The average American consumes 150 lbs of sugar per year. That is a good portion of your whole body weight (hopefully) that is being run through your digestive system and straining every capacity of its ability to process and eliminate. The average person who is slightly overweight will burn 5% of this sugar as energy, metabolize 60%, and store a whopping 35% as fat for future reference! Americans now consume 20 times as much sugar as we did in 1700 and the trend continues to grow.
Growing up in a normal American home, particularly in the South, pretty much everyone has what they refer to as a “sweet tooth.” This strange little tooth seems to be extra keen on finding and devouring some sort of pie or cake after any “good” meal. This little wonder tooth can also be held responsible for a late night bowl of ice cream or a candy bar in the afternoon. We even find this amazing force driving us to eat a few donuts or some sort of sugary baked offering even in the morning time. This tooth seems less and less like one of 32 (give or take 4 wisdom teeth) and more like a dominant force that is ruining people’s life one bite or sip at a time!
How is this tooth of great power affecting our bodies? What harm is it to have a little something sweet after dinner? Is it a bunch of hogwash to think that indulging the almighty sweet tooth may actually be affecting your day-to-day quality of life, and even worse, bringing a faster demise to your life? You be the judge! Here some quick facts that may help enlighten you to the answers:
* Sugar can decrease growth hormone (the key to staying youthful and lean)
* Sugar feeds cancer
* Sugar increases cholesterol
* Sugar can weaken eyesight
* Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children
* Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein
* Sugar causes food allergies
* Sugar contributes to diabetes
* Sugar can contribute to eczema in children
* Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease
* Sugar can impair the structure of DNA
* Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children
* Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases)
* Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections)
* Sugar contributes to osteoporosis
As you can see from the few things listed above and particularly the things underlined (which I find completely disturbing) that the little tooth is causing us some major problems that don’t seem very cute at all when examined closely. For years I was in blissful ignorance of any of these facts, and yet, though I was walking through a health crisis myself with facing chronic kidney failure, never had anyone stop and tell me to watch out for sugar and its harmful effects. Matter fact, snacks and candies were a regular staple to be handed out in many dialysis clinics that I frequented!
Many people read the type things that I have listed and hear the type rhetoric I am speaking and immediately want to go out and DO something. In this case, the doing is not really a positive without an UNDERSTANDING! You need to educate yourself on where the big sugar is in your diet. This would be approached just like a debt counselor with paying off high interest debt first. You need to identify where the majority of your sugar intake is found and work with a realistic mindset to systematically eliminate it. The pitfall that many zealous would-be sugar-busters fall into is trying to cut out all sugar at one time and then being too big of a task to handle at one time they resort back to most or more of their original issues. (My suggestion for starting would be to examine what you drink and the type of sweets you use to finish meals.)
This brings us to the final aspect of today and that is, “Where did the sweet tooth come from?” Without being hugely complex and getting way over my head, the fruit of the Garden of Eden was said to be “deliciously good to eat” in one translation. God made our bodies to enjoy sugar but not the refined kind that we pour down our throat every day. Starbucks has never and will never grow on a tree! You want find a chocolate pie growing in an orchard and you certainly won’t see a Krispy Kreme doughnut sprouting from the ground! What you will find is sweet mango, pineapple, cantaloupe, and many delicious varieties of fruit that grow naturally from the earth that God has given us for food. Learn to supplement your desires for something sweet with these healthy alternatives. And IF your going to make a pie or eat a bowl of ice cream then do it with organic fruit as an ingredient or add it on top to give you some good antioxidant power while indulging the mightiest little power of our human appetite, the sweet tooth!
• Gen. 2:9 The LORD God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit.
• Facts on sugar provided by: Nancy Appleton, PhD, clinical nutritionist, from her book Lick the Sugar Habit