You are not helpless in your fight against inflammation! Your diet plays a significant role in activating or suppressing proteins known as cytokines, that cause inflammation. All it takes is a couple of teaspoons of sugar a day for the inflammation levels in our body to increase significantly. When you consider current sugar consumption trends- South American countries consume over 51 kg of sugar per person per year, Oceania and Canada are not far behind at nearly 48 kg of sugar per person per year, Europe comes in at about 38.5 kg of sugar per person per year, the United States slightly higher at about 40 kg of sugar per person per year, and even Asian and African countries consume 18 kg and 15 kg of sugar per person per year respectively- it is not too misleading to say that a large portion of the world’s population is suffering from unnecessary inflammation and health problems because of sugar.
Inflammation is a warning sign that something is wrong. When inflammation is visible, we tend to do something about it. But what about when we are not able to see it and it is happening inside of us?
Inflammation, in short, makes us sick and in some cases even cause death. It speeds up degeneration in the body and can lead to a variety of diseases. Sugar does not contain any essential nutrients, and it disrupts the body’s chemistry by changing the structure of enzymes. As a result, the immune system is weakened, and inflammation occurs.
There are many different symptoms of inflammation and disease in the body. Depending on the severity of inflammation, typical symptoms include pain, redness, swelling, and heat. Some people might feel stiffness, others get headaches and migraines, others experience sluggishness. Most often people are not even aware of the symptoms. They only take notice when major problems develop. Even then, most diseases would not be immediately linked to high sugar levels. The chronic inflammation caused by excess sugar consumption would appear to play a role in the development of heart disease, cancer, stroke, high blood pressure and many other significant health conditions.
Sugar comes in many different forms and can be consumed easily, especially within the American diet. Reading labels when purchasing food products is therefore very important. It is best to completely stay away from products containing artificial sugars and high fructose corn syrup as well as products containing any other added sugars. A good non-toxic substitute for sugar is the nutritional supplement stevia. Millions of people have used stevia without reported side effects. In Japan, products sweetened with stevia represent 41% of the market share of sweet substances consumed. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Japan is rated one of the top ten healthiest countries in the world.
So the next time you have the urge to satisfy your “sweet tooth”, remember the effects sugar can have on the body and consider the healthier alternatives.