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Sugar Saps Strength

From your immune system, that is.

Yesterday, someone told me that sugar suppresses your immune system: roughly 1 tsp equals 2 hours of reduced immunity to disease (a can of Coke therefore makes you disease-susceptible for over half your day).

I was thinking about it this morning, wondering if I am too quick to trust, and this is just one of those rumours that health-freaks throw at those of us who crave icing or chocolate with any regularity. But a quick google search of "sugar immune system" shows that my friend is not alone in her beliefs.

This only adds to my increasing desire to make subtle but radical changes in how I eat. My ideal diet would be:

- high in fresh fruits & vegs
- lots of brown breads & whole grains
- legume heavy
- home cooked
- largely organic

A month ago, I would have had "local" on that list as well. Then I read an article in Reader's Digest from the National Post entitled Food Mile Myths: Buy Global. I think it is a strong challenge to the increasing popularity of localized produce purchasing (wow, I'm all over the alliteration today). Food for thought:

In the worst case scenario, a U.K. consumer driving six miles to buy Kenyan green beans emits more carbon per bean than flying them from Kenya to the U.K.

The most energy-intensive segments of the agricultural production chain are not related to the transportation but the production stage (fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, energy required to power machinery, etc.). For example, Canada’s heavy reliance on greenhouses or cold storage technologies entail much greater energy consumption than open air production in more favourable climates, often on a scale that dwarfs the energy requirements associated with the transportation of agricultural products from more remote locations.

If I'm going to change my diet, now is the time - when I head home, settle back into my routine, and in the midst of the summer, when time and produce are plentiful.


Stephen Crewson said…
A teaspoon of sugar may help the medicine go down but it definitely plays havoc on your immune system. A tsp of sugar actually shuts down your immune system down for up to 4 hours!!!
nadine said…
I've been on a four-day sugar binge that has left me lethargic and uncomfortable. Unfortunately, my diet as of late would be more appropriate for parka season than swimsuit season.

This immune-system business is also quite enlightening.

I hear fresh produce calling to me....

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