Our Educational Content is Not Meant or Intended for Medical Advice or Treatment
You may already know this, but you really need to avoid sugar if you're sick. It may be tempting to load up on your go-to comfort foods when you're sick. But, while eating ice cream when you have a sore throat may feel nice, it's really doing a lot more harm than good.
Even though you may know that you should avoid sugar when you're sick—do you? Do you think, "eh, what's the real harm" and go for it anyway? Well, I'm going to share with you exactly what the real harm is.
I also want to answer another question that may pop in your head, "Okay, maybe I should avoid sugar when I'm sick. But, should I also avoid it even when I'm not under the weather?"
Let's get right into it.
In this article:
- Why Should You Stay Away from Sugar When Sick?
- Should You Stay Away from Sugar When Not Sick?
- How To Avoid Too Much Sugar Intake?
- Main Take Away
Why Should You Stay Away from Sugar When Sick?
The more sugar that you consume when you're sick, the longer you stay sick.
Why is this?
In each cell, you have tiny receptors for insulin. These receptors are quite fittingly called "insulin receptors." Insulin receptors allow glucose or sugar to go into the cell. But, they also have another important job. They control the vitamin C that goes into the cell.
Sugar competes with vitamin C in the body. Unfortunately, in most cases, glucose wins. This is because, given a choice, the body will accept the glucose and not vitamin C.
High blood sugar equals low vitamin C.
You need to get plenty of vitamin C if you're sick. You've probably already heard this advice from someone every time you've been sick in the past.
Well, it's true.
Vitamin C is essential when you're sick. It's necessary for the immune system, as well as a certain cell called the phagocyte. The phagocyte acts like a garbage disposal. It cleans up bacteria and cellular pathogens.
Let's say you have a fasting blood sugar of 120. It's possible that the sugar in your blood can drop your phagocytes by 75%. Essentially, the sugar neutralizes your immune system.
White Blood Cell
Sugar has been known to increase inflammation in the body, and reduce the ability of white blood cells to function effectively.
White blood cells are your immune system's main defense. The thing about white blood cells is that they have more insulin receptors than any other cell. They also have 20x more vitamin C than any other cell.
We need vitamin C for white blood cells, but we definitely don't need sugar.
Should You Stay Away from Sugar When not Sick?
Simply put, sugar is dangerous. These sweet empty calories are one of the worst things you can put into your body. Most people are consuming way too much sugar in their diet, and they may not even know it.
For example, the recommended added sugar intake for women is about 45 grams a day and 50 grams a day for men. However, the average American actually consumes a whopping 82 grams of added sugar a day.
You may think this couldn't possibly apply to you. You're healthy. You don't down soda or eat sleeves of cookies at a time. The truth is, sugar is lurking everywhere. If you're not on a low-carb ketogenic diet, you're still consuming too much sugar. Carbohydrates turn to sugar in the body, and this sugar is toxic. Even most fruits should be avoided because of their sugar content.
There are also many different forms of sugar, like high-fructose corn syrup, that hide out in processed foods. Always check your labels and ingredients for added sugar.
The bottom line. You should definitely avoid sugar when you're sick, and when you're not sick.
Side effects of consuming too much sugar
I could go on and on about the negative effects sugar has on the body. Sugar has no nutrition, which actually causes you to want more and more of it. Not only does it not have nutrition, but it also depletes certain essential nutrients like potassium and B vitamins.
If you're struggling to lose weight, and you're still consuming a high-carb diet and/or sugar, that could be why. Let's say you're doing everything else right with your diet, and you're getting plenty of exercise. Just a little bit of sugar can mess all of that up. Sugar basically blocks all of the good you do.
So many people are caught up in how many calories their consuming rather than how much added sugar they're consuming. The crazy thing is that the insulin effect from added sugar is so dominating, counting calories is a joke.
If you're trying to lose weight, and you're craving sugar, you're not burning fat. You're actually burning sugar, and then you eat more sugar, and it turns into a cycle. Instead of wasting your time counting calories, why not just get on a better diet like the ketogenic diet, and consume more high-nutrient foods. When you're in true fat-burning, you don't crave sugar.
It goes beyond weight gain though. Too much sugar can potentially cause serious health conditions that affect your:
A few symptoms that are warning signs you're consuming too much added sugar are:
- Craving sweets
- Brain fog
Benefits of avoiding sugar
Just like the negative effects sugar has on the body, I could also go on and on about the positive effects of avoiding sugar. I'll try to keep this short though.
Besides finally seeing a difference with your weight, or avoiding the devastating illnesses listed above, what would happen if you cut out sugar and carbohydrates for just two weeks?
Well, you would:
- Lose your appetite for sugar
- Be less hungry
- Be less fatigued
- Lose excess water and fat
- Have an enhanced mood
- Have healthier-looking skin
- Be less stiff
How to avoid too Much Sugar Intake?
You probably understand now that you should avoid sugar at all costs, especially when you're sick. But, understanding something and actually applying the knowledge can be really challenging.
After all, sugar can be addictive. It tastes good, and it's hiding everywhere. It may almost seem impossible to cut it out for good. But, it is possible to avoid too much sugar intake. Once you're able to make this change, I think you'll see that the benefits are worth it.
But how do you do it?
Sugary foods to avoid
Of course, you probably know to stay away from candy and soda. But, there may be some foods that you don't even realize contain loads of sugar.
Carbohydrates and fruit are great examples of this. Sugar can also be found in many prepackaged or processed foods. Snack bars and other prepackaged foods claiming to be "healthy" or even "keto-friendly" sometimes contain added sugar.
Sugar can go by many different names like dextrose or maltodextrin. Always remember to check the labels and ingredient lists for these added sugars. High-fructose corn syrup is another big one to watch out for.
Also, be sure to keep in mind that just because something is organic or claims to be healthy, that doesn't mean it's actually good for you. Check the labels on everything.
High-quality organic whole foods are often the best option. Prepackaged organic snacks can still contain things like agave nectar, coconut syrup, and brown rice syrup. These are all still different types of sugar that will create a similar effect on your body.
8 quick tips to avoid sugar
- Consume a low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet (healthy keto).
- Get to know the other names for sugar and be sure to check your labels for them.
- Avoid fruit (berries are a better choice).
- Avoid high-carb or starchy vegetables.
- Choose high-quality organic whole foods.
- Take advantage of natural sweeteners instead of sugar (xylitol is one of my favorite natural sweeteners).
- Try the natural herb Gymnema to help stop sugar cravings.
- Get more potassium.
Your Main Take Away
Sugar is toxic. You should most definitely avoid sugar when you're sick. Sugar can cause you to stay sick for longer and can cause your body not to take advantage of certain vitamins that you need when you're sick.
Even when you're not sick, sugar is still damaging to your body—possibly without you even realizing it. Once you stop consuming sugar, you'll feel healthier, and you'll have more energy.
So, put down the soda, and take a step away from that high-carb meal. It might be hard at first. But, this necessary change could change your life.