Dr. Vikki Petersen, certified clinical nutritionist, chiropractor and certified functional medicine practitioner, lists her top 6 reasons to avoid the excess consumption of sugar.
"Kids love sugar, so do adults for that matter, but is it good for anyone? As yummy as it tastes, sugar is "the devil". If you've been a parent for a while you've likely experienced your child "high" on sugar only to crash and burn later. It isn't fun for you or them. But did you also know that sugar is devastating to your immune system? It opens the door for infections, and no one enjoys getting sick," says Dr. Vikki Petersen.
Reason #1: Obesity
Obesity has become an epidemic in the U.S. Sugar is most definitely a culprit in weight gain, but the sad facts are that overweight kids most always maintain their overweight status into adulthood. Add to that the association of obesity to diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver and cancer, and you begin to see how sugar is not the friend to your children.
Reason #2: Higher Cholesterol
It is interesting to note that excess sugar leads to heart disease. Sugar lowers the "good" HDL cholesterol while raising your triglycerides. Sugar also alters the function of the "bad" LDL cholesterol, causing rapid clogging of your arteries. If you think your children are "too young" to worry about heart disease, that sadly is not the case in the U.S. Evidence of early plaquing in arteries occurs in young children.
Reason #3: Increased Cancer Risk
The preferred source of fuel for cancer cells is sugar. For that matter, it is what bacteria and viruses prefer to eat as well. Therefore, the "sweetness" of sugar belies its evil side in its attack on your immune system's strength.
Reason #4: Imbalanced Gut Flora
The balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut dictates a great deal about your health. Your immune system's strength or weakness, your hormonal balance (think mood and comprehension in kids), your tendency toward developing autoimmune diseases along with heart disease, diabetes and more, are all very much dictated by the population of bacteria in your gut. Sadly, sugar feeds and promotes the increase of bad bacteria, leading to the issues stated above.
Reason #5: Narrow Airways Leading to Asthma
Research has shown that a diet rich in sugar may set up the immune system of the airways to experience allergic inflammation. Such inflammation can cause a narrowing of the airways, excess mucus production and result in asthma symptoms, including wheezing and shortness of breath.
Reason #6: Immune Strength
Eating or drinking sugar reduces the strength of your immune cells. These immune cells, called natural killer cells, defend you against the ravages of bacteria, viruses and cancer cells. When you consume sugar the negative effect and weakening of your immune system last several hours (up to 5 hours). If you want to make bacteria, viruses and cancer cells "happy", eat sugar. It is their preferred source of fuel. Needless to say, we do not want to empower them.
Dr. Petersen concludes by saying, "Sugar, or blood sugar, is vital to deliver fuel to your cells. Blood sugar is maintained from all foods, not just sugar; and, in that way, the terminology "blood sugar" is a bit confusing."