Do you love sugar as much as most people do? Who doesn’t? A dessert is a must have, apparently. Whenever we invite people over to our homes, the first thing we ask: What are we going to make for dessert? When we go out to the restaurants, we also like to take a look at the sweets and most likely order one of these “guilty pleasures”, as a waitress once called it.
But is it good to eat sugar? Are there any effects? Or does sugar affect the immune system? These are all questions that we like to omit when thinking about the stuff that we put into our bodies because the sweets are so delicious and we cannot imagine living without them.
Ever since I learned more about the sugar in your body, I have been asking these questions over and over. I have done some research on it and found interesting things about the effects of sugar on the immune system.
A few weeks ago, I was speaking to some friends and
they asked me what I had done to lose so much weight. I promptly answered that I had ditched sugar and flour. And then one of my friends said something that has been sticking in my head ever since. He said something like this: “If I had to cut 100% sugar and flour of my diet, it would be as hard as for somebody to quit smoking or drinking alcohol. It would be as hard as leaving the worst sin.”
That has stuck with me and I had to reflect on this many times. It is so true that sugar has an addictive effect which most of us do not realize. We tend to think that we need a bit of sugar when we are done with an exercise routine, or we need a Coke just after working outside in the heat, or that we need to eat a piece of chocolate after lunch.
Ever since I cut on sugar and flour, people ask me how I feel. And they usually ask if I am not feeling weak. Let me tell you this, you feel better if you leave that stuff completely out of your meal plan.
“If I had to cut 100% sugar and flour of my diet, it would be as hard as for somebody to quit smoking or drinking alcohol.” A strong statement that shows how addictive sugar is.
So, how does sugar affect the immune system? Before I will go into detail to answer that question, let’s take a closer look at what the immune system is.
The Immune System
The immune system is not an organ as the heart or brain is. It is made up of millions of cells that protect the whole body from danger.
Every single second of our lives, we are under attack by viruses, fungus, bacteria, and others that threaten our body. Our immune system is there to protect us from all these. If we did not have an immune system, we would be dead only a few seconds after being born, because there is much that our body is fighting the instant we are born.
There is a wonderful explanation on this video on YouTube that explains the immune system very well.
Our body produces phagocytes, the antibodies that are always around to check for infections or for danger. These cells then envelop the bad bacteria and destroy them with specially produced enzymes. With this step, the pathogens are being stopped from reproducing and spreading disease in the body. Sometimes the bacteria is destroyed, or if it is resistant, the phagocytes neutralize them until the body is able to flush them away.
For example, when a cold is coming, you start to feel tired. Listen to your body, because it is telling you that it is using lots of energy to produce the white blood cells in order to fight the disease. If you do not take the time to rest, you are likely to get sick because the body cannot handle too much stress from the outside and all that is going on in the inside.
Also, if your immune system does not have what it takes to produce the white cells or keep them healthy and happy, not enough antibodies can be produced in the needed time and the disease takes over.
Vitamin C keeps the immune system healthy and that is exactly what you need to give to your immune system so it can feed the antibodies.
Antibodies need at least 50 times the amount of vitamin C to fight intruders than they would normally use when the body is not so much under threat.
But what does this have to do with sugar? Does sugar affect the immune system? You are about to find that out.
Sugar Impact On The Immune System
The interesting thing about sugar is that the body makes it into glucose when you eat it. Now, glucose is similar to vitamin C in its chemical structure.
Whenever your body is fighting an infection, like a cold or the flu, it needs lots and lots of vitamin C in order to be able to fight it off. However, when you do not have enough vitamin C, the immune system looks for anything that can prevent a “crash”. Naturally, it will look for glucose because it thinks that this is vitamin C since it is so similar.
But glucose cannot do anything to prevent diseases or infections, but it will only hinder it from working adequately.
We can affirm that sugar blocks our immune system.
And off we go to be sick for a few days, and sometimes weeks.
It is said that a blood sugar level of 120 reduces the immune system by 75%. And blood sugar levels of 120 are not at all uncommon in people, especially non-diabetic. And worse in people with diabetes. When eating a hefty sweet meal, your blood sugar rises easily up to 130 by only one meal.
