Sugar and Immunity
You may have heard that sugar decreases your immunity, but how true is this? The evidence is mostly based on a study from the 1970s and suggested a strong link between sugar and a reduction in white blood cells’ ability to kill bacteria.
This effect continued for several hours after consuming sugar. If you’re eating a bunch of sugar while you’re being exposed to bacteria or viruses, the study indicates you’ll find it harder to fight them off.
However, the research hasn’t been replicated since then. This makes it hard to know whether sugar is definitely compromising your immunity, but we do know that added sugars aren’t great for health in general.
- Sugar is highly addictive and toxic.
- Sugar can spike blood sugar levels within minutes.
- Overconsumption decreases insulin’s ability to perform its job of making the cells take up glucose (which can lead to insulin resistance and then to diabetes).
- When sugar is not needed for immediate energy, it converts to body fat.
- Sugar is hard on the immune system. It inhibits neutrophils, which are the immune cells responsible for engulfing and destroying pathogenic microorganisms.
It can be really tough to quit sugar for good, but any decrease in the amount of added sugars you consume is great for your health — and possibly your immunity too.
When you’re looking at sugar, not all of it is created equal. Natural sugars from fruits and vegetables are a much good choice. It’s the added and refined sugars in processed foods that are most concerning.
Sugar can come in a whole heap of different forms, and it’s not always easy to spot when you’re scanning lists of ingredients. Anything ending in “ose” is a big culprit. Think glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and maltose.
We can’t say no to everything though, right? Look to sweeten your life with more natural options like raw honey, date sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, molasses, monk fruit, or stevia. They are still sweets, so don’t go crazy but enjoy them in moderation.
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