Updated: Jun 13, 2022
FACT – Immune function decreases for hours after sugar is consumed.
A research study done by Loma Linda University in which participants were fed different forms of sugar found that the effectiveness of white blood cells (our immune cells which fight infection) decreased up to 50% after eating sugar, lasting up to five hours! Thus, even those of us who sleep 8 hours, take supplements and exercise can seriously impair our immune system function by drinking a few sodas or having candy or sugary desserts throughout the day.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman’s book Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?, “Some estimates from US government surveys say that the average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar and about 133 pounds of flour [which convert to sugar] annually. That’s more than a third of a pound per person per day.” This is because 75% of processed foods also have added hidden sugars! Some of the biggest culprits of hidden sugar are condiments like ketchup and BBQ sauce, salad dressings, crackers, pasta sauces, and vegetable juices.
To understand how much sugar you’re consuming, all it takes is a simple equation; four grams of any carbohydrate breaks down into one teaspoon of sugar in our blood. For example, one cup of cooked plain spaghetti is about 43 grams of carbohydrate, which breaks down into almost 11 teaspoons of sugar. If you were to replace the spaghetti with one cup of zucchini noodles at 3.7 grams per cup, it would equate to less than one teaspoon of sugar!
Just to give you context of how 75 grams of sugar can add up:
One can of soda has about 40 grams of sugar
A low-fat, sweetened yogurt can have 47 grams of sugar
A cupcake has about 46 grams of sugar
Sports drinks can contain about 35 grams of sugar
Action: Ideally limit it to 25 grams of sugar a day, then your immune system will have a better chance to do its job and keep you from getting sick.
Fact – Your body uses and renews your own body weight equivalent in ATP every single day!
What is ATP? It is the energy currency of the cell, produced in the mitochondria. Think of it as the fuel for all the processes that keep us going. Mitochondria’s function may be compromised by oxidative stress (cellular damage). This can be partly from external influences (pollution, stress, chemicals in the environment, alcohol etc) but also cellular damage can occur as part of the natural process of energy production.
How to support your mitochondria for better energy:
Antioxidants: The mitochondria require a diet rich in antioxidants – think colorful vegetables, some fruit, herbs and spices and other healthy foods that supply essential nutrients. Two antioxidants, alpha lipoic acid and Coenzyme Q10, support energy and protect the mitochondria and mitochondrial ‘biogenesis’. Biogenesis is the process of renewal and increase of the mitochondrial cells.
Healthy fats: These are also ‘fuel’ for the mitochondria. Increase oily fish in your diet, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil or ghee. Healthy fats also protect the mitochondria by providing anti-inflammatory support.
Bottom Line: The more mitochondria we have, the less they are ‘overworked’ and the more we gain from them. This all supports optimal energy.
Fact - Looking at a screen at night for 5 minutes results in impaired melatonin production for 4 hours!
Since melatonin is the master sleep hormone, allowing it to increase before bedtime is crucial to a good night’s sleep. Americans spend an average of 7 hours a day on electronic devices. That’s a lot of time staring at blue light. Worse yet, nine out of 10 Americans admit to reaching for an electronic device at least several nights each week shortly before bedtime. That could be an invitation for insomnia.
Sources of Blue Light: TV, phones, computers, tablets, LEDs, fluorescent bulbs
Use Night Shift or a blue light filtering app on phones/tablets/computers to remove the blue light spectrum at nighttime. Use blue light blocking glasses in the evening. Limit use of phones etc. 3 hours before bed.
Swap light bulbs. LEDs and fluorescent bulbs both emit more blue light than incandescent bulbs.
Use a dim red lightbulb as a nightlight. Red is the color that least affects your circadian rhythm.