Sugar, Stress and Your Immune System

If you are like me, you might find yourself growing increasingly alarmed by various news sources regarding the quality of our food today. Currently, food labels contain more verbiage of what is not inside the package that what is actually in it. I taught a course on the topic of Nutrition at the University of Colorado for over a decade, and nearly every guest speaker I brought in spoke of the dangers of consuming too much sugar. If you are fan of the show, 60 Minutes, you might have seen their recent segment on the dangers of a high sugar intake. What I learned most from my guest speakers (and reinforced with 60 Minutes) was the influence of sugar on the immune system. Stated simply, sugar destroys the integrity of the immune system. When your immune system in compromised, then so is your health. Stress can also compromise your immune system. And, it’s no secret that when people are stressed, they tend to eat junk foods, processed foods and foods high in sugar content, which only adds more compromise to one’s health status. This is not to say that one should never have any sugar. What we teach in nutrition is this: Everything in moderation.

Stress Tip for the Day:

How much sugar do you consume in a day? Research shows that the average person consumes their body weight in refined sugar each year. YIKES! That’s a lot of sugar! Rather than reach for something sweet with little or now nutritious value, opt instead for some fresh fruit (in season is the best). Sugar from fresh fruit is called fructose, and unlike refined table sugar, it contains vitamins and minerals making it a much better choice. The fiber helps too. Remember, a few sweets every now and then is OK, but keep things in moderation. Healthy boundaries with food are essential.

Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:

The following are some links to the hazards of an over consumption of sugar, including the 60 Minutes segment.

Quote for the Day:

“The bottom line is that sugar upsets the body chemistry and suppresses the immune system. The stronger the immune system the easier it is for the body to fight infectious and degenerative diseases.” —Nancy Appleton, Ph.D., author, Licking the Sugar Habit

Photo for the Day:

Honey roasted cashews (a photo I took for a slide show called The Low Stress Diet) may taste great, but only a few, even if they were bought at Whole Foods! Know your limits, and like everything else, practice healthy boundaries.

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e) and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website:

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Brian Luke Seaward

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