Is sugar bad for you? Of course, we all know it probably is. But how bad is it? That’s the topic we’re going to look at today.
Helplessly watching your child drift further and further away from you and away from reality is a sick, sick feeling.
Not knowing what you’re doing wrong or if there is anything you can ever do to make it right again is worse than living in a world with no light. An autism diagnosis from our doctors raised no question about the state of my son’s health. Autism was just a cold, hard fact. The only recommendation we received was for preschool and therapy.
The fact that we started Aaron on a gluten-free, casein-free diet was purely on intuition, and then validated by an allergy test which I insisted on having done after having read some interesting articles online about allergies causing autism symptoms. The doctors simply complied with my wishes and wrote the order for the blood test. Sure enough, the results indicated Aaron was allergic to all grains, dairy, and eggs. (GMO and wheat strike again.)
So for an entire year, from ages 3 – 4, Aaron was fed a strict gluten-free, casein-free, egg-free, organic diet. Once again, there was no connection made between the allergies and autism by our doctors. It was viewed as coincidental, not incidental. Nor was the possibility of Aaron recovering from autism even mentioned. The GFCF diet was for avoiding allergic irritations in my autistic son. They were two separate issues as far as the doctors were concerned, but I was optimistic that the two issues were related and that Aaron would heal.
I know I named GMO and wheat as the top two offenders, and I stand by my claims. And yet, there we were, no GMOS in the diet since we had gone organic. No wheat since we had gone gluten-free, and still by the time Aaron was 4 his autism had progressed so much that I had to pull him out of pre-school.
In fact, he was so bad that we were prisoners in our own home. The walls from within echoing with hours of unexplained tantrums, fits of laughter and rage, and my own extreme nausea as I gradually lost hope of wishing for anything more in life than to just make it through one more day.
We quit the gluten-free, casein-free diet. All those designer gluten-free foods we were spending so much money on were clearly getting us nowhere in a hurry. I felt I’d done everything I could and that I had lost.
Set Up To Fail Because of Sugar
Four miserable weeks later, I found hope again. I learned about GAPS diet and was finally able to pinpoint why our gluten-free, casein-free efforts had failed. I learned two very important lessons from the GAPS protocol.
Number one, even though we had rid ourselves of GMO’s and wheat, two major sources of toxicity, our diets were still drastically lacking in nutrient dense, immune-enhancing foods. And two, Aaron’s recovery had been sabotaged…by sugar.
That designer gluten-free, casein-free diet was low on nutrients, and very, very high on sugar and starch. We had been set-up to fail, duped by marketing, uniformed by the mainstream medical professionals, and we were finally really pissed off. It was like hearing the truth for the first time in my life.
I sit here, shaking my head, still angry at my ignorance. Sure, I’d heard many times before that sugar isn’t healthy. But I had no idea how much damage I was doing to my child with the high sugar, high starch diet he was on. I was spending a fortune on GFCF foods trying to help him, but what I was really doing was feeding a yeast monster and ensuring that my already digestively-challenged child would be dangerously malnourished.
And that is the crux of why sugar needs to be permanently removed from our diets.
Sugar and the Yeast Monster
Everybody has yeast. It’s a natural part of our body and it has been there, likely, since we were 21 days old. But the American diet today consisting of mainly wheat, starch, sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oils is one of the reasons why the yeast monster has grown to epidemic proportions in the US. Yeast needs food to grow, and wheat, starch, and sugar are its favorite foods.
The designer gluten-free diet is nothing but starches and sugar. This is the ultimate mistake people make when wheat has backed them into a corner and they realize they’ve got to go gluten-free. They go to the grocery store, like I did, and look for the healthy-living isle. Then they proceed to fill their shopping cart with everything they can find that says Gluten Free on the label, trying desperately to find substitutes for all the forbidden food items they still crave. And so the food industry is all too happy to provide us with gluten free breads, pastas, cookies, breakfast cereals, chips, crackers, snack bars. They cost twice as much and are no better for you than the cheap stuff because of their inevitable ability to feed the yeast monster, and the fact that many of them still contain GM ingredients.
