- Sugar can cause premature aging. More antibodies are necessary to get rid of aging cells.
- Sugar can cause autoimmune disorders such as arthritis, asthma, and multiple sclerosis.
- Sugar causes food allergies.
- Sugar can make your skin age by changing the structure of collagen.
- Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes int he kidney, such as the formation of kidney stones.
- Sugar can cause headaches, including migraines.
- Sugar can increase your risk of gout.
- Sugar can cause gum disease.
- Diets high in sugar will increase free radicals and oxidative stress.
What are Free Radicals?
Free radicals can be very harmful, but their production within the body is certainly not abnormal or even entirely bad. Despite contributing to the aging process, free radicals are also essential players in the immune system. Our bodies produce free radicals as byproducts of cellular reactions, metabolism of foods, breathing and other vital functions. The liver produces and uses free radicals for detoxification, while white blood cells send free radicals to destroy bacteria, viruses and damaged cells.
Why are free radicals thought to be dangerous then? As naturopath Dr. Stephen Byrnes explains, free radicals are unstable molecules, meaning they’re always on the lookout for chemical components that other cells have but that they themselves are missing.
What is Oxidative Stress?
Free radicals ultimately harm and age the body over time because they damage DNA, cellular membranes, lipids (fats) stored within blood vessels and enzymes. Normally, free radicals — or as they’re also commonly referred to, reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species — live in balance with antioxidants in the body. It’s when this balance is disturbed, due to low intake of antioxidants and accumulation of free radicals, that accelerated aging occurs.
The damage done by free radicals in the body is known as oxidation:
- Oxidation is the same process that browns an apple or rusts metal. Rampaging free radicals react with compounds in the body and oxidize them. The amount of oxidation in the body is a measure of oxidative stress.
Are you needing to get off of the sugar roller coaster? If you have been thinking about it, I hope that this post gives you more reason to cut it out of your diet. Personally, I feel so much better since I have removed the processed sugar from my diet. There is a difference between the sugar I am getting in fresh fruit and the sugar in junk food. Plus, the junk that is in our diets have so many more chemicals in their ingredients list that could be causing us more harm than good.