By Yaakov Levine, NTP
As we start the New Year, we still have plenty of cold and blustery winter ahead of us. Like many of you, I will start this New Year with resolutions to improve my life. This year, the first things on my list of resolutions are intentions to be healthier, more productive, and to have more fun!
I plan to eat nutrient-dense, high quality local foods, drink plenty of pure water and reduce the amount of sugar in my diet. I will be reading food labels more carefully in an attempt to avoid hidden unhealthy ingredients.
DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE IS A DIRECT CONNECTION BETWEEN WINTER COLDS AND FLUS AND YOUR SUGAR INTAKE?
In her book Lick the Sugar Habit
, Nancy Appleton, PhD. describes studies that show that simple sugar intake reduces our phagocytic index. Simple sugars include fructose, high fructose corn syrup, honey and sugary juices. Phagocytes (a type of white blood cell) are the “Pac-men” of our bodies which gobble up invading bacteria.
In his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma
, Michael Pollan describes in detail the huge increase of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) in our diets.
Pollan states, “Since 1985, an American’s annual consumption of HFCS has increased from 45 to 66 pounds.”
This growth did not replace the sugar already in the diet, because, according to Pollan, our refined sugar intake also increased by five pounds a year during the same period. According to Pollan, we are eating about 160 pounds of sugar annually. There are many of us that consume less, so someone is taking up the slack.
I invite you to read carefully the labels of the foods you eat regularly. There are many ways that sugar in the form of corn syrup is being added to our food.
High fructose corn syrup is in most of the convenience foods we eat. If you go out for a fast food burger you will be getting corn syrup in the soft drink (almost pure HFCS), in the bun, the ketchup, the mayo, and the pickles. Who needs dessert? And just in case there was not enough corn in this meal, the cattle (source of the beef patty) were fed huge amounts of corn in the feedlots prior to slaughter.
Unfortunately, if you are trying to eat healthier and order a fast food salad, the fat-free dressings are loaded with corn syrup. As Pollan laments, there are tons of surplus corn to be used, and high fructose corn syrup is a way to sneak it into all of our prepared foods.
The meat from pasture (grass) raised beef is much healthier, with better quality protein and fats.
This meat is leaner, and contains two to four times the amount of the essential fatty acid Omega 3.
During the winter, the sugar/corn syrup in our diets will inhibit our body’s ability to fight colds and the flu and, in the long run, this addition to our diets can result in what used to be called Adult Onset Diabetes, now renamed Type II Diabetes, because it now shows up in children. Michael Castleman, author of Blended Medicine
, says, “Type 2 diabetes is strongly associated with a lack of exercise and a poor diet — one that’s low in fiber and high in sugar.”
Simply put, in response to high blood sugar levels, your pancreas may try to make extra insulin and the cells in your pancreas that make insulin (called beta cells) begin to wear out, resulting in Type II Diabetes.
So help yourself reach your New Year’s resolutions by reading those labels, checking out the posted ingredient lists at fast food restaurants, and supporting local farmers.