The yeast monster is mean and stubborn. It’s big and annoying, and it has probably been with you so long you don’t know what life would be like without it. Yeast overgrowth shows itself in many ways. The top 10 signs according to Dr. Amy Myers are:
- Skin and nail fungal infections (such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus)
- Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis
- Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD and brain fog
- Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
- Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
- Vaginal infections , urinary tract infections, rectal itching or vaginal itching
- Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
- Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
Autistic children have their own list of symptoms indicating that their yeast monster has grown to be an absolute giant. With Aaron we struggled with potty training, inappropriate laughter followed by unexplained tantrums, high-pitched squealing, jumping, self-stimulatory behaviors, and athletes foot constantly. These are the things that took Aaron’s autism over the edge. These are the things that sugar did. But sugar did something else equally damning to my son. It starved him.
The effect of sugar is best explained via its original nickname that it was given when it production began to boom: White Death. It deserves this name because of the process that your body undergoes during the digestion of sugar. When you eat refined sugar your body has no choice except to digest it. This creates two problems:
Allow me to explain.
So you let your kid eat a lollipop. You’re riding in the car and that nice lady at the bank sent one through the drive-through as a reward or compensation for the wait. Your child is happy now and quickly devours the candy. Her mouth has turned an unnatural shade of red or blue from the coloring agents in the candy. But that’s part of the poison aspect which we’ll discuss next. This is about the sugar in that lollipop. When your child eats this lollipop, over the course of the next 10 minutes two things will happen. Number one, your child will experience a mild sugar rush from the instant absorption of the sugar into the blood stream. Number two, your child’s body will begin taking vital nutrients from your her blood, bones, teeth, and tissue in order to digest the sugar.
You see, sugar is a processed food. It came from either sugar cane or sugar beet. If you analyze sugar cane or sugar beet, you will discover that in addition to the sugar molecules, the whole sugar cane or sugar beet also contains an entire spectrum of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins as part of the whole plant that are actually good for you. But the refining process removed all those enzymes, minerals and vitamins and left behind nothing but the simple, solitary sugar molecule. That sugar molecule needs those enzymes, minerals, and vitamins in order to be digested by your child’s body, and since it doesn’t have them anymore, guess where it’s going to get them? That’s right…. from your child.
The design of the human body is such that it can handle a great deal of internal damage and stress before we see symptoms arise the surface. So, no, your child’s not going to eat a piece of candy and suddenly become autistic, or develop asthma, or some other unwanted disease. But you are contributing to slow drain of your child’s life by allowing her to eat that lollipop. Let’s not forget that she’s getting sugar in practically everything else she’s eating and drinking if you follow the mainstream model of fast food, juice boxes, cookies, fruit snacks, breakfast cereals, soda, etc.
Sugar consumption weakens the immune system. In cases of children like my son Aaron, whose digestive issues prevent them from getting much nutrients from the food they eat, then sugar consumption actually causes serious malnutrition.
Unless you’re eating your sugar only by the spoon and straight from the bag, refined sugar is never alone. It’s is joined in processed foods by numerous other dangerous chemicals, food additives and colorings. Check this out:
In 2008, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in Washington, D.C. petitioned the FDA to ban artificial food dyes (along with 19 psychiatrists, toxicologists, and pediatricians who co-signed) because of their association with behavioral problems. Two years later, the CSPI released a report furthering their belief that the nine artificial dyes approved in the U.S. are likely carcinogenic and can lead to behavioral problems. The report compiled studies on food dyes and found some cannot be considered safe given elevated incidences of cancers, birth defects, and allergic reactions (triggered by Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6) associated with their consumption.
In March 2011 the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (which is a sector of the FDA) convened a meeting of the Food Advisory Committee (FAC) to address the health implications of food coloring. The FAC concluded the evidence was too inconclusive to link food colors to hyperactivity, and too insufficient to include warning labels on products containing them.
