There are many things that require a second opinion in health and wellness but one of the few that do not and I can confidently share my opinion on is SUGAR. Sugar is DEFINITELY not a treat BUT a threat to our very lives.
It does not matter what colour it comes in; brown, white, yellow or green, the value is the same. Some products may sugar-coat its name as sucrose, cane sugar, corn syrup and a host of others. Name-change will not minimize the dangers that this “empty calorie” (no nutrients whatsoever just plain energy) product brings to the table. What about the hidden sources such as tomato paste, bread, alcohol, and other drinks termed as “soft” drinks which are often loaded with sugar?
Maybe when we want to have more energy, sleep better, and avoid mood swings and a host of other health challenges we can start of by reducing our sugar consumption.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has taken the world by storm but we should not lose sight of the lethal pandemics that sugar unleashes on a daily basis for years; The Obesity Pandemic, The Diabetes Pandemic, The Cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) Disease Pandemic and many others.
Carbohydrates do end up as sugar but it’s the type (of carbohydrate) and certainly the added sugar that cause the most havoc and we will spend a few minutes looking at the devastating nature of sugar on our organs.
Sugar tends to give your brain a huge spike in dopamine- a feel good hormone. This pleasurable feeling will cause you to desire more and more sugar to your detriment.
Quite often the terminology used to describe effects of sugar are very similar to that for “hard drugs”. A “sugar high” for instance is that quick burst of energy you get when you eat that biscuit or down that bottle of juice. This high is short-lived as the sugar in your blood drops quickly making you jittery and anxious and is sometimes referred to as the “sugar crash”. A high sugar intake is often linked to a high risk of depression in adults.
50% of my genes come from the Fante coastlands where a sweet tooth is our claim to fame but …..Sugar serves as a terrific medium for bacteria that go to work to cause cavities in our teeth. Now if you overdo this you stand the risk of having to battle with foods that don’t require chewing such as fufu and koko sakora (porridge without bread or anything that you need to bite into). This is time for a gentle reminder to see or at least speak to your dentist before the end of the year – “NO DENTIST. NO CHRISTMAS.”
Sugar does cause inflammation throughout the body and we can minimize joint pain by reducing our sugar consumption. Sugar consumption appears to increase the risk of both gouty and rheumatoid arthritis.
Sugar has that magic wand that may make your skin age faster; bringing on the wrinkles and saggy skin prematurely.
Fructose another fancy name for sugar is broken down in the liver and may damage the liver by building excess fat and in some instances may even cause scarring and eventually cutting off the blood supply to most of the liver. At the extreme one may need a liver transplant to survive and when you live in places similar to where I do, you had better prevent rather than attempt to get a solution through a transplant.
Well insulin is that magic hormone that transports sugar from the blood into cells including the liver and muscle. When we have excess insulin in the bloodstream it causes the walls of blood vessels to grow thicker and stiffer putting additional strain on the heart and opens the doors to heart disease like heart failure, heart attacks and strokes. All these fall under the dreaded cardiovascular disease which is the number 1 killer in the world. These and their counterparts have the unenviable record of taking the lives of about 18 million people every year.
I am certain if I asked you to name the organs that are at risk when we abuse sugar, many of us will leave out the pancreas. This hidden organ is responsible for producing insulin and as we take more and more sugar, the pancreas wears out and breaks down leaving the sugar to overwhelm the body inviting Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease.
Yes our kidneys can fail when we develop uncontrolled Diabetes. The excess sugar will at a point be excreted in our urine, damaging the kidneys and preventing it from doing its work of filtering waste in the blood
YOUR BODY WEIGHT
This does not require any introduction or explanation. Excess sugar will go into muscle, liver or converted into fat and stored in places that not only make dressing up a harrowing experience but in addition it will cause the scale to show numbers that will make you scream while putting your health at risk.
YOUR SEXUAL HEALTH
Well if excess sugar affects the arteries then it can impact on circulation. Sugar has a way of bringing nerves to their knees and definitely the effect on mood is nothing exciting in the long-term. These evil triad may end up making getting and keeping an erection a luxury and the dreaded word impotence may not be far off.
Hopefully if a Fante has decided to cut back on sugar then I am certain most others can too. Let us make healthy choices; more whole fruits instead of juice or beer, water instead of grabbing biscuit at the least “sign” of hunger, read labels and watch out for “sugar-coated” descriptions. Avoid huge bowls of fruit salad at night when you are settling down to sleep. Cut down refined carbohydrates such as white rice and sugar or butter bread and do remember to spend appreciable time exercising and together we can tackle these pandemics inspired by sugar.
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, ENSURE HYGIENE, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Health Essentials Ltd/ St Andrews Clinic/Mobissel
Dr. Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy, fitness nutrition and corrective exercise.
Thought for the week –“STIGMATIZATION has no place in fighting this pandemic. It will cause people to hide and not disclose their status, seek medical care late and reduce all the benefits of protocols. We should all be comfortable enough to tell our close contacts when we test positive for COVID-19 so that the proper measures are taken. This is extremely important if we have to win this fight.”- Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
1. How does too much sugar affect your body? – WebMD