The title of this post is of course a quote by William Shakespeare from his play Romeo and Juliet and means that the names of things do not matter, only what things are…
This certainly applies to sugar. Refined “sugar” in any of its forms is bad enough. Studies have shown that it is responsible for a plethora of ills, which I don’t have documentation for right at my fingertips, but if anybody is interested, let me know and I’d be happy to dig some up for you.
One source states that we have increased sugar consumption in the U.S. to 135 lbs. of sugar per person per year! During the 1800’s the average consumption was only 5 lbs. per person per year.
Cancer and some of the other ills of our modern society were also very rare a century ago.
It’s been fairly well established at this point that refined sugar contributes to the growth of cancer cells and compromises the immune system.
Some people may be shocked to hear this, but many folks are already well aware of the danger and continue to eat it anyway. The tongue is like an unruly child, demanding what it should not have, and like an overly indulgent parent, we all too often give in to its demands!
Research of late seems to indicate that “High Fructose Corn Syrup” is an even more destructive substance than regular refined sugar.
Food and drink manufacturers switched to High Fructose Corn Syrup in the early 70s because it is cheap and 20 times sweeter than the regular sugar of the past.
A single 12 oz can of cola has up to 13 tsp of sugar, most of it fructose from High Fructose Corn Syrup. And, as an aside, drinking only one soda a day adds up to 15 pounds a year!
High Fructose Corn Syrup is being hidden in our food and drinks in great quantities. Just read the labels. And by the way, ingredients are listed in the order of the greatest quantity. Often you will find Sugar AND High Fructose Corn Syrup listed as the first TWO ingredients! That doesn’t just mean that there is more sugar than any other single ingredient, that means that there is more sweetener than any other two ingredients put together.
In a study at Princeton University separate groups of rats were given the same caloric intake of sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup. The rats fed High Fructose Corn Syrup gained much more weight than the ones consuming regular table sugar. In a second study , the rats fed a diet incorporating High Fructose Corn Syrup “showed characteristic signs of a dangerous condition known in humans as the metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly. Male rats in particular ballooned in size: Animals with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained 48 percent more weight than those eating a normal diet.”
The High Fructose Corn Syrup group male rats did not survive to adulthood, suffering from anemia and high cholesterol, their hearts enlarging until they actually exploded. Their testicles also did not develop normally which was the least of their problems. The females were not so physically affected but none could bear live young. The livers of the rats on the High Fructose Corn Syrup diet looked like the livers of alcoholics.
Personally I try to avoid all sources of refined sugar, and I had the good fortune to have been brought up in my early years without it.
Ancient advice passed down in my family cautions us to “use only a little honey to sweeten your food.” Whether that admonition meant a little honey or a little honey is no longer clear but either way it’s still good advice.
For the first years of my life the only sweets I knew were fruits, juices, and very limited amounts of honey.
When I was old enough to make my own choices in this matter, I happily interpreted the advice to mean any sweetener in moderation is acceptable. I rationalized that at the time the ancients admonished us to use only a little honey, there probably wasn’t much else in use as sweetener except honey.
However, my mother and grandmother have always reasoned that it was clearly implied that other substances were not to be substituted for the honey, (as well as limiting the amount used) and they adamantly refused to use anything else, and not even much of that.
The first few times that I sampled products with sugar, I not only became nauseous, I experienced many other side effects. But the taste was so compelling that I made excuses for the way I felt. I eventually built up a slight tolerance for it, although I could still eat only a little before feeling at least some effects from it.
I had my first viral cold in my life following a sugar binge when I was more than 20 years old. If you would dismiss this incident as simple coincidence (as I did at the time) consider the established effects of sugar on the immune system. The amount of sugar that is contained in a piece of pie is enough to generally inhibit the immune system for up to eight hours.
Each white blood cell should, in theory, have the ability to destroy 14 “germs” in its lifetime. Sugar greatly inhibits their ability to do so. Obviously, the more hindered your white blood cells are in their work, the more chance there is to contract sickness. Not only does refined sugar inhibit white blood cell effectiveness, its effects are cumulative, increasing its negative effects as the quantity consumed increases.
Thus, 6 teaspoons of sugar (eaten at one time, about half of a 12 ounce soda) decreases a white blood cell’s ability to destroy bacteria by 25%. This means that now, instead of destroying 14, it only has the ability to destroy 10.
12 teaspoons of sugar (drank the rest of that soda did you?) inhibit that poor wee white cell’s ability by 60%. Instead of destroying 14 germs, now our white blood cell can only kill 5.5 (the one that got away?)
18 teaspoons of sugar (a can of soda and a jelly donut!?) decreases the effectiveness of our struggling white blood cell by 85%. That means that our white blood cell can now kill only 2 bacteria instead of 14.
24 teaspoons of sugar (TWO jelly donuts!!?) will decrease its effectiveness by 92%. Now, your poor white blood cell can only destroy 1 germ if it’s lucky. Better not get exposed to anything…(wait a minute, is that new guy that I just shook hands with sneezing and sniffling? Have I been rubbing my eyes?)
In order to get the blood sugar levels swinging wildly for the day, many people like to eat prepared “cold” breakfast cereals with milk (part of a healthy breakfast, right?). Very few of these are made without added sugar. Even then, many people add more from the sugar bowl!
If you drink soda, remember that you consume about nine to twelve teaspoons per 12 oz. can. You probably wouldn’t put that much in your coffee or tea, but it hides very effectively in your soft drink, where you probably never give it a second thought. Some people eat yogurt because they believe it’s a healthy thing to do. One 8 ounce serving of fruit flavored yogurt can contain almost as much sugar as a can of soda!
By the way, if you’re thinking that it might be a good idea to avoid some of that sugar by switching to artificial sweetener, you might want to research that first – it’s even worse than sugar!