To wrap things up, let’s establish a couple of truths:
Truth 1: Just as wheat is in practically everything, there is hardly a food being processed today that does not also contain sugar. They are a tag-team, with one rarely appearing someplace without the other.
Truth 2: Just as people are drastically unaware of the real amount of wheat they are eating, they are also drastically unaware of the amount of sugar they are eating.
Wake up, people! Is it really okay with you that the food industry is using an additive in their products for the sole intent of getting you “addicted” to the taste, flavor, and feeling you get when you eat that food only to ensure that you come back for more?
Think about it.
There’s something in the food that makes you crave it (addiction) and when you eat it, it actually steals vital nutrients from you instead of nourishes you. This explains why we have so many people who are overweight, and starving all at the same time. And since sugar has been proven to be more addictive than cocaine, I know that you cannot consume it and say that any amount is safe.
It will hook you.
You will eat more.
It will take its toll.
So, is sugar bad for you? Hand’s down. So how do we find it?
The answer might shock you.
Sugar, Where Art Thou?
Would you recognize refined sugar if you saw it on a label?
Here’s a list of names that all mean sugar. It doesn’t make a difference which name they use, organic or not. Its refined sugar, it should be avoided.
Here are 46 of the most common aliases for sugar:
- Barley malt
- Beet sugar
- Brown sugar
- Buttered syrup
- Cane juice crystals
- Cane sugar
- Corn syrup
- Corn syrup solids
- Confectioner’s sugar
- Carob syrup
- Castor sugar
- Demerara sugar
- Diastatic malt
- Ethyl maltol
- Fruit juice
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Glucose solids
- Golden sugar
- Golden syrup
- Grape sugar
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Icing sugar
- Invert sugar
- Malt syrup
- Muscovado sugar
- Pure sugar
- Raw sugar
- Refiner’s syrup
- Rice syrup
- Sorghum syrup
- Turbinado sugar
What About Organic Sugar? Is That Still Bad For You?
Oh, yeah: one last thing. People ask me all the time if things like Sugar in the Raw or organic cane sugar are ok. Words like raw, natural, and organic are being used deceptively. Yes, the product may be organic, but it makes it only slightly less aggressive to the human body. The digestive process is the same as conventional sugar. It will still deplete your vital stores of nutrients leading to malnutrition, disease, and cancer. Organic sugar is processed “cleaner”, but it is still sugar and it is still very, very bad for you and your children.
How to Eliminate Sugar From Your Life in 4 Easy Steps
Your goal for Step Three is to become fully educated on the danger of sugar and completely rid your household of them. Below, I have outlined three things for you to do to complete Step Three of my plan to rid your home from toxicity.
1.) Educate yourself. Start by watching this short video available free on YouTube. It is only 18 minutes, but it has a decent broad scope representation of the dangers that sugar cause. From this point on, you will find countless resources available free via YouTube that will help you internalize the urgency behind the matter of eliminating sugar from you diet. They are bigger and a bit more complicated than this video presents, but nevertheless this is an excellent starting point.
2.) Continue to educate yourself. If you don’t continually remind yourself to care about this issue, you will find yourself initially making a conscience effort to control sugar consumption which will be short lived and end in binging. This is by design and due to sugar’s addictive properties. The only way to quit is to quit.
3.) Learn the definition of eating a “whole foods” diet. If you truly succeed at cutting sugar out of your life, you’ll find that you don’t fit in to mainstream conveniences anymore. This is where simple becomes hard. No more drive thru’s, no more vending machines, and your processed food consumption will virtually plummet. Good for you. You’re on your way to reclaiming your health and reclaiming your future.
4.) Learn to use fruit, raw local honey, and maple syrup as sweeteners. They are whole foods and will not cause the same damaging effects that sugar causes.
Have you cut out sugar from your diet? Struggling to do so? Share your thoughts in the comments below!