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Lick The Sugar Habit: 20 Ways Sugar Harms Your Health

May 7, 2008
Because most people love the taste of sugary foods, it is tempting to ignore the health consequences from chronic use of refined sugar. In fact, regular consumption of the refined sweetener can cause serious damage to your body. While weaning yourself off of a sugar addiction can be challenging, it is important to comprehend the dangers of continued sugar consumption versus the health benefits of switching to a natural sugar substitute.

20 Reasons to Avoid Refined Sugar

1. Addiction: Sugar is addictive; it can be intoxicating similar to alcohol and can contribute to alcoholism.

2. Weight gain and eating disorders: Eating excessive amounts of sugar leads to weight gain and other illnesses associated with obesity. Because sugar is addictive, consuming it causes sugar cravings and binge eating.

3. Dental problems: Sugar causes tooth and gum decay and can cause your saliva to turn acidic.

4. Tired and achy muscles: Eating sugar can make you feel weak and tired; it zaps your energy.

5. Hypoglycemia: Sugar increases fasting glucose levels and can cause reactive hypoglycemia.

6. Blood vessel damage: Sugar compromises the lining of your capillaries and also contributes to varicose veins.

7. Depression and irritability: Sugary snacks get you through your afternoon slump, but in the end you feel worse than before you ate them. Too much sugar makes you feel irritable and depressed.

8. Heart problems: Excess sugar has been linked to atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.

9. Kidney and liver problems: Excess sugar can be damaging to your kidney and liver; it increases the size of both organs and causes kidney stones.

10. Sleep disorders: Eating too many refined sugars disturbs the normal sleep cycle.

11. Cancer: Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been linked with the development of many cancers including breast, ovarian, prostate, rectal, pancreatic, lung, gallbladder, and stomach.

12. Aging: Sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and can lead to premature aging of the skin.

13. Diabetes: Sugar leads to a decrease in your insulin sensitivity causing high insulin levels and diabetes.

14. Candida: Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of candida albicans (yeast infection).

15. Immune suppression: Sugar can suppress your immune system and impair your defenses against infectious disease.

16. Attention and Hyperactivity Disorders: Sugar can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children. Sugar reduces learning capacity, adversely affects children's grades in school, and can exacerbate learning and behavioral disorders.

17. Eyesight: Sugar weakens eyesight; it leads to cataracts and nearsightedness.

18. Autoimmune disease: Sugar aggravates autoimmune conditions such as arthritis, asthma, and multiple sclerosis.

19. Gastrointestinal disorders: Sugar is associated with an acidic digestive tract, heartburn, indigestion, ulcers, malabsorption, candida overgrowth, food allergies, and an increased risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

20. Mineral absorption: Sugar interferes with calcium and magnesium absorption, contributing to osteoporosis. Sugar also causes chromium and copper deficiencies.

Natural Sugar Alternatives

Natural sugar alternatives allow you to enjoy the sweet taste of sugar without the damaging effects on your body. Stevia and Agave are two natural sweeteners that are gaining a lot of attention. Stevia, an herb, is a chemical-free sugar alternative with zero calories. It is especially useful for people with hypoglycemia because it stabilizes blood sugar in the body. It also lowers blood pressure and protects your teeth and gums.

Agave contains the same amount of calories as sugar, but it is a natural product - unrefined fructose - derived from the Mexican Agave plant. It is safe for diabetics to consume, it lowers cholesterol, and it is great for cooking.

Using natural sugar alternatives can be just the thing you need to lick the sugar habit. Giving up sugar does not mean you have to give up taste. With the availability of natural sweeteners, it is possible to satisfy your sweet tooth without harming your health.
About the Author
For more health tips and published research with vertigo, migraine, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's disease patients by Dr. Erin Elster, D.C., upper cervical chiropractor, in Boulder, Colorado, visit her website www.erinelster.com.
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