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Last Chance for Sugar and Sun This Year

by Jeff Cordeiro

Eat sugar, stay out of the sun and catch a cold or the flu.The days are getting shorter but what does that have to do with sugar? The holidays are fast approaching, starting on Halloween and ending Valentines Day. So, if anything there will be tons of sugar to be found at every turn; that’s the rub.

For tens of thousands of summers, we soaked up sun and got fat on fruits and berries. Our bodies produced Vitamin D from the abundant UVB rays and stored the excess in our fat for future use.

The warm weather bounty provided our bodies with sugars that were not available any other time of the year. These sugars altered our insulin levels causing the production of extra fat – fat that our bodies would desperately need during the lean winter months.

It was a perfect system. Then man got smart. Sugary candies and pastries are now available all year round. The body no longer needs to draw upon its fat for energy. With modern farming and transportation methods, the Western World can even have fruit every day of winter.

Consuming 140-200 pounds (depending on the source) of sugar each year, the average American just keeps layering on the fat. It is estimated that by 2010 over 40% of all Americans will be obese, including half the population under the age of 18. This is according to the Center for Disease Control. Some others estimate the obesity rate in this country will be as high as 68%.

Excess fat has been linked to everything from diabetes to high blood pressure and heart disease but it’s also where toxins are stored. Toxins have been linked to illnesses like cancer and recently to autism. With abundant sources of sugar and no longer having to “catch” our food for exercise, these toxins remain in our bodies forever, wreaking havoc on our immune systems.

Fat is also where reserves of Vitamin D are stored. If we don’t burn fat during the winter months as nature intended, the Vitamin D remains trapped and unused. It is estimated that over 80% of the population is Vitamin D deficient. It is also believed that every ailment, from the common cold to cancer, could be prevented with proper levels of serum Vitamin D (40-60 ng/ml). It’s this lack of Vitamin D that permits the cold and flu “season” to exist.

Below is a map showing the levels of serum Vitamin D in populations around the world. Red indicates levels from 0-25 ng/ml. Orange indicates levels from 24.1-30.2 ng/ml. Yellow indicates levels of 30.3-49.9 ng/ml and blue indicates levels of 50 ng/ml or greater. The map clearly shows that our Vitamin D levels are directly linked to sun exposure. The less sun an area gets, the lower our levels of serum Vitamin D.

Serum 25 Vitamin D levels for populations around the world

How important is getting the proper amount of Vitamin D? The green bars indicate the estimated reduction in breast cancer with the addition of moderate sun exposure (10 minutes or less, during the spring and summer) or 2000 IU per day of Vitamin D3 supplements (when it is cloudy, overcast or in the fall and winter). Central America would see a 21% drop and North America would see a 25% drop. Other illnesses would see similar drops. (Please, click here for a video citing multiple studies on the affects of low serum 25 Vitamin D). Imagine ridding the world of disease by simply educating people on proper sun exposure?

With respect to cold and flu viruses, during the sunny months, most of us have enough Vitamin D in our systems to prevent them from taking hold. In the northern hemisphere, our serum 25 Vitamin D stores build to their peak levels in the month of September or October and are depleted to their lowest levels in the month of February or March.

You may be wondering why some people catch colds during the summer, when they should be getting enough sun. It may be that they are taking Vitamin A supplements or cod liver oil. Recent studies show that Vitamin A supplements may negate the health benefits of Vitamin D. Instead, they should be eating more colorful vegetables. The body will produce the precise amount of Vitamin A it needs from the beta-carotene contained in the veggies.

So, how do we get back to our natural protections? The first part is quite simple. Get out in the sun between 11 AM and 1 PM everyday (in the spring and summer) for 5-10 minutes (more for darker skin) with, at least, 40% of your skin exposed without using sunscreen (sunscreens block out the beneficial UVB rays but still permit the harmful UVA rays through). This will allow your body to produce all the Vitamin D it needs and will store the excess in your body fat (for details on proper sun exposure, please click here) for use in the fall and winter.

The next part may be a bit more difficult for most – we need to limit ourselves to foods that would have been available naturally during winter months 5000 years ago. That means no sugar. No candy, no pies, no cookies, no cakes, no grain alcohol and not even fruit (unless your ancestors were from a tropical climate and then only those fruits). This will force our systems to utilize stored fat, lower body weight, release disease fighting Vitamin D and eliminate toxins.

Our society and traditions will, of course, make this almost impossible for virtually everyone. So, utilize the 90/10 rule (it’s okay to cheat 10% of the time). However, the more you adhere to these two simple guidelines, the healthier you will be. Just keep in mind that a single teaspoon of sugar cuts the effectiveness of the immune system in half for two hours (and a soda contains about 8 teaspoons of sugar).

Carbohydrates alter our body’s pH (click here for a chart showing food’s affect on pH). A healthy body has a pH that is slightly alkaline (test strips are available at your local health food store). Unfortunately, refined sugars throw our bodies onto the acidic side of the scale and an acidic body is a sick body, prone to every ailment know to man.

Diets that are high in sugars (and calories) are also low in vital nutrients. A lack of nutrients causes a body to crave more food. Unfortunately, most Americans simply eat more of the wrong foods. Eventually, the body gets used to this chemical imbalance (and becomes addicted to the sugar), making it increasingly difficult to break the habit. Without vital nutrients, the cells do not function properly and the body begins to break down.

No matter how you look at it, there are just too many reasons to eat healthier and this holiday season is the perfect time to begin. Of course, the choice is yours but remember, if you continue to do what you have always done, you will continue to get what you have always got. 

This year, give your body a great holiday present. Eat more fresh organic vegetables and high-quality protein and cut back on the carbohydrates. Let your body utilize fat the way nature intended. If your waist measures more than 32” (for women) or 37” (for men), you are in the danger zone.

The more you do today, the younger you will look and feel tomorrow, the fewer cold and flu viruses you will catch every winter, and the longer and healthier life you will live.

As always, I hope you found this article thought-provoking and helpful.

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