Sugar & digestion
It’s no secret how I feel about sugar consumption in the U.S.
Simply put, we eat too much of it.
In fact, Americans eat at least twice – if not 3x – the amount of sugar they should.
For some of us, it’s a lot more than that.
And the harm all this excess sugar consumption has on our health?
Well, you already know too much sugar can lead to an expanding waistline.
But its impact is so much greater than that.
Too much added sugar can have a negative impact on your blood pressure, impair your memory, and even alter the structure of your brain.
It can also wreak havoc on your digestion.
You see, your digestive system uses enzymes to break down the sugar you eat.
And there are specific enzymes for each type of sugar consumed.
For example, the enzyme lactase digests lactose, the sugar found in milk and other dairy products, while maltase digests maltose, the sugar found in malt and grain foods.
When you eat a high sugar meal, your body sometimes doesn’t have enough of the right enzymes on hand to properly break down that food.
This is particularly true for older folks, as our digestive enzyme production declines with age.
For one, the excess sugar is left to sit in the bowels, where it begins to ferment... and starts feeding bad bacteria and yeast... which can lead to a build-up of painful gas and diarrhea.
Sugar left in the gut can also pull the water into the large intestine, resulting in bloating and abdominal discomfort.
Proper sugar digestion is just one of the reasons I regularly eat foods rich in digestive enzymes, like pineapple, kiwi, and papaya, and supplement with a full spectrum of enzymes to make sure I’m covered.
And I always keep this combination of digestive herbs on hand, to help me get a quick digestive reset when things get out of whack.
Before you say it, natural fructose in actual fruit is not the same as refined sugar. So feel free to eat fruit, because it is truly healthy.
Confusing an apple with a can of soda is something the large drink companies would love for you to be unsure about.
Now listen. Because I want to make something very clear.
I’m not one of those no sugar zealots.
I would never suggest you ban sugar from your diet.
The occasional dessert after dinner, or cake on your birthday, is just fine.
And the holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without pie.
It’s all about moderation.
Focus on limiting sugar when you can.
Like taking one scoop of sugar with your coffee instead of two. Or even better, drinking it black, or with cinnamon (it’s really quite good).
And making your own salad dressing at home instead of buying the sugar-laden options at the grocery store.
The thing about sugar is, once you cut back, your taste for it changes.
You don't crave it as much.
And that’s a benefit that can have a profound impact on your health for years to come.