If you have a health problem that concerns you, chances are you have a carbohydrate intolerance. Sound too simplistic? Trust me, it’s not. Carbohydrate intolerance causes more chronic disease than than anything else in America.
You see, carbohydrates are just another name for sugar. All carbohydrates in the body immediately turn into sugar. This article will describe the effect carbohydrates and sugar have on the body.
The World’s Most Common Addiction
Without a doubt, we as a nation are addicted to sugar. The average American consumes somewhere between 150 – 180 pounds of sugar per year. Sugar is everywhere in our culture and very hard to avoid. Many of us don’t realize how many things turn into sugar. All carbohydrates turn into sugar. Fruits and vegetables even have varying degrees of carbohydrates in them, and therefore varying degrees of sugar.
The reason we are so addicted to sugar is because it’s easy fuel for the body and brain.
All energy in the body comes from either fat or sugar. Healthy people are getting most of the energy in their bodies from fat; unhealthy people are getting most of their energy from sugar.
When given a choice, most of us prefer sugar because it’s fast, easy and tastes good. To understand this issue you must have a small working knowledge of the chemistry of sugar. As Sir Francis Bacon once said, “Knowledge is power,” so get ready from some power!
Carbohydrates = Sugar
We all know high-carbohydrate items like bread, pasta, potatoes, corn and alcohol. But many of us don’t realize that even things like broccoli and asparagus contain some carbohydrates.
All carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (SUGAR). If blood glucose levels vary even a little bit you feel terrible: too high and you’re hyper in the early stages, diabetic in the late; too low and you feel a little slow in the early stages and pass out in the late.
The body has a delicate mechanism for keeping glucose levels stable. Our bodies are unable to process more than 100 grams of sugar per day without stressing organs, and our pancreas and adrenals work hard to keep this system in balance. The problem is when we consume too much glucose, our body has to work very hard to try to control it. When we consume sugar/carbodydrates the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin. Insulin pushes the sugar into the cells. This takes a great deal of energy and is stressful to the body.
When we consume too much sugar, the pancreas panics and often produces too much insulin, overshooting the glucose in the blood. Too much insulin drops our blood sugar and we feel weak and get brain fog. When most people feel the symptoms of low blood sugar, they eat more sugar to bring them back up again. This constant yo-yo of sugar and insulin stresses the body to the max. The body can only keep the game going for so long before the pancreas is too tired to produce insulin and the blood sugar starts to rise – this is diabetes.
The real problem comes when you give the body easy energy all the time so that it never really has to work. It’s like giving your teenage kid a lot of money – kind of takes their motivation away to work for it. After a very short time your body is deriving most of its energy from sugar. Then like a spoiled child it wants more and more. You start craving it. Once you get a little, you just want more. The spoiled child is never satisfied.
The Side Effects of Sugar
Sugar has lots of side effects. First and most obvious is that sugar turns directly into fat (because of the high insulin levels). Your body is not going to throw away good energy, so it converts it to fat as storage for a later date when you might not have enough glucose. For most of us, that day never comes.
When sugar is present and insulin is high the body never burns fat for energy. Burning fat is difficult and requires work and a hormone called glucagon. When insulin is high, glucagon is low. Glucagon has the opposite effect of insulin and is required to burn fat and lose weight. Dr. Atkins had this figured out. He knew that to get people to lose weight they had to have high glucagon levels. The only way to accomplish this is to massively limit carbohydrate consumption. Once you spoil your body with lots of sugar it is too spoiled to want to burn fat. So you just keep accumulating fat while consuming sugar.
Many people feel that sugar and carbohydrates like grains are an essential part of our diet. This is NOT true. There are no physiological needs for grains. Any glucose required can come in the form of fruits and vegetables.
