Unless you have lived in a cave for the past decade, I am sure you have heard that sugar is bad for you.
Maybe your dentist told you to cut back due to too many cavities, or your doctor told you that if you don’t stop eating so much sugar you are going to be in the pre-diabetic range for your blood sugar.
You may think to yourself, well I don’t eat THAT MUCH sugar.
It doesn’t take long for it to add up. Just one can of coke contains approximately 9.5 teaspoons of sugar!
Sugar is hidden practically everywhere and lives in most packaged foods, often disguised under names such as high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin.
I am here to tell you, as a holistic nutritionist and as someone recovering from IC, that when you are healing from IC, sugar has no place in your diet.
Even if you see sugar listed under “bladder friendly” in the IC diet list, do not be fooled. You need to think of your health in a more holistic way if you are striving towards true balance and vitality.
In this post I am referring to refined sugar; however, many people do best avoiding all sweeteners, even the more “natural” ones, including honey, maple syrup, agave and brown rice syrup.
Here are 5 reasons to avoid sugar while healing from IC:
1. Sugar depresses your immune system
Studies have shown that ingesting excess sugar actually depress your immune system.
The effect can last for as long as five hours and is most noticeable two hours after sugar is consumed.
When you are trying to heal from a chronic condition like IC, you do not want to put any extra stress on your immune system, especially when the offender is in your control.
Many of us already have immune systems that have gone haywire with autoimmune reactions and are struggling to keep low-grade infections, like Candida and parasites, in check.
Whenever chronic inflammation is present, it points towards a malfunctioning immune system.
Also, with IC it is very common to lose sleep due to pain and/or frequent urination. This on its own can do a number on the immune system.
Not to mention, when you are already in so much pain and discomfort the last thing you need is to catch a cold or a flu.
IC is difficult enough to deal with on its own.
2. Sugar feeds Candida
Sugar is Candida’s best friend – it thrives off of it!
For those of you who have read my post on what causes IC, you know that Candida is one of the many potential factors that can contribute to the development of IC. Some ICers have even gone into complete remission after eradicating their Candida overgrowth.
As with anything, it’s all about balance. Everyone has some Candida in their system as part of a healthy intestinal flora.
The problem arises when Candida begins to outnumber the healthy bacteria in your gut and in really bad cases, becomes systemic.
This happens in part due to a diet high in carbohydrates, especially refined sugars. Other risk factors include a stressful lifestyle, poor digestion and elimination, a history of antibiotic use and the use of medications, such as oral contraceptives.
If you suspect you have a Candida overgrowth avoiding sugar is one of the most important steps you can take as you attempt to rebalance your body.
3. Sugar leads to inflammation
Often when we think of foods that cause inflammation, things like beef and fried food come to mind.
We have all heard that sugar is bad for us, but we often don’t understand its many negative effects on our physiology.
Excess sugar consumption is actually a major source of inflammation in the body.
We all know that IC involves chronic inflammation. Why add fuel to the fire?
When you eat sugar, your blood sugar spikes and even modest raises in blood sugar generate pro-inflammatory chemicals.
Sugar is also very acidifying to the body and over-acidity leads to inflammation.You can learn more about the importance of maintaining an acid-alkaline balance in my free course, 4 weeks to IC relief.
4. Sugar is a stressor to your adrenal glands
If you regularly consume sugar, your adrenal glands are getting stressed daily.
This is not good news for someone with IC, especially since adrenal fatigue can both contribute to the development of IC and come as a result of having IC.
When you consume sugar, cellular damage can occur and this is considered an emergency in the body. With any emergency, or stresser, the adrenals will be called upon.
Hence, when you eat sugar, it is a drain on the adrenal glands.
Adrenal fatigue can be difficult to treat because we are constantly exposed to one form of stress or another (internal and external) and the adrenals do not get a chance to rest and repair.
By avoiding sugar, you are increasing your adrenal health and this is an important step in bringing your body back into a state of harmony.
5. Sugar has no nutritional value
As a holistic nutritionist, I am interested in the quality of the food you are putting into your body.
Food can either support health or deter it.
The food that you eat needs to provide you with all of the macro and micronutrients necessary for your body to not only survive by carrying out all of its necessary roles and functions on a daily basis, but to thrive and build better health.
Refined sugar does not contain any micronutrients in the forms of vitamins and minerals. It is pure carbohydrates.
When choosing how to fuel your body, you want to ask questions about the quality of the food you’re eating.
Does the food you’re eating contain phytonutrients and antioxidants that are going to feed your cells and protect them from free radical damage? Does it contain amino acids to help build a healthy immune system and aid in the detoxification process? How about its anti-inflammatory and alkalizing effect on the body?
When you ask these types of quality-based questions about sugar – it falls majorly short.
Sugar is devoid of any real nutritional value and the downfalls of consuming it far outweigh the short-lived sugar high and satisfied feelings that result. In my opinion, sugar is more akin to a drug than food.
Only minimally processed whole foods from plants and animals can provide the nutrition you need to maintain or build health.
So there you have it! It’s time to cut out that sugar ladies and gents! For more ways to refine your diet for IC healing, be sure to sign up for my free 4 week course.