Why is Refined Sugar So Unhealthy?

I received a question on the subject of refined sugars from one of my readers. This is what Joanna had to say:

“Hi Ariel.

Could you help me to better understand the harms of consuming refined sugar?

I appreciate your help on this matter. Thank you very much!”

My answer:

Sugar, or in our case, glucose, is the preferred fuel of our cells. Sucrose, or as we call “refined sugar”, must be converted into glucose in order to be used by the body.

This process takes place quite easily, but in order to metabolise glucose, the body must appropriate, as needed, over 100,000 other nutrients – all of which are found in fruits and vegetables in amounts appropriate to the glucose they contain.

These nutrients include vitamins and minerals, specifically B vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc and chromium, just to name a few.

Since refined sugars contain virtually no vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, fibre, or any other beneficial compounds, the body must steal nutrients from its own stores to utilise the glucose in sugar. The result is nutritional bankruptcy.

By consuming refined sugars, we are continuously depleting our cells of important micronutrients, without providing anything in return, apart from the calorie content (hence we refer to refined sugars as “empty calories”).

So, the next time you are tempted to add sugar to your coffee, or consume the many thousands of products that contain sugar, such as biscuits, cakes, pastries, bread, pasta, crackers, soft drinks, sports drinks, yoghurt, store-bought salad dressings and condiments, tomato and pasta sauce, peanut butter, etc., at least now you know the real price you are paying.

Some experts describe sugar as nothing short of poison, while for others, it’s a compromise food, okay in moderation. The funniest way I’ve heard it put is by Dr. Mark Hyman from the Cleveland Clinic that “Sugar is a recreational drug” to be used very occasionally, which I tend to agree with.

In short: if the consumption of processed foods, whether refined sugar, bottled oil, or canned proteins, were all humans needed to thrive, people would succeed with this approach.

The reality, however, is that ALL dietary approaches include a high consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, because without these foods, achieving sustainably good health is impossible.

Fruits and tender vegetables are the ideal foods for humans, and are packed with the nutrients our bodies need, in the proportions we need them.

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