There is a tonne of information about the big bad nasty sugar, but did you know that people suffering with CFS/ME can actually improve their symptoms substantially by avoiding it? Here are a few reasons why you should be avoiding sugar if you have CFS/ME. They might even motivate you to join me on a ‘Quit Sugar Challenge’ in November…..
Low Blood Sugar (hypoglycemia)
Sugar can mess with your blood sugar levels, with levels rising after sugar and plummeting shortly after. With low blood sugar you can get light headed, headaches and fatigue. Many people are able to manage it by simply reducing sugar and keeping their blood sugar levels steady with regular healthy balanced meals.
Before getting ill with Ross River and then Chronic Fatigue I would regularly grab something sweet to pep me up when I was running low on energy and too busy or lazy to make a decent snack. I would even push back or skip lunches if things were a bit too hectic. This is a classic scenario for setting up the boom and bust blood sugar levels. No wonder I would get light headed and run down.
With CFS/ME I can’t afford to have these problems exacerbated, so keeping a steady blood sugar level is essential.
The body gets rid of sugar by burning it. Unburnt sugar is stored in the body as glycogen and when the glycogen stores are full, sugar gets stored as fat. The body will burn sugar in preference to fat so if you want to reduce fat you need to go easy on the sugar.
When our body starts to store fat, not only is it storing it on our tummy, hips and thighs but it’s also storing it in our organs such as the liver, heart, muscles, kidneys and arteries causing fatty degeneration (see Dr Sandra Cabot’s Liver Cleansing Diet). A sluggish liver can also exacerbate the symptoms of CFS/ME.
Insulin resistance can develop
Insulin is released after meals to encourage our tissues to take up glucose. Cells can become insulin resistant when they are trying to protect themselves against high levels of insulin. So if you eat a lot of sugar and demand a lot of insulin this could lead to insulin resistance which has a whole gamut of symptoms pretty similar to some of the CFS/ME symptoms (i.e. fatigue, brain fogginess, low blood sugar, intestinal bloating, sleepiness, depression).
Sugar contributes to Candida
Sugar is well known for feeding Candida yeast infections, along with white flour. Candida infections allow viruses in the body to multiply and can cause headaches, fluid retention, skin complaints, bloating of the abdomen, mental disorientation and allergic reactions.
Candida feeds on sugar and white flour and produces acetaldehyde as a waste product. This product has a narcotic effect causing fuzzy, foggy, spaced out feeling, loss of memory, concentration and inability to clearly articulate one’s thoughts. Sounds familiar to me!
Signs of Candida include sudden bloating or onset of allergic reactions when small amounts of sweets or alcohol are consumed.
Starving the Candida, killing it with products such as Nystatin, resting, boosting nutrition, reducing stress and chemicals and adopting a positive attitude is the best way to beat Candida according to Phillip Alexander, author of It Could be Allergy and it Can be Cured. This is a really good book full of lots of useful information including a Metabolism-Balancing Program and an Anti-Candida Program.
Sugar depresses the immune system
There are reports that excess sugar can depress the immune system by affecting the ability of white blood cells to mop up viruses and bacteria.
In the 1970’s researchers found that white blood cells contain high concentrations of vitamin C and Linus Pauling found that high dose of Vitamin C are required to combat the common cold. Unfortunately Vitamin C and sugar have similar chemical structures and they compete with one another to enter white bloods cells. Thus with excess sugar in the system there is going to be less Vitamin C accessing white blood cells – not great if you are wanting to boost your immunity!
This last one has been the clincher for me and as I have been taking Vitamin C in large doses for a while now, and I know that when I give way to the sugar addiction I’m working against my own efforts.
Quit Sugar Challenge
I know that sugar is addictive and unfortunately it’s not just about knowing that it’s bad for you and turning it off. I wish it was.
So to help myself, I am setting myself a ‘Quit Sugar Challenge’ which I am now in preparation mode for and will officially commence on the 1st November.
I will be developing my own meal plans, utilising Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar: My Simple 8-week Program that works for good’ and generally being as kind to myself as I can possibly be to get through the challenge. Sarah Wilson is an Australian media personality, journalist and blogger. She has had her own struggles with an autoimmune thyroid problem and she is a great source of inspiration. If you are interested in her ebook, click through from this page and I will receive a commission (10% of all money generated through this site is being donated to CFS/ME research).
Let me know how you are going avoiding sugar. What helps you?
Keep up the good work!
Complex carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly with more gradual release of sugars into the blood.
Can promote inflammation in the body