We all know that too much sugar is bad for us. Ask any child, and he will tell you “it’s bad for my teeth”. Ask any diabetic, and she will say “it’s bad for my blood sugar”. Ask any health-conscious person who is watching their weight and he sighs, “it’s bad for my figure/physique”. They are all correct. Yet there is one little known, very big hazard of consuming concentrated sugars: THEY SUPPRESS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM.
Sugar suppresses immune activity for up to 5 hours after ingestion. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s table sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, blackstrap molasses or maple syrup, either. They are all concentrated sugars, isolated from other foods. After consuming sugar, our white blood cells are temporarily disabled and “paralyzed”. What does this mean for us?
1. Greater vulnerability to infection. Bacteria, yeasts and viruses are opportunists, taking advantage of comfortable conditions in which they have an ample food supply. Sugar happens to be it. A population of bacteria will multiple to twice its size in a matter of 20 minutes. If this is happening while your immune system is temporarily paralysed, your risk of developing an infection—be it a UTI, an ear infection, a cold or the flu–is high.
2. A greater opportunity for cancer development. Besides rooting out pathogenic microbes, a healthy immune system is on alert 24/7 for cancer cells—which it can then destroy before they become tumours. If that isn’t scary enough, it appear that once a malignant tumour has developed unchecked by the immune system, it THRIVES on these sugars. This is because when we consume sugar, our insulin levels rise and so do our levels of the hormone IGF-1. Known also as insulin-like growth factor -1, this hormone supports growth of tumours and other dense, muscle tissue.
Want to improve your resistance to disease? Minimizing sugar consumption needs to be part of your strategy for success. If you’ve got a sweet tooth a registered nutritionist can help plan your meals in a way that keeps sugar cravings and indulgences at bay.