It takes very, very long for the body to get rid of the sugar in your body. It is known that it takes up to 6 hours before you get your immune system to work again normally after your blood sugar levels rise.
What does that mean? Exactly what you are thinking: Our body has not finished with one “sugary meal” before it gets another one, and it is not done with that one and we give it yet another one.
Do you get it? This is a vicious cycle that keeps our immune system unable to reach its full potential and do what it is supposed to do.
You might ask if sugar affects the immune system as well if you take vitamin C supplements. I am sure it can aid it in preventing the immune system from going too slow, but sugar still blocks the immune system even if there is enough vitamin C present.
Therefore, eating sugar is not at all good for your immune system. Your system wants to be healthy and protect you from danger, but it cannot do that because of the presence of too much sugar and too little vitamin C.
Drinking lots of orange juice is not the solution to the problem. Yes, orange juice has a good number of vitamin C, but it also has much natural sugar, which ultimately goes into your body when you drink it and your glucose levels are getting up by drinking orange juice.
Then what are we supposed to do if nothing helps? It is simple, your glucose levels cannot rise that high by natural sugars when you eat the whole fruit instead of just juice. The whole fruit, in this case, the orange, is rich in fiber, which is good and helps prevent the high glucose levels in the body.
Instead of drinking a cup of orange juice, eat 2 oranges. That will do your body much more good than drinking the sweet stuff. Besides, store-bought juices are commonly high in sugar, although it says they are 100% natural. Read the ingredients and you will likely find sugar as one of the main ingredients in the list.
And it has to be made clear that the immune blocking is done by all kinds of sugar, be in natural fruit sugar, cane sugars, honey, sweeteners, etc. Stay away from sweets as much as possible.
Although your body needs sugar, it should get it only from natural sugars like in fruit, and again, this should not be in juices, because it is highly concentrated and you miss all the fiber that helps break it down effectively.
(If you want to know how to interpret the ingredients list on any given product, please click here.)
What can we learn from this?
There are a few things that we can take with us from the information that I presented above.
Sugar blocks our immune system every time we eat it. Depending on how much sugar there was in the meal, it can take up to six hours of reducing the immune’s system ability to fight infections and diseases.
If it takes so long until the immune system is able to work again properly, what happens in those long winter months when many of us are suffering from the annoying cold, cough, flu, fever, headaches, and so on? What are we feeding on during the Christmas season? Aren’t we feeding on sugar and sweets like we usually don’t do at other times of the year?
That explains why we can hardly recover from the cold and it comes back shortly after we think it is over. Our immune system is blocked and our body just does not find its way out of this predicament.
We all know that the cold weather brings along lots of things that affect our body. We have all felt the discomfort of it.
Cutting out sugar in your diet might be frightening, but think of the consequences of feeding on sweets.
Let me share my experience with you. In September 2017, I cut sugar and flour out of my diet. I prepare most of my meals at home and only go to restaurants where I can order things that will not have it. Let me make this clear, in the past 5 months I have had a dessert here and there, and have also been drinking a little juice here and there. However, I have stayed “clean” for most of the time, which would roughly be a 95%+ of all the meals that I have had.
During these months I have not had a single cold, as I would always have in the winter months. I have not been sick at all. I feel well and healthy.
I do not promise you a winter free from the flu if you cut out sugar, but I am very sure that my body has been able to fight the infections properly by taking vitamin C supplements (which I have taken for years) and cutting out sugar. You can try the same and see what results you get.
Here is my #1 recommendation for Vitamin C supplements. Raw organic Vitamin C.
Why not give it a try: Cut out sugar and sweets out of your diet, take vitamin C and see what happens to your immune system.
There are so many other reasons to stay away from sugar.
- Sugar causes resistance to insulin, which leads to diabetes.
- Sugar and body inflammation go hand in hand.
- It feeds the carcinogenic cells, enough reason to stay away from it.
- It causes liver disease.
- Not to mention weight problems.
- and many more.
If you found this article informative and helpful, please leave a comment or question below. It is my goal to make people understand the risk of consuming refined sugars and see that as a solution to many health issues that we are facing in our world today.
Wishing you success as you cut our sugars of your meals,