Sugar – Your Immune System Wrecker
23rd October 2014 - Diet & Nutrition
I hope that after reading this article, you should make sugar your no. 1 enemy!
If you have been following my blog or instagram, you will know that I always do (or try to) eat well. Even on days when I couldn’t get my hands on a all rounded nutritious meal, I will supplement the intake with my nutrition shake – the most convenient measured nutrition. This makes sure I am well covered for all nutrition that is needed for my day.
Ever since I started on my nutrition shake (I will introduce this in another post shortly), I have hardly been ill. It wasn’t like that for me all the time. I had always been sickly when I was a kid, throat infections, fever, flu, coughs etc. However, these 2 years have seen a huge improvement in my health. I exercise hard, I eat well, I make sure I hydrate myself well. I have actually been able to stay away from flu and colds for a long while.
However, 3 weeks ago I had a bad bout of gastritis, or perhaps food poisoning, or gastroenteritis… The diagnosis was unclear, as I was away overseas and the doctor I consulted was called in to my hotel. I felt better in days with the prescribed medication, but those were just treating the awful symptoms I experienced. No confirmed diagnosis was available. The post recovery took weeks, longer than what I had expected. It went on with reduced appetite, frequent indigestion, and slight lactose intolerance. And because my appetite was affected, I succumbed to my awful cravings of bread, cakes, and sugared food!
And so, for the following two weeks, I have been eating badly. Real bad. The food that I would have are those high in its glycemic index – rice, noodles, pasta, bread, pastries etc.
Why am I not shocked? That I eventually came down with throat infection and sudden onset of fever. And I have every reason to blame that onto my ‘high sugar’ diet that I have been consuming for the past few weeks.
Sugar may not be the answer to why I fell ill, but it could be an important part of the puzzle.
Eating too much sugar suppresses the immune system cells that help to attack bacteria. This effect can last for a few hours after ingesting sugary food. Sugar can also mess up your digestive system and cause many side effects that are harsh and demanding on your body.
Eating any kind of sugar has the potential to reduce your body’s defenses by 75% or more for 4 to 6 hours! (ref link here)
White blood cells, are the cells of the immune system which help to defend your body against viruses and diseases. When bacteria or virus is present in your body, they are ‘absorbed’ by the white blood cells to help prevent you from falling sick. However, for this process to happen, Vitamin C is needed. As Dr. Linus Pauling discovered, Vitamin C taken into your body is absorbed to help the cells work to defend your system. The problem lies in the structure of sugar is very similar to that of Vitamin C. Your body somehow pulls in the sugar in substitute of Vitamin C. When that happens, your immune system weakens.
Sugar has been proven to destroy the fighting ability of white blood cells for up to five hours after ingestion, with its immune function reduced by 75%. This weakens the body’s defence against viruses and illnesses. It also reduces the production of antibodies.
Everyone should be evaluating their sugar consumption. There is sugar found in many ‘sugar-less’ foods as well. These are commonly listed on food labels as “_syrup”, “sweetener”, “_ose” etc. Some of the common examples are :
- Corn syrup
- Corn sweetener
- Malt Syrup etc.
In conclusion, sugar should really be avoided, and even more so when you are sick and require Vitamin C to help your immune system fight its way to recovery. If you want to improve your overall wellbeing, all the more you should be avoiding sugar as much as possible. This page provides a list of other sugar-related ailments for your reading.
Start reversing to a healthy you by looking into your daily sugar consumption now.
And, did I forget to mention, sugar promotes obesity, diabetes and heart-related diseases as well?