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Ditch the Sugar for Better Immune Health

January 04, 2018

You don’t feel as well as you should. You’re lethargic, snuffly, achy, or even downright sick. What’s wrong with you?

It could be the amount of sugar you are eating. Yes, sugar is becoming our #1 health enemy. Why? Because it cripples ourimmune system.

Sugar Limits White Blood Cells

Our bodies are full of white blood cells for a reason – they work hard to kill bacteria and germs that can make us sick. The problem is that eating too much sugar can limit what these white blood cells can do.

According to the Health Services at Columbus University, consuming about 100 grams of sugar (the equivalent of 1 liter of soda), makes your white blood cells 40% less effective at killing germs. This can set you up for all kinds of health problems.

Here’s How It Works

The detrimental effect sugar has on the immune system is not new knowledge.

The medical community has known about it since the 1970’s when renowned microbiology researcher, Dr. Linus Pauling, discovered a link between vitamin C and fighting the common cold.

During his research study, something else was learned: Sugar competes with vitamin C in immune system cells and keeps it from absorbing bacteria and viruses. This can leave your body vulnerable to disease.

What Effect is Sugar Having on Your Health?

When most of us think about sugar related health problems, the first thing that pops into our head is diabetes and obesity. But consuming too much sugar can affect your body in many ways.

Here are just some of the ailments that a sugar overload can cause:

acne                                                                        indigestion
adrenal gland exhaustion                                    insomnia
asthma                                                                    liver problems
bone loss                                                                muscle pain
Candidiasis                                                             premature aging
endocrine gland dysfunction                               rheumatism
gallstones                                                                tooth decay
gout                                                                          ulcers
hypertension                                                           yeast infections

How Much Sugar Do You Eat?

If you are like most of us, you eat way more sugar than you should. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) the average American consumes a whopping 156 pounds of sugar every year.

Meanwhile, the American Heart Association (AHA) says that we should only be taking in 6-9 teaspoons of sugar a day. Let’s look at it another way.

According to the AHA, men should limit their sugar intake to about 37 grams per day; women 25 grams. Yet, just two cans of soda contain almost 100 grams of the sweet stuff.

To make matters worse, ingesting too much sugar can limit your immune system’s ability to fight off dangerous bacteria for as long as 5 hours after eating.

Take a look at how much sugar you eat in a day and ask yourself, “Could this be making me sick?”

Do You Know Where Sugar Is Hiding in Your Food?

It is easy to see where a lot of the sugar in your diet is coming from: sweet drinks, candy, snacks, etc. However,  you may be unaware of the dangerous sugar bombs hiding in your food.

Energy Drinks: It isn’t just the caffeine that gives you energy. These drinks can contain as much as 83 grams of sugar in one serving – that’s as much as pouring 21 sugar packets into that can!

Granola bars: A quick snack that should be healthy, but is it? Most granola bars contain about 12 grams of sugar.

Agave: You may have thought this a great substitute for cane sugar, but consider this – Agave is 85% fructose, and that’s hard for your liver to metabolize.

Fruit Yogurt: Containing about 19 grams of sugar, most are nothing more than a dessert.

Pasta dinner: Between the sauce (which contains about 12 grams of sugar per half cup) and the noodles which turn into sugars quickly in the body, a simple spaghetti dinner can cause a sugar overload if eaten with other sugary foods.

Tips for Cutting Back

Now that you know how bad sugar is for you and where it is hiding in your diet, it’s time to cut back. That’s not always easy. You need a plan.

Here are some tips to help you get started on altering the way you eat to ensure that you stay within the AHA sugar guidelines for a healthier immune system.

  • Get in the habit of reading labels
  • Eat regularly
  • Choose whole foods first
  • Eat some protein and fat with every meal
  • Take a multivitamin
  • Keep snacks out of your house
  • Avoid processed foods as much as you can
  • Watch portion sizes

Controlling Those Cravings

Controlling sugar cravings isn’t always easy. But it can be done. When it comes to limiting your sugar intake, consider implementing these important tactics:

  • Take 1000 to 2000 mg of L-Glutanine daily – This is a great supplement to help cut cravings.
  • Allow Yourself Some Favorite Snacks –  It’s okay to splurge once in awhile on high-sugar snacks, just be careful to limit them. Also, consider adding a healthy choice too. Consider dipping your favorite fruit in chocolate to give you a healthy, yet sweet snack.
  • Chew Gum when Sugary Impulses Strike – This is a great way to cut those snack cravings.
  • Eat Fresh Fruit – It’s a healthy way to satisfy the need for something sweet to eat.
  • Try New Things – A great way to stop your current eating cycle is to try something new. Indulge in new foods and try some new recipes.

Breaking your dependence may not be easy. However, learning how to limit your sugar intake will offer a variety of health benefits including boosting your immune system and helping you to ward off something as simple as the common cold or possibly something much more devastating.

References:

Casey, John. (2005). The hidden ingredient that can sabotage your diet. Retrieved from
www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=56589
The effects of sugar on the immune system. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.heathscience.org/sugar-research
Gunnars, K. (2016). Daily intake of sugar – How much sugar should you eat per day?
https://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-sugar-per-day/
Harmful effects of excess sugar (n.d.) Retrieved from
www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding/eating/family-nutrition/sugar/harmful-effects-excess-sugar
Sugar and your immune system. (n.d) Retrieved from http://alternativehealthatlanta.com/immune-system/sugar-and-your-immune-system/
Sugar’s effect on your immune system and how fresh foods can help. (n.d.) Retrieved from www.healthfree.com/nutritious-sugar-immune-system-foods.html