Eating refined sugar and carbohydrates has many side effects, including:
- Acidifies the blood, which causes mineral and enzyme deficiencies
- Destroys the good bacteria in the gut, making us fat
- Creates free radical damage, which raises cholesterol
- Promotes candida and bad bacteria in the body
- Causes your body to run off sugar instead of fat
- Stesses your organs
Sugar is an anti-nutrient. Let’s talk a little bit about this.
Sugar is an Anti-Nutrient
First of all, most refined carbohydrates contain no minerals, enzymes or nutrients. This makes them ANTI-nutrient. Since carbohydrates require nutrients, enzymes and minerals to digest, they have to come from somewhere, meaning that you are losing them every time you consume refined carbohydrates.
If you put a glass of Coke or Pepsi into 10 gallons of water, the pH will drop from 7.8 to 4.6 immediately. The human body contains 4-5 liters of blood and our blood must maintain a pH of 7.2. A couple of points in either direction and you die. So how does Coke not kill us immediately? Because of calcium and other minerals like chromium. Calcium is alkaline and buffers the effects of sugar. Your body will happily give up calcium and chrominum to buffer sugar. Minerals are essential for cellular function, relaxation, brain chemistry and bone health, and we deplete them when we consume refined carbohydrates and sugar.
What this means is:
Lots of sugar = acidic blood = loss of nutrients, minerals, and enzymes = osteoperosis and sickness
The Coke drinkers and sugar eaters of today WILL be the osteoperotics of tomorrow.
Excess sugar in the blood also creates free radicals. Free radicals are like criminals in a society – they only hurt. They destroy cells, arteries, and almost anything they encounter. Basically they are complete downers. Our only major protectors against free radicals are antioxidants and cholesterol. If there are not enough antioxidants around, which block free radicals, then cholesterol has to step in like the police in our body. High cholesterol is never the actual problem, just a signal of another problem. Blocking cholesterol or avoiding eating cholesterol is like stopping the police in downtown Detroit. When cholesterol is high for a long time it can turn to plaque, which is why some doctors want to block it. Blocking the police from doing their job causes all sorts of other problems including cancer, lack of brain function and hormonal dysfunction.
Sugar = Free radical damage = High cholesterol = Plaque = Heart attack or stroke
Inevitably not all the sugar can be digested or pushed into the cells and has to be removed from the body. When the sugar reaches the colon it destroys the good bacteria. We should have 7-8 pounds of good bacteria in our colons (i.e. around 100 trillion bacteria). What sugar does in the colon is feeds bad bacteria like candida.
Having too much carbs/sugar in your diet will force your body to get its energy from sugar instead of fat. This makes you have consistent ups and downs, which raise insulin. High insulin creates excess fat and raises cholesterol. Then you have to give up your stores of nutrients, minerals and fat to digest it. This causes osteoperosis, inflammation and degeneration in your body. The rest of the sugar destroys good bacteria, increases bad bacteria and turns your body into a spoiled brat.
3 Phases of Sugar Fatigue
Phase I (Early Carbohydrate Intolerance)
- Low energy (especially after meals with the noon meal being the worst)
- Increased fat around the midsection of the body
- Blood sugar instablilities (feeling irritable and tired more frequently)
- Bloating (finding yourself passing gas and or belching more frequently)
- Poor sleep (especially waking up between 1-4 in the morning)
Phase II (Moderate Carbohydrate Intolerance)
- More severe hormonal imbalances – infertility, menstrual irregularities
- Mental fog
- Increasingly poor energy (feeling tired all the time with early afternoon being the most difficult)
- Increased weight
- Increased insulin levels
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased cholesterol
- Increasingly poor digestion (often people start having problems with heartburn, gallbladder pain and constipation)
Phase III (Late Phase Carbohydrate Intolerance)
- Heart disease
It is important to recognize if you have any of the above symptoms, and to rate which phase of sugar fatigue you are in. Performing a 21-day carbohydrate intolerance test is necessary to break the sugar addiction and determine how many of your current symptoms are coming from carbohydrate intolerance.