Blast Off: Sugar isn’t as sweet as you think it is

Hayley Wilson and Kate Atkinson take a revealing look at a popular sweetner

Sugar has a bad reputation these days, but is it actually as terrible as we make it out to be? How much damage could something so sweet and delicious really do? You may be shocked to learn some of the negative effects sugar can have on our bodies, as well as the correlation between it and many illnesses we struggle with today. Many studies suggest that sugar has been linked not only to obesity, but also to several ailments ranging from diabetes to different cancers.

Sugar consumption puts stress on our hormones. When we eat it, we get a rush of energy followed by a crash. When that crash happens, the adrenal glands release cortisol to increase energy levels. Over time, the continuous ups and downs cause the adrenal glands to go into over-production, thereby releasing large amounts of cortisol. Excess cortisol has been linked to weight-gain and low energy levels.

According to a 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, sugar provides excess, empty calories that are easily and rapidly absorbed by your body, which greatly increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

“Adding just one sugar-sweetened beverage to your daily diet almost doubles your risk,” said lead study author Matthias B. Schulze.

Studies show that regular consumption of refined sugar can lead to chronic inflammation which can disturb immune system functioning. Chronic inflammation is associated with arthritis, some forms of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease among many other illnesses.

Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of California, is drawing a lot of attention to the many negative effects sugar has on our health.

“Ultimately this is a public health crisis. And when it’s a public health crisis, you have to do big things and you have to do them across the board. Tobacco and alcohol are perfect examples. We have made a conscious choice that we’re not going to get rid of them, but we are going to limit their consumption. I think sugar belongs in this exact same wastebasket,” says Dr. Lustig.  He goes on to say that sugar consumption has gone from an average of four teaspoons a day in 1990 to a whopping 22 teaspoons today!

There is no question that sugar is addictive, and as bad as it is for us, it can be very hard to give up. If you are interested in eliminating sugar from your diet but aren’t sure where to start, join the Fitness 4 Life team in our 21-day Shape Up  for Summer and Sugar Detox Challenge. Visit for more information.

Hayley (250-688-0024)  and Kate (250-688-0221) are certified personal trainers with Fitness 4 Life. Visit their website at for current rates and specials.