Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. Romans 12:1-2
Wednesday Health Check:
Going Back to the Basics
Greetings to all of you, my dear friends; It is that time again, our Wednesday health check. I trust you are well and looking forward to this exciting session.
Recently a loved one very dear to my heart; received the excellent news that she is in remission from cancer. She asked me to research for her on how to stay healthy from this stage onwards. So, I wondered and asked some of my friends and did a little research on the internet. As always, everyone is giving her all kinds of advice about keeping healthy and what types of foods she must avoid. Amongst the foods on the list, table sugar seemed to be the top of everyone lists.
They said she must abstain from table sugar, and that did not sit well with me, and I wanted to find out why so many people are against sugar consumption. Below I am sharing reasons why sugar Is not good for us, especially for cancer patients.
What is table sugar?
Let us start by defining table sugar. Sucrose is an ordinary sugar. It is a disaccharide, a molecule composed of two monosaccharides: glucose and fructose. Sucrose is produced naturally in plants. The purification process occurs, which results in table sugar; for human consumption, sucrose is extracted and refined from either sugar cane or sugar beet. Sugar mills – typically located in tropical regions near where sugar cane is grown – crush the cane and produce raw sugar, shipped to other factories for refining into pure sucrose.
In nature, sucrose is present in many plants, particularly their roots, fruits, and nectars, because it serves to store energy, primarily from photosynthesis. As the fruits ripen, their sucrose content usually rises sharply, but some fruits contain almost no sucrose at all. That includes grapes, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, figs, pomegranates, tomatoes, avocados, lemons, and limes.
Sucrose is a naturally occurring sugar, but with the advent of industrialization, it has been increasingly refined and consumed in all kinds of processed foods.
Facts about Table Sugar
Table sugar is not all bad; though one could gain weight, sugar is essential to maintain proper health. The body requires sugar for energy and strength. Some health benefits provided by white sugar are listed below:
Benefits of Table Sugar
- Provides energy: Sugar is an excellent source of energy. The sugar converts into glucose when it goes into the blood, and its absorption by cells helps produce energy. Sugar cubes are an excellent choice for an instant energy boost. Sugar cubes are helpful to sports people as they can provide instant, robust power for the workout activity or before the game sessions.
- Balances blood pressure: The low blood pressure patients should take sugar cubes, which instantly increase the blood pressure. One should consume some sugar if it suffered from low blood pressure.
- Diabetic patients: It is useful in diabetic patients, particularly in those with fluctuating blood sugar levels, especially in moments when they have not consumed any food for an extended period. Eating a few granules of sugar raises the blood sugar to the desired level by reviving the body.
- Brain functions: Sugar is essential for proper brain function. Some people experience a blackout due to an inadequate supply of sugar to the brain; hence, consuming it in moderate amounts is recommended rather than excessive amounts.
- Alleviate depression: The amount of sugar in chocolates helps alleviate depression effectively as they help improve the mood and release endorphins.
- Heal wounds: Sugar granules heal wounds more quickly than most ointments, creams, provided, performed under the medical doctor’s supervision.
- Have a piece of cake occasionally.
Occasionally one can enjoy a delicious treat of food and beverages with sugar and train yourself to adhere to the recommended daily allowance.
Has Sugar been A New Tobacco?
With all the right things mentioned about table sugar, there is also an ongoing debate about the health risks of added sugar in one’s health and life span. In past generations, the battle was against the tobacco industry, selling cigarettes that claimed many lives. There is another industry, and its products are food and beverages, Which have a high content of added sugar.
The food and beverage industry has adopted the same strategy as the tobacco industry that does not disclose the harmful aspect of added sugar in all its products.
The sad truth is that added sugar is addictive as the cocaine found on the streets. The reason for this is because eating sugar releases opioids and dopamine in our bodies. That is the link between added sugar and addictive behavior.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is a crucial part of the “reward circuit” associated with addictive behavior. When a particular behavior causes an excess release of dopamine, you feel a pleasurable “high” that you are inclined to re-experience and repeat the behavior.
As you repeat that behavior more and more, your brain adjusts to release less dopamine. The only way to feel the same “high” as before is to repeat the behavior in increasing amounts and frequency. That is known as substance misuse.
Sugar activates the opiate receptors in our brain and affects the reward center, which leads to compulsive behavior, despite the negative consequences like weight gain, headaches, hormone imbalances, and more.
Every time we eat sweets, we are reinforcing those neuropathways, causing the brain to become increasingly hardwired to crave sugar, building up a tolerance like any other drug.”
Added Sugars are as bad as smoking Tobacco
- Can Cause Weight Gain: Sugar-sweetened drinks like sodas, juices, and sweet teas have significant fructose, a simple sugar type. Consuming fructose increases your hunger and desire for food more than glucose, the primary type of sugar found in starchy foods.
- May Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease
- Has Been Linked to Acne: A diet high in refined carbs, including sugary foods and drinks, has been associated with a higher risk of developing acne. High-sugar diets can increase androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation, all of which can raise your risk of developing acne.
- Increases Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A high-sugar diet may lead to obesity and insulin resistance, both of which are risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
- May Increase Your Risk of Cancer: Too much sugar can lead to obesity, insulin resistance, and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for cancer.
- May Increase Your Risk of Depression:While a healthy diet can help improve your mood, a diet high in added sugar and processed foods may increase your chances of developing depression.
- May Accelerate the Skin Aging Process: Wrinkles are a natural sign of aging. They appear eventually, regardless of your health.
- Drains Your Energy: High-sugar foods can negatively impact your energy levels by causing a spike in blood sugar, followed by a crash.
- Can Lead to Fatty Liver: Overeating sugar may lead to NAFLD, a condition in which excessive fat builds up in the liver.
- Other Health Risks: Aside from the risks listed above, sugar can harm your body in countless other ways.
Research shows that too much added sugar can:
- Increase kidney disease risk: Having consistently high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the delicate blood vessels in your kidneys. That can lead to an increased risk of kidney disease.
- Negatively impact dental health: Overeating sugar can cause cavities. Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and release acid byproducts, which cause tooth demineralization.
- Increase the risk of developing gout: Gout is an inflammatory condition characterized by pain in the joints. Added sugars raise uric acid levels in the blood, increasing the risk of developing or worsening gout.
- Accelerate cognitive decline: High-sugar diets can lead to impaired memory and possibly an increased risk of dementia.
Research on the impact of added sugar on health is ongoing, and continuous discoveries are updated now and again.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Trusted Source has been cautioning people to reduce their “free sugars” intake to less than 10 percent of daily calories since 1989. The organization says that doing so can lower the risk of becoming obese or overweight or experiencing tooth decay.
“Free sugars” include both the sugars naturally found in honey and fruit juice and sugar added to food and drinks. On food labels, added sugars include glucose, corn syrup, brown sugar, dextrose, maltose, sucrose, and many others.
Consuming a high amount of natural and added sugar has the same health hazards as smoking tobacco. Tobacco smoking can lead to lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. It increases the risk of heart disease, which can lead to stroke or heart attack. Smoking has also been linked to other cancers, leukemia, cataracts, Type 2 Diabetes, and pneumonia. Food and beverages with high sugar content have also been linked to various chronic and incurable diseases.