Sugar and your immune system = worst couple on the planet

My latest library book, complete w/ cracker crumbs.
My latest library book, complete w/ cracker crumbs.

I’m almost certain I’m not a doctor, so a lot of the wellness intel I dispense in this sweet little ol’ blog is anecdotal, i.e.:

It’s pulled from the headlines of my life.

Which isn’t to say it isn’t completely thought-out, and responsible, and – dare I say it – credible.

Nine times out of 10, mid-riff or -rant, I’ll cite a study I’ve come across, or a book I’ve been reading, or host a Q+A with an actual M.D. or otherwise über-qualified expert.

And sometimes, like today, I’ll tell you a massive tale of woe and then back it up with bonafide research.

Maintenant, thank the lordy, on y va.

So I’ve been e-sharing that I ditched sugar for Lent, and that it was a massive struggle at first, and that it wasn’t super-gratifying from a scale-perspective, but that my belly has been noticeably flatter and that’s been a really good – as in Martha Stewart really good – thing?

Well here’s where it gets tricky: Lent is over.

Although Hubby – who was my co-pilot in sugar-ditching – and I couldn’t land on the exact date Lent ended (it was either Holy Thursday or the Saturday before Easter), I started to seriously wobble in my dedication by late Wednesday.

Hubby was in New York for work, and the Wee Lass and I were left to our own devices, so somehow we ended up at Menchie’s and I kinda dove (dived? I never know which one it is…) into the Red Velvet fro yo. And maybe the Cake Batter fro yo. And I might have sprinkled a couple of chocolate chips on top for good measure. There were strawberry chunks involved, too, but those don’t count. Those are real, and healthy, and laced with vitamin C.

I felt fine afterward. I don’t know what I was expecting – maybe a lightning bolt to sizzle down from the sky? – but I escaped unscathed.

So then I preceded, through the next few days – the bulk of Easter weekend – to gobble down sugar right and left.

Sinister new discovery: Dove Coconut Creme Milk Chocolate Eggs.

After totes relapsing and embarking on my monster sugar binge, I woke up on Monday morning feeling like absolute shite, as the Irish say.

Sore throat, stuffy, mucus-y…blech times a billion.

And in the immortal words of Carrie Bradshaw…tap tap tap…

I couldn’t help but wonder:

Was my sugar binge to blame?

Thankfully I’d already checked this riveting page-turner – Beat Sugar Addiction Now! – out of our local library.

(Oh the irony; I’d nabbed it right before the trip to Menchie’s that sent me circling the sugar drain.)

I’m only on page 54 (did I mention it’s a page-turner?), and I haven’t figured-out which of the four Addict types I am.

But I’m leaning toward Type 3.

Why? Because the first diagnostic Q for this particular type is: “Do you have chronic nasal congestion or sinusitis?”

I do! I do! But I’d always blamed that on my impossibly beautiful Maine Coon rescue kitties. I hug them on the reg, and I suspect I’m allergic.

Another possible clue in the Type 3 quiz: Qs about the condition candida albicans, an overgrowth of yeast in our digestive tract that can trigger sugar cravings. When I went to that starvation spa in Texas for Town & Country, one of the on-staff experts mentioned she thought I might suffer from candida.

Of course, the second I read about the yeast-sugar cravings connection in my trusty library book, I scampered off to find the bottle of pricey Yeast Away pills I’d picked up at the spa and promptly forgot to take. I hope they’re still potent, because I’m taking ’em now.

Okay, so we’re finally at the point in this post when I reveal the link between sugar and a compromised immune system.

Since my library book exhaustively dives into every type of sugar-generated illness (and there are many, including hypothyroidism, which I suffer from), it doesn’t feature a distinct little graph on immunity-depletion that I can airlift and drop in here.

So instead, I’m quoting a passage on “the harmful effects of sugar” from the website of the renowned baby doc and mega author William Sears:

“Excess sugar depresses immunity. Studies have shown that downing 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution (about 20 teaspoons of sugar, or the amount that is contained in two average 12-ounce sodas) can suppress the body’s immune responses. Simple sugars, including glucose, table sugar, fructose, and honey caused a fifty- percent drop in the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacteria. In contrast, ingesting a complex carbohydrate solution (starch) did not lower the ability of these white blood cells to engulf bacteria. The immune suppression was most noticeable two hours post-ingestion, but the effect was still evident five hours after ingestion. This research has practical implications, especially for teens and college students who tend to overdose on sodas containing caffeine and sugar while studying for exams or during periods of stress. Stress also suppresses immunity, so these sugar-users are setting themselves up to get sick at a time when they need to be well.”

I think it’s time to hop right back on the wagon. Sugar isn’t our pal. So isn’t our pal.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *