Sugar and Disease

Almost all of the chronically ill people that I have ever known ate a lot of sugar. I noticed this when I was a child. I remember the diabetic ladies with the ulcers on their legs setting the cakes out on the dessert table at the dinners at church. As an adult I developed high blood pressure that stayed with me until I started living David’s Way and quit eating sugar. I was taking medication for high blood pressure, insomnia and depression. I take no medication now and don’t have those health problems. For me, sugar is a death wish.

Some people believe that they can eat “a little sugar”. I can’t. My mom seldom had sweets in the home but she did make a cake most weeks on Friday during my early childhood. I looked forward to that cake and ate as much as I could get away with under my mother’s watchful eye. During those years, I was sick almost all Winter with tonsillitis and that tonsillitis almost always worked it’s way down and I had pneumonia twice before the age of six. I had bronchitis every Winter until about the time that my mom decided that mine and my dad’s weight problem did not need cake. When she quit making those cakes, my bronchitis mysteriously disappeared. Although my mom was not overweight, she did eat “a little sugar”. She was plagued with chronic health problems that ranged from rheumatoid arthritis to malignant hypertension and took multiple medications. My dad also ate sugar and he developed chronic cardiovascular disease in his thirties that has remained with him to this day at age 83. Various medications have been necessary for him to sustain life. Both of my grandmothers ate sugar and one was diabetic and both of them had chronic cardiovascular disease and died with heart attacks. They both needed multiple medications. In contrast, one of my grandfathers who quit eating sugar as an adult had no health problems whatsoever and took no medication.

Ingesting too much sugar curbs the immune system cells that attack invading bacteria in your body. (1) When bacteria invade the body and set up an inflammatory response, there is a perfect environment for almost all diseases, including auto-immune disease. (2) The question is how much is “too much”? A study of 29 healthy people found that consuming only 40 grams of added sugar from just one 375 ml. can of soda per day led to an increase in inflammatory markers, insulin resistance and LDL cholesterol. These people tended to gain more weight too. (3) That being said, imagine what the typical day’s menu on the Standard American Diet, (SAD, rightfully named…) must inflict on the human body. A day that begins with sugary cereal or doughnuts followed by a burger and fries with a milkshake at lunch, a candy bar in the afternoon and pizza and brownies for supper can easily pack as much as 200+ grams of added sugars. The destruction caused by day after day of this debauchery is almost impossible to deduce.

More than 80 autoimmune diseases have been identified, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that 23.5 million Americans are affected. The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) estimates that number is closer to 50 million Americans, citing incomplete data contributing to the NIH estimate. Anything that causes chronic inflammation in the body can eventually lead to the development of an autoimmune disease. (4) I recently had the chance to reconnect with an old friend who is undergoing extensive allergy testing to determine the cause of her multiplicity of new health woes. After testing, the doctor refilled her steroids and told her to come back in a year. As long as I’ve known this woman she has been determined to eat sugar, and plenty of it. She is unable to control her weight despite a disciplined exercise routine and consistently monitoring her food intake, but she has made the statement that she cannot resist sugar. I dare to say that she doesn’t want to abandon the sweet stuff and like so many, is determined to find a way to “have her cake and eat it to.” While I understand the attractiveness of a chocolate cake, I do not understand choosing to spend your time and money going from doctor to doctor and living with chronic low self-esteem. It’s all a choice.

Added sugars contribute to inflammation and inflammation is associated with many diseases including but not limited to: (5)

1-Coronary Artery Disease


3-Insulin Resistance


5-Alzheimer’s Disease

6-Psychiatric Disorders-It is also now established that inflammation plays a significant role in psychiatric disorders. (6) Levels of inflammatory cytokines, tiny SOS signals in the brain, are higher in people with mood and psychotic disorders. Those same people are more prone to infection and autoimmune disease. Refined carbohydrates and refined vegetable oils are the two most powerful causative dietary agents for inflammation. Refined carbohydrates include added sugars of all kinds. Refined carbs cause high spikes in blood sugar which causes inflammation by initiating the spill of free radicals from glucose overloading. As the free radicals damage cells, cytokines rush to the area to repair damage. This is inflammation.

Considering this list of diseases caused by inflammation and knowing that sugar contributes to inflammation, are you willing to sacrifice good health for the thrill of a dainty pastry?

I challenge you to quit eating added sugars. What do you have to lose, maybe a few extra pounds, maybe other health problems? What do you have to gain, possibly increased self-esteem, more energy and maybe more money in your pocket if you are able to stay out of the doctors office for a trip or two? The decision is yours alone. Always consult with your physician concerning decisions that affect your health. This is one that he just might be thrilled that you have made.