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sugar consumption and systemic inflammation


Sugar Inflammation

Sage Ross

“Inflammation is the new medical buzzword. It seems as though everyone is talking about it, especially the fact that inflammation appears to play a role in many chronic diseases.  Consider the vast array of autoimmune disorders — such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and polymyalgia rheumatica — where the body’s immune system mistakenly initiates an inflammatory response even though there’s no apparent inflammation to fight off. Chronic inflammation plays a more obvious role in diseases such as asthma and the inflammatory bowel diseases ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Even less obvious — but of enormous interest to researchers — is the part inflammation plays in cancer.”  Cherry picked from the Mayo Clinic Health Letter (Buzzed on Inflammation) by Dr. Brent Bauer, of their Editorial Board

“One of the biggest offenders of inflammation is ingestion of sugar. By sugar I mean table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, turbinado sugar, honey (even raw), maple sugar, corn sweetener, dextrose, glucose, fructose and any other word that ends in an “ose”, barley malt, rice syrup, liquid cane sugar, concentrated fruit juice and others. Don’t be fooled by the name organic when it applies to sugar. Sugar is sugar, organic or not.”  Dr. Nancy Appleton from an article called The Relationship between Sugar and Inflammation.

“What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them)….”  Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Dr. Dwight Lundell from his article, Heart Surgeon Speaks Out on what Really Causes Heart Disease.

The reality is that Dr. Bauer, in the quote from the top, is just getting started.   In similar fashion to physic’s “Unified Field” theory, Inflammation is being touted as the source behind almost every chronic health problem and disease you can name.  Probably why INCREASED BLOOD SUGAR is also being touted for the very same thing.  This news should come as no surprise once you begin to understand the link between sugar and Inflammation. 

The problem is, virtually no one truly understands Inflammation.  Oh, they certainly think they understand Inflammation.  But as far as really grasping the severe, debilitating, and deadly consequences of having inflammatory markers coursing through your blood stream. 24/7/365….  Nope.  Unfortunately, far too many people think of Inflammation in terms of “Local” Inflammation — redness, swelling, heat, and tenderness.  While this is certainly true when talking about that ankle you rolled over while playing basketball in the driveway with your son last evening, it is as far as the east is from the west when discussing “Systemic” Inflammation — Inflammation that has essentially taken over every nook and cranny of your body.

“Inflammation” is the collective name we give a group of Immune System chemicals which are used by cells to communicate with each other.  Although for the most part, these chemical compounds are vital and necessary for good health and the healing process, too much of any of them can cause problems — serious problems.  When these Inflammatory messenger compounds are released into the blood stream, the body sends white blood cells and other Immune System cells to attack and destroy the source of the Inflammation.  There is usually collateral damage as the body ends up damaging its own tissues in its response.  One of the hallmarks of this damage is that the body will often replace normal healthy tissue with fibrous connective tissue (can anyone say “SCAR TISSUE“?).  The tissues that tend to be damaged the most in this process are those with the least ability to regenerate (heart, nerve, and muscle tissue are probably the ‘Big Three’). 

Some of the chemical compounds that you will see associated with Inflammation include, kinnins, substance P, histamines, thrombin, plasmin, cytokines (this one is huge), chemokines, IFN, TNF, IL (Interleukins), Ig, leukotrienes, prostaglandins, eiconsanoids, etc, etc, etc.  Not only are there dozens of others, but new ones are being discovered and added to the list on a regular basis.

As levels of Inflammation continue to rise, your potential for serious health problems goes up as well.   Inflammation is not only at the heart of the most heavy-hitter health problems of the westernized world (HEART DISEASE, DIABETES, and even CANCER), but things like OBESITY and most AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES (HERE’S a list) are also considered to be “Inflammatory” as well (HERE and HERE are more complete lists).   In other words, if you fail to understand what Inflammation is really all about, and how to deal with it properly (HERE), you will never get to the root of your ill health.  And all the medical intervention on the planet will only prolong a debilitated and painful life (HERE).


America could literally be called the “Inflammation Nation”.  As a nation, we are possibly the unhealthiest people in the history of the planet (although the rest of the developed world is catching up rapidly).  This despite spending inordinate amounts of money on healthcare.  Much of this has to do with the fact that far too many of us are living THE HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE.  This is a huge problem because sugar and / or high glycemic index carbohydrates are extremely Inflammatory in and of themselves.  With the average American — man, woman, and child — consuming a whopping 3.5 pounds of sugar a week, it’s easy to visualize how this particular pathway leads to Systemic Inflammation.  And remember this; for every person who is consuming less sugar than the national average, someone else is consuming that much more).  Enter Nancy Appleton.

Dr. Nancy Appleton has been writing books, lecturing, and doing research on the role of sugar’s relationship to ill health since the mid 1970’s.  I keep a copy of her “141 REASONS SUGAR RUINS YOUR HEALTH” in my lobby.  This very short article gives you very specific ways that sugar destroys your health — then backs each reason up with peer-reviewed scientific research.  She does a great job of explaining why as little as “two teaspoons” can set off problems in your body.  Dr. Appleton goes on to explain that just a little bit of sugar has the ability to dramatically alter your body’s normal ratio of minerals.

Because one of the chief purposes of minerals is to act as catalysts for the chemical reactions taking place in your body, mineral imbalances will alter the way these reactions take place, leading to ill health, pain, lack of energy, inability to heal properly, etc, etc, etc.  One of the chief chemical reactions that is affected by sugar is digestion.  When the body is not digesting proteins properly, “this protein gets into the blood stream as partially digested protein, or polypeptides“.  Your body sees these ‘too large‘ protein molecules as foreign invaders and begins mounting Immune System responses against them in the form of antibodies and Inflammation.  When this this happens with Wheat Protein (GLUTEN) — something that is extremely common today — the result is not only Gluten Sensitivity, but a wide array of Autoimmune Diseases (HERE is some of what we know about this process).  This is called LEAKY GUT SYNDROME (the medical community will refer to it as “Increased Intestinal Permeability”).  The end result is even more Inflammation.  And, “depending on where this partially digested protein goes in the body, the inflammation can set in any organ or tissue“. 

As you might guess, the more sugar we consume, the more our Immune System is affected.  You can now start to see why practically every disease process you can name is being tied back to UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR.  This sugar drives a wide array of inflammatory processes in your body.  And as I have already shown you from previous links, this Inflammation causes pathological alterations in your physiology (body function).  Alter your body’s ability to function at the cellular level and you have chronic sickness and disease.  By the way, one of the reasons that so many people still have Diabetes even though they have lost a ton of weight and cut back their sugar / starch consumption to near zero, is because there are hidden sources of Inflammation they have yet to be dealt with.

Inflammation is only one of the many ways that sugar can affect you, but it is a biggie.   Once you have studied this post and learned what Inflammation is and what drives it, it is now time to start controlling it.  While the medical community is interested in accomplishing this via a wide range of drugs and medications (ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES and CORTICOSTEROIDS are two of the more common), these present their own unique sets of problems.  This is mostly due to the fact that no matter how many of these drugs you take, you are not changing your physiology, but rather covering the most overt symptoms.  Fail to address the root issue (HERE), and sooner or later you end up in an early grave.  To learn more about getting healthy and staying that way, HERE are a number of posts I have written on the topic.


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