Eight Shocking Facts about Sugar

(September 2009)

There is nothing sweet (except the taste) or innocent about sugar! The health impacts of increased sugar consumption go far beyond the risk of cavities or empty calories - sugar has been documented to contribute to or aggravate a variety of health problems from diabetes to cancer.

The facts:


  1. Today's Consumption: The average American consumes 2-3 pounds of refined sugar each week, while at the end of the 19th Century (1887-1890) the average American consumed only 5 pounds per year
  2. A Continued Rise: Over the last 20 years, sugar consumption in the U.S. has increased from 26 pounds to 135 pounds of sugar per person per year.
  3. Hidden Culprits: Bread, peanut butter, alcohol, condiments, sauces, pastries, cereals and granola bars all contain highly refined sugars. Some of these sugars are better known as sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn syrup) and high fructose corn syrup.
  4. Four Harmful Sugars: Four classes of simple sugars (sucrose, fructose, honey and malts) are deemed "harmful" to optimal health when long term consumption is over 15% of carbohydrate calories ingested. Hint: adding more complex carbohydrates (veggies, beans, whole grains) to your diet is a way to keep this number below 15%.
  5. Health Issues: Simple sugars have been documented to contribute to and/or aggravate health problems, including: asthma, mood disorders, mental illness, nervous disorders, diabetes, heart disease, dermatological issues, hypertension, arthritis and cancer.
  6. Impact on Insulin: Sugar raises insulin levels, inhibiting the release of growth hormones which depresses the immune system. An excess of insulin also promotes the storage of fat, so when you eat foods that are high in sugar, you're enabling rapid weight gain and elevated triglyceride levels, both of which have been linked to cardiovascular disease.
  7. Degenerative Disease: Sugar has no real nutritional value (minerals, vitamins and fiber) and as a result, has a deteriorating effect on the endocrine and immune system. In fact, sugar consumption is one of the three major causes of degenerative disease and chronic infections like sinusitis.
  8. Cancer Culprits: Turns out that cancer's food of choice is none other than glucose! Controlling one's blood glucose levels through diet, exercise, supplements, meditation and sometimes medications (when necessary) can be extremely important to a cancer treatment or prevention program.

Schedule an appointment with our Naturopathic practitioner, Michelle Rogers, ND, MS and receive further guidance on how to develop better eating habits and prevent or treat disease with diet and supplements. Call 312-276-1212 or email us at appointments@rabyintegrativemedicine.com.

The focus of integrative medicine is to restore this natural balance through the blending of conventional and ancient healing techniques.