Mon, Jun

The Sugar vs. Vitamin C War

WELLNESS--The sugar industry brings in an estimated 100 billion dollars a year and on average, Americans consume up to 150 pounds of the stuff per person per year. We all know that sugar is not healthy, but what is it about this substance that makes it so darn dangerous? In addition to the negative effects on our blood, brain, and heart, sugar also makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients.   

Vitamin C is a crucial compound protecting our cells, adding to collagen levels for our skin, and keeping us healthy. Dogs and cats are able to synthesize their own vitamin c so there is no need for them to eat vitamin C rich foods. Humans don’t have that ability and we must get our vitamin C from our diet or from supplements. Our cells have receptors that invite certain compounds to gain access. The specific receptor for vitamin C is the same receptor that allows glucose or sugar to enter. Because the cell has a greater affinity for glucose compared to vitamin C, if the sugar levels in the body are elevated due to poor diet, the cells will absorb the sugar disallowing room for the vitamin C to be taken up by our cells. 

In addition to the above, there is a process called phagocytosis, which is the term describing the process of the body is fighting off bacteria and viruses. This process is happening 24 hours a day and without it our immunity would shut down. Studies show that when the blood sugar levels in the body are 120 or higher, the phagocytic cycle can be reduced by up to 75%. This system is crucial in fighting off disease and ailments, and when compromised the body can no longer protect itself against dangerous and possible life threatening disease. 

As far as B vitamins are concerned, sugar plays a vital role in metabolizing these vitamins. B vitamins are important in the process of converting our food into fuel. While sugar doesn’t directly rob the body of B vitamins, too much sugar in the diet and not enough B vitamins make it impossible for the body to absorb and metabolize the sugar. This fact becomes increasingly important for diabetics or anyone fighting with high levels of blood sugar.   

Finally, it’s true that all sugar is not created equally, but if you think that just because you’re eating brown sugar or sugar in the raw instead of white sugar you’re in the clear, you’re sorely mistaken. While it can be argued that sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup is the worst form of sugar, and natural sugars like organic honey is less damaging, it’s important to realize that all sugar causes a spike in blood sugar which in turn commands the body to release insulin. This process, when sugar intake is too high, is very damaging to the body and tells the cells to absorb the sugar and store it as fat. 

The best way to handle sugar is to cut back or completely eliminate added sugars. If one does this they will still get plenty of natural sugars that occur in fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains. Even milk has quite a bit of sugar and there is none added. While the sugar content and the added sugar may seem confusing to people, the FDA finally passed a law requiring labels to specify how much sugar is naturally occurring in the food, and how much is added. This law goes into effect July of 2018.  


(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 310.909.6956 twitter: Cristiano_heals.)