Someone has rightly said that sugar is a slow poison. But is that truth or is a myth sold by the weight-loss industry? Well, you have to be careful when you believe in such things, especially if you have a sweet tooth. We would suggest you read this article carefully instead and believe in the truth and not be dumped into the myths.
Sugar is good for your health, but only in certain amounts. According to the World Health Organization, only 20-25 grams of sugar is recommended for a fit and healthy person. Anything beyond that is not necessary for your body. As a result, you can find fitness freaks, nutritionists, athletes and bodybuilders quitting sugar and consuming only natural foods available in fruits and sweet vegetables.
Now, let us know whether you should be eating sugary foods or drinking sugary beverages or not.
Is Sugar Bad for the Immune System?
Let us answer this question first. If you are consuming sugar of around 5-10 grams a day, then it will not tamper with your immune system at all. But we have hardly seen people who stick to this proportion. If you leave a handful of people, then you find the rest of the world enjoying sweet recipes and flavored drinks.
Examples of sugar-based foods include pastries, cakes and biscuits, candies, aerated drinks, soda drinks, sweets, traditional dishes, and so on. Well, even this list could make you feel tempting, but you do not have to surrender yourself to the taste buds. Instead, you should control your cravings by taking a good quality supplement and some of your instincts and stop eating excess sugar.
This is because sugar is really bad for your immune system if consumed in excess. Sugar might give you the immediate gratification that your blood glucose levels have stabilized, particularly after a hot and tiring day. But when you eat too much sugar to restore the balance, it affects your brain and body functioning and might result in adverse effects such as cavities, obesity, the decline in cognitive functioning and others.
How Sugar Affects your Body and Brain Functioning?
Sugar might not directly affect the immune responses, but it travels through the hormones, metabolic processes and immunologic processes. So, you might feel that it is not directly influencing your immune system overnight but surely has a gradual effect on your immune cells.
Immediate Effects of Sugar on the Immune System:
Refined sugar plays a dominant role in reducing the white blood cells in your body. As a result, it increases the inflammation process, and your capacity to fight infection decreases. You must have seen some people take time to recover from a cold and continue coughing and sneezing for the whole month. This is because they have lesser immunity due to high-sugar consumption. So, their capacity to fight a cold or a cough is less, and hence; they are sick for the major part of their lives.
Long-term effects of sugar:
As we said earlier, the adverse effects of sugar consumption are long-lasting and can be intense in the future. Some of these effects can be enumerated as below:
- Impact on the hormonal balance
Here, we are talking about the vital hormone, insulin and how sugar affects it. As you consume more sugar, your blood sugar spikes up. As the insulin cells in your blood undergo considerable stress, you face difficulty in balancing the sugar levels. This situation is known as insulin resistance, and this complication can damage the immune system.
- Increases sugar cravings
Did you know that sugar is addictive? And yes, this addiction is not simple. Every addiction is the same as smoking and drinking alcohol. But eating sugar leads to more sugar cravings, and wanting for more pastries and candies. So, even if you eat a little more sugar, you will feel like eating more and more, and this behavior damages the immune system.
So, instead of convincing yourself to have a bite of pastry, we would suggest staying far from the same so that you don’t crave and experience jittery feelings.
- Could result in depression and low feelings
Have you noticed that when you feel sad, you feel like having a sugary food, and after eating that, you feel like crap? Sugar consumption affects your brain’s chemicals and releases dopamine which is much temporary. It might give you a feeling of pleasure, but it is not surely the desired reward.
This dopamine does not last long. And so, when you eat sugar, you feel more depressed and lower.
- Could result in stress
Yes, we didn’t know this. We have often associated a piece of cake or an ice-cream to beat stress. One cannot buy happiness, but we can buy chocolates, this is the tagline of the sweet-industries of this day. But sugar affects your mood badly and results in mood swings, stress, mental fatigue and confusion.
As sugar can produce a hormone known as cortisol and results in ‘stress’. All this stress has a bad effect on your immune system and does nothing else. You are not only reducing your bank balance but also your stress levels.
- Results in less nutrient consumption
As you eat excess sugar, you eat less of wholesome foods as you already experience fullness in the stomach. When you eat less fresh and wholesome food, you consume lesser nutrients, and your risk for infections decrease gradually. Also, these sugary foods diminish the nutrients in your body too.
- Leads to Oxidative Stress
It is not just about psychological stress but about oxidative stress. When you consume excess sugar, your defense system undergoes substantial changes, and this condition is called oxidative stress.
This kind of stress is extreme in chronic illnesses. As there are several factors contributing to oxidative stress, but you can monitor your sugar intake to know whether it is a factor or not.
- Weight gain
This is a popular adverse effect advertised by the weight loss industry experts. Research has proven that obesity and immune system are interconnected. So, if you eat more sugar, you gain weight, and it increases the risks for illness.
How to Boost the Immune System by Reducing your sugar intake?
It might sound easy to reduce sugar intake, but you can still be on track by adopting the following smart tips and tricks.
- Instead of finding sugar-free foods inside the grocery store, you can find plenty of options outside. Yes, we are talking about nuts and fresh fruits.
- There is not only sugar, but there is also hidden sugar. So, beware of these hidden sugar packets. You can know the names like sucrose, glucose, fructose, and seek an idea about it.
- There are plenty of processed foods in the market which claim that they are sugar-free and healthy, but you have to be aware of the trap.
- You can switch to home-made sweet options and not pick up from the grocery stores and bakeries. You can put a little effort and make nice and delicious recipes at home and boost your immune system.
- Instead of controlling your sugar cravings by forcing yourself, you can grab a good quality immune-boosting supplement. Pick up something that is free from stimulants and is made from natural ingredients.
- Choose foods that promote a healthy immune system.
Follow a healthy and nutritious diet free from sugar and boost your immune system. If you have strong cravings for sugar, do not feel bad. You can be strict with your cravings without being hard on yourself. So, no matter how sugar is bad, let it not affect our immunity.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5174139/ – What is insulin resistance
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5086373/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23577240 – Hormonal balance and immunity.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1931610/ – Sugar cravings.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15987666, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5532289/ – Sugar and depression.
- https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320929.php https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3946447/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361287/ – Stress, sugar and immunity.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4975866/ – Nutrient intake, sugar and immunity.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697/, https://www.healthline.com/health/oxidative-stress#risk-factors – Oxidative stress and immunity.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2266987/ – Sugar, weight gain and immunity.
- http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/hidden-in-plain-sight/#.W3RoTJNKgWo, http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/hidden-in-plain-sight/#.W3RoTJNKgWo – Names of refined sugars.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27530471 – Foods that improve insulin sensitivity.
Hi, my name is Liam Paul. I am a qualified nutritionist and a health-conscious person. I love to
read books about fitness, health, self-help, and much more. I have seen people consulting
me for weight loss or a specific health issue. But rarely someone came to me saying that
they want to be strong, healthy and build a robust immunity system.
So, I raised awareness regarding the benefits of a strong immune system through
workshops and seminars. This website is also one of the ways through which I can reach the
maximum audience and spread awareness about it. Also, I contribute to this website through
articles, blogs, supplement reviews for your benefits. I hope you find them useful.