Here are some great things to know to help you live a longer and healthier life. Dr. Ellen got this information from a very informative seminar called “Prolonging The Health Span” taught by Dr. Dan Murphy. You can take action to improve your health by knowing about how the sugar that you eat can affect you.
What Happens When You Eat Sugar?
- You get sick easier
Sugar suppresses your immune system by attaching itself to proteins in your blood stream. When your body finds a sugar attached to a protein it makes antibodies to it. This decreases the amount of antibodies available to fight germs.
- You look and feel older sooner
This process of a sugar attaching to your protein increases free radicals in your body by 50%. The chemical reaction called free radical damage ultimately causes anything you think of as aging. Wrinkled skin, white hair, stiff joints and muscles, etc. all due to free radicals. It has been found that this amount of damage is the same as if you were smoking.
- Your whole body does not work as well
When sugar attaches to a protein, that protein no longer works the way it should. Your DNA in your cells make your protein. It is important that your body’s proteins work the way they should because:
Your body uses protein for:
- Neurotransmitters (brain chemicals)
- Hormones (thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormones are examples)
- Enzymes (that your body uses to run all of its processes like digestion and making energy and detoxifying you)
What About Fruit?
Surprisingly fruit is the worst culprit because the sugar in fruits called fructose is the worst sugar for hooking to proteins.
Fructose attaches to proteins 20 to 30 times more than table sugar.
Fruit juice contains much more fruit sugar than you would eat in a day by 30%.
A whole fruit partially protects you with its fiber and vitamin C.
Juicing the fruit removes the fiber and lessens the vitamin C and this makes fruit juice more dangerous to your health than soda. But soda is still plenty bad.
Watch Out for the “Hidden” Sugars
Today the number 1 source of dietary calories in America comes from high fructose corn syrup. The food industry uses high fructose corn syrup (recently re-named to fructose) more than any other sweetener because it is cheap to produce, transport and store.
When sugar attaches to proteins it is called Advanced Glycation End products or AGE’s. They damage the proteins in your diet and in your body.
Food manufacturers have actually added AGEs to food, especially in the last 50 years, for browning, flavor enhancement and to improve the appearance of the food regardless of it’s affect on your health. Mostly these sugars are in the form of high fructose corn syrup.
Foods with significant browning, or carmelization are exceptionally high in these pro-inflammatory and disease initiating compounds. They can be found in many products including donuts, barbecued meats, cake and dark colored sodas.
What is the result of sugar damage?
AGEs are implicated in many age-related diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, peripheral neuropathy, and other senory losses such as deafness (due to the loss of the insulating coverings around the nerves).
These diseases occur as a result of AGEs interfering with several basic functions in your body. For instance red blood cells pick up AGEs when they attach to the proteins in your hemoglobin. The hemoglobin in your red blood cells can be used for measuring how much sugar has affected your proteins. The test called the “Hb-A1c” blood test also tests for diabetes.
Long-lived cells (nerves, brain cell, cornea, beta cells of the pancreas) and DNA may accumulate substantial damage over time.
Damage by sugar attaching to proteins also results in stiffening of the collagen in blood vessel walls leading to high blood pressure, especially in diabetes.
Sugar attaching to proteins also cause weakening of the blood vessel walls, which may lead to aneurisms and strokes.
“Aging is now being understood by people researching longevity as essentially a gradual process of sugar attaching to proteins in all tissues, including the brain.”
Keep Healthy By Keeping Your Insulin Levels Under Control
“The more we avoid rapid rises in our blood sugar levels, the slower the aging process occurs and the longer and healthier we live – and the more gracefully we age.
“Body fat cannot be burned as long as insulin is present.”
Insulin is released by your pancreas whenever you eat carbohydrates. Sugars are a form of carbohydrate. Insulin tells your body to store carbohydrates as fat.
“How much insulin we produce over the course of our lives controls how long we live! And it turns out, the less insulin we need, the better.”
One single longevity marker stands out among all long-lived animals and people above the rest, and that’s low insulin levels.
What Are Your Action Steps to Stay Healthy?:
- Eat whole fruit sparingly, stop drinking fruit juices, and make sure your vegetables are not starchy like potatoes and corn. Limit eating pasta and grains.
- Avoid eating simple sugars (candy and sugary baked goods)
- Avoid all sodas, including diet-sodas. Use green tea or chamomile tea instead or aspartame-free flavored seltzer waters
- Read all your labels and do not buy foods with high fructose corn syrup or fructose or corn syrup in them
- Avoid foods like yogurts that have added high fructose corn syrup. Again, be sure to read your labels.
- Eat foods high in omega 3 fatty acids (which counter-act the inflammation of AGE’s free radicals). Wild caught salmon and fishy fish are high in omega 3 fatty acids. Or, take a high quality Omega-3 fish oil supplement.
- Take a daily multiple vitamin high in anti-oxidant vitamins: vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Additionally, selenium, a trace mineral is also important.
- Exercise regularly to burn calories and lessen the need for insulin output
- Eat some protein with each meal to keep from spiking your insulin with a carbohydrate only snack or meal. Proteins are in meat, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, eggs and dairy products.
This information was based on excerpts from the book, “Primal Body, Primal Mind, Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life”, by Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT.