The average person consumes two or three pounds of sugar each week. This sounds like a lot, but is not surprising considering that highly refined sugars in the forms of sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar), and high-fructose corn syrup. All are being processed into so many foods such as bread, breakfast cereal, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and a numerous microwavable meals.
In the last 20 years, sugar consumption in North America has jumped from 26 pounds to 135 pounds of sugar per person, per year. 100 years ago the average consumption was only five pounds per person, per year. This is thought to be why cardiovascular disease, and cancer was virtually unknown at that time.
The glycemic index is a measure of how a given food affects blood-glucose levels, and each food has been assigned a numbered rating. The lower the rating, the slower the absorption and the digestion process, which provides a more gradual, healthier infusion of sugars into the bloodstream. On the other hand, a high rating means that blood-glucose levels are increased quickly, which stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin in order to drop blood-sugar levels in the body. These rapid fluctuations of blood-sugar levels are very unhealthy due to the stress this causes the body.
One of sugar’s major drawbacks of our insulin level being raises is that insulin inhibits the release of growth hormones. This in turn depresses the immune system which is not something we want to happen as avoiding disease is always our goal. Disease prevention is a major step in slowing the aging process as well.
Another negative result related to the sugar induced insulin release is that insulin also promotes the storage of fat. When we consume foods that are high in sugar, we’re making conditions possible for rapid weight gain and elevated triglyceride levels. Both high fat levels and elevated triglycerides in the blood have been linked to cardiovascular disease. Complex carbohydrates tend to be absorbed more slowly, lessening the impact on blood-sugar levels.