“Sugar Is a Poison” says a UCSF Obesity Expert (2010). Sugar is one of the most consumed substances in Canada and the United States, with the average diet containing between sixty and seventy percent sugar filled foods. These are foods that serve no nutritional value and should be eliminated. Everybody needs a small amount of sugar in their diets; however these sugars are naturally found in fruits and vegetables, not soft drinks and candy bars. Sugar is one of the worst foods for us to ingest because it is addictive, leads to obesity and damages the immune system.
Sugar is an addictive substance. According to Dr. Mercola (2007) “Sugar is far more addictive than cocaine -- one of the most addictive and harmful substances currently known.” Much like marijuana or heroin, those addicted to sugar go through the same symptoms during withdrawal as people addicted to drugs. After you have a small amount of sugar your body reacts by craving more. According to Samantha Rufle (2007) “When you eat a lot of sugar your body over produces the hormone; insulin. The insulin reacts with the sugar causing the blood sugar to drop. When your blood sugar drops, you crave more sugar. This is the cycle of sugar addiction.” If sugar were a new substance on the market, it would most likely be deemed illegal, as it is considered addictive and has similar characteristics to other banned substances. One notable side effect of sugar addiction is that makes it much more difficult for a person to control their portions and frequency of eating, thereby leading to other medical issues including obesity and negative effects on the immune system. The less sugar we consume, the less likely we are to develop an unhealthy addiction.
Obesity levels in Canada have never been higher and this trend is continuing upward. “Nationwide, more than half of Canadians -- 47.9 per cent (sic) -- are considered overweight” (www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/CTVNewsAt11/20010721/ctvnews93395/). Fourteen per cent of those deemed overweight are considered obese. This being said, it is obvious people struggle with weight and health “and sugar is the true culprit”, says Dr. Robert Lustig, Laura Schmidt and Claire Brindis (2012). A disproportionate amount of calories come from sugar, not allowing us to consume calories from more nutrient dense foods without becoming overweight. Being overweight is not only unhealthy but has also been proven to shorten the lifespan. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “about 112,000 deaths in the United States are associated each year with obesity, and the total medical costs came to $147 billion in 2008.” Excess sugar in the diet is the main contributor to weight gain.
Sugar has many damaging effects on our health by weakening the immune system. It plays a big role in the development of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. In the nineteenth century peopled consumed a mere five pounds of sugar per year. Currently North Americans are consuming a whopping three pounds per week, which represents an increase of 3,120%. In the nineteenth century, cancer was a rare illness whereas today it is far more commonplace. This is because our white blood cells, which help to fight off disease on a regular basis, absorb sugar and vitamin C in the same way. These cells ingest far more sugar than vitamin C, therefore diluting the vitamin to near nothing and filling out cells with sugar. According to http://www.wellsphere.com/healthy-living-article/sugar-s-damaging-health-effects-on-your-immune-system/804129 (2009) “the immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours.” During this time the immune system is capable of only fight off germs and bacteria at fifty percent of its regular ability. At the rate we are consuming sugar, our immune system is unable to stay on guard against other threats and therefore we become more likely to develop the diseases listed above. Sugar harms our bodies natural defense against virus and makes us much more susceptible to illness.
Sugar is almost a type of poison to the body and is proven to be addictive, cause obesity and damage the immune system. The only benefit is that sugar is an inexpensive way to sweeten the food we eat, however a healthy diet does not need sugar to mask otherwise empty calories. As a society, we need to limit our sugar intake and it would seem that it is only a matter of time before we limit the use of sugar. If we placed restrictions or in severe cases banned sugar from public intake all of these problems would be avoided or minimized. Sugar is a dangerous chemical that should be eliminated from the foods we eat.