Of course, this is old news to nutritionists and naturopathic physicians, who have long been urging patients to avoid the consumption of refined carbohydrates and especially refined white sugar. Not only is white sugar known to cause nutritional deficiencies and suppress immune system and brain function, it also promotes both diabetes and obesity. Now we can officially add cancer to that list, thanks to this research.
The fact is, refined white sugar is one of the most unhealthy food ingredients you can put into your body. It causes the depletion of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly, and it causes radical swings in blood sugar that affect insulin resistance as well as mood and brain function. It has even been linked to violent behavior and various behavioral disorders, especially in young males. The consumption of sugar is also strongly linked to attention deficit hyperactive disorder, or ADHD.
Of course, Americans love to eat sugar. You can find it in ice cream, cookies, cakes, pancakes, and even things you wouldn't expect to have sugar, such as pasta sauce and pizza sauce. But sugar, it turns out, is one of those ingredients we should all be avoiding if we are to achieve optimum health. I gave up sugar years ago when I kicked the soft drink habit. Since then, I have avoided all refined sugars, and to this day I eat absolutely no refined sugars whatsoever, not even as ingredients in foods. In doing so, I was able to greatly improve my overall health and ultimately lose 50 pounds of excess body fat.
When you consume sugar, you harm your body. You're actually doing your entire system a great disservice. You're impairing the function of your body, your internal organs such as your pancreas, and especially your brain. Sugar simply doesn't belong in the American diet, and if we were to get rid of sugar altogether, or teach people to avoid it, we would all be far healthier, and our national health care costs would plummet.
Of course, Big Sugar and the sugar industry would argue against all of this. They're a lot like the tobacco industry, and they even argue that sugar isn't bad for you and it doesn't cause obesity. In fact, they want to keep exporting sugar to the entire world, so that the rest of the world can share in the high incidence of obesity and chronic disease now experienced in America. It's true -- America is the most obese and chronically diseased country in the world, and we don't seem to be happy until our homegrown businesses are free to export that disease to every other country around the world. That's called "free trade."
Amazingly, we even subsidize sugar in this country in order to make it cheaper. That's an economic incentive that encourages people to buy and eat more sugar (or products made with sugar). It's a great political scandal, of course, that comes down to nothing more than corporate welfare. The sugar industry in the United States is closely allied with the Bush administration to the point where it even helps influence the United States policies on global health and nutrition.
For example, just look into the latest round of dialogue at the World Health Organization, where the United States was firmly against advice offered by the WHO that would have recommended people reduce their consumption of added sugars in order to fight obesity and diabetes around the world. The sugar industry in the United States strongly fought against the passage of those recommendations, arguing that sugar was perfectly good for your health and there was absolutely no evidence linking it to disease.
That's a ridiculous position of course -- there's a tremendous amount of evidence linking disease to sugar, but trying to convince sugar industry executives of that fact is sort of like trying to tell cigarette company CEOs that nicotine is addictive.
If you're going to take sugar out of your diet, I strongly advise that you do it slowly, and you should replace sugar with stevia, a natural sweetener made from the sweetleaf herb that has virtually no calories and won't alter your blood sugar in the same way that sugar does. In fact, stevia is an extremely healthy alternative to sugar that should, in my opinion, be legalized by the FDA and allowed into the food supply. After all, it is safely used around the world (and has been for thousands of years) with no reports of toxicity or negative side effects whatsoever.
Unfortunately, stevia is not yet approved for use in the U.S. food supply, primarily because the FDA is working to once again protect the profits of private industry by making sure that aspartame has a strong market. As a result, many people will switch from sugar to aspartame, and instead of being obese and diabetic they will suffer from the dangerous health side effects related to aspartame such as blindness, migraine headaches and nervous system disorders.
So, I certainly don't recommend consuming aspartame instead of sugar. Go for stevia instead. And once again, transition slowly. If you've been consuming a diet very high in sugar, as most Americans have, you won't have any success at all if you try to quit sugar cold turkey. You have to slowly transition off of sugar, week by week, month by month, until you are completely rid of it. In fact, a one-year plan for getting off of sugar is quite reasonable.
If you currently drink soft drinks, it is imperative that you give up soft drinks first, because this is one of the worst sources of added sugars in the American diet. To do this, check out my book called "The Five Soft Drink Monsters," available free of charge at the Consumer Wellness Research Center.
After you have eliminated soft drinks from your diet, you can tackle other areas of added sugars in your diet. These include candy bars, granola bars, energy bars, and various drinks. Of course, they also include desserts, muffins, cakes, cookies, and other pastries. You actually have to look for sugar in the ingredients labels of popular foods, otherwise you won't even realize they're in there. You'll find sugar in pancake mixes, for example, which is why I think most pancakes are just cake for breakfast. Also you need to realize that you can't just look for the word "sugar" on the ingredient labels on foods. You must also look for terms like sucrose and maltodextrin.
Another form of sugar is fructose, which is frequently found in soy protein supplements and body building supplements. Fructose is somewhat better for you than sucrose, but fructose is still a refined sugar, and should be avoided by people seeking optimum health. Again, it all comes back to the right choice for sweeteners, and that choice is stevia.
The bottom line is that the research is now showing sugar to be correlated with breast cancer. This is certainly no surprise to holistic nutritionists and those who have followed wellness and health for some time. It may be news to researchers and physicians, but that's only because they tend to remain ignorant about the nutritional relationships between foods and health.