Carbohydrates found in vegetables, grains, and fruits are good for you, but added sugars found in sodas, candies, icings, and packaged treats can do harm when eaten in excess. Added sugars contribute to obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Added sugars contain a whole bunch of calories with NO essential nutrients.
Excess sugar depresses immunity. Studies have shown that consuming sugar can suppress the body’s immune responses. Glucose, table sugar, fructose, and honey caused a 50% drop in the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacteria, but ingesting a complex carbohydrate solution (starch) did not. The immune suppression was most noticeable 2 hours after ingestion, but the effect was still evident 5 hours after ingestion.
Teens and college students who tend to overdose on sodas containing caffeine and sugar while studying for exams or during periods of stress are setting themselves up to get sick at a time when they need to be well.
2½ Cans of soda can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by 40%. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than 30 minutes after ingestion and may last for 5 hours, while the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system.
Some people are also sugar-sensitive, meaning their behavior, attention span, and learning ability deteriorate in proportion to the amount of junk sugar they consume.
Sugar promotes sugar highs. Adrenaline levels in children remained 10 times higher than normal for up to 5 hours after a test dose of sugar. High adrenaline levels or low blood sugar levels produce abnormal behavior. According to Dr. Keith Conners, author of Feeding the Brain. This could be related to the fact that the brain grows rapidly in the preschool years, exaggerating the effects of sugar on behavior and learning.
Sugar promotes cravings. The more sugar you eat, the more sugar you want. A high sugar meal raises the blood glucose level, which triggers the outpouring of insulin. This excess insulin lingers in the system, triggering a craving for more sugar, thus adding another hill to the roller coaster ride.
Sugar promotes diabetes. While the risk of developing diabetes lies more in the genes than in the diet, the old grandmother’s tale that too much sugar causes diabetes does have scientific support.
Sugar promotes heart disease. When you eat excess carbohydrates, your body turns these sugars into fat. The body stores excesses of most nutrients as a safeguard against starvation. If you eat more carbohydrates than you can burn off, the excess is stored as fats. People who eat too much sugar tend to have higher blood tryglycerides, and this increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugars in your diet. The American Heart Association recommends NO more than 6 teaspoons or 100 calories a day of sugar for women and NO more than 9 teaspoons or 150 calories a day for men.