Part One: The Sugar Series
How Sugar is Depleting your Magnesium and Healthy Gut Bacteria
It’s no secret excessive amounts of refined sugar in our diets can be detrimental to our health, but what about chronic low level exposures everyday? Did you know that refined sugar isn’t just found in cakes and candy? You can easily find hidden sugar in your ketchup, pickles, frozen dinners, and coffee creamers. Even chronic low level consumption of refined sugar can be one of the leading drivers to a variety of chronic disease such as type two diabetes, metabolic syndrome, Irritable bowel syndrome, and Alzheimer’s. Chronic sugar consumption also depletes the body of magnesium, can cause dysbiosis of the gut, lead to insulin resistance, and lead to addictive behavior patterns. In this three part sugar series, we will learn about how sugar negatively affects our health, and tips and tricks to reverse it.
Magnesium plays an important role in over 300 different enzymatic reactions in the body. It helps relax muscles, promotes regular deep sleep, aids in comfortable bowel movements, and supports blood sugar regulation. Magnesium is a crucial mineral that many have a difficult time obtaining adequate amounts through diet alone. This challenge can be compounded further due to overconsumption of sugar depleting magnesium from the body. For every molecule of sugar consumed, our bodies need 54 molecules of magnesium to adequately process it. Due to magnesium’s role in blood sugar regulation, chronically high blood sugar levels requires a high magnesium cost in order to safely process and appropriately store glucose. Excessive magnesium loss through the kidney has also been shown from over consumption of sugar by inhibiting tubular reabsorption (this similar process can also occur with Calcium in the presence of excessive sugar consumption).
Another negative aspect of over consumption of refined sugar is that it promotes dysbiosis of the microbiome in our gut. Sugar is an easily accessible and fast acting fuel source for us, and also for the microbes in our gut. When we consume too much sugar it allows for certain strains of bacteria and especially yeasts to over grow too quickly and dominate the delicate balance of our microbial community. Our microbiome is known as the “second brain” and it’s connections in our health are many and far reaching; from mood regulation and hormone synthesis, to inflammation and digestion, our gut health is critical. It is constantly at risk from daily exposures of antibiotics and chemical antagonists which can be difficult to avoid, but excessive sugar consumption is one of the most prominent culprits.
Cutting refined sugar out of your diet is the first step in reversing the negative effects it can have on your health. This can be done by reading labels and being vigilant about the many names that sugar can hide behind. Sucrose, Dextrose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup Solids, Cane Sugar, Cane Juice, Barley Malt, and Rice Syrup, are all code for SUGAR. Avoid these additives in your packaged food, and remember to check savory items too. Bread, frozen prepared meals, coffee creamers, peanut butter, and even pickles will have added sweeteners. Consuming a mostly whole foods diet will make it easy to avoid added sugar by eating a majority of foods in their unprocessed forms.
Stay tuned for the next installation of the sugar series where you will learn how sugar can promotes addictive behavioral changes, and negatively impacts our blood sugar regulation.