Do I go too far with this question? Maybe. But evidence seems to be taking us in that direction. Add this very personal anecdote to the troubling effect that regular doses of sugar have in our health equation.
HoniAnn has a paternal family history of arthritis. Her grandmother, aunt and great aunts had it, so when it started showing up in her body, especially in her hands, she assumed it was just in her genes. As it grew to a point of really limiting her favorite activities, she reluctantly resorted to her doctor and the prescription drugs which treat but have many deleterious side effect warnings. While the drugs did bring quick relief, they also steadily raised her blood pressure. When that reached a dangerous level, she was taken off the drugs. The pain returned almost immediately.
Then along came my brother, Danny, visiting from Vancouver, B.C. at Christmas time. He has been our long-time holistic medicine doctor ever since graduating with his doctorate in Chiropractic healing, and a good one at that. His suggestion: get refined sugar and simple carbs out of your diet — completely! No exceptions. Honi was intent on taking his advice but learned it was not so easy to do because sugar is everywhere. It’s not just in the usual suspects like candy, cookies and pies. It’s everywhere. Vinegar and oil-based salad dressings and oatmeal being two of the prime surprises where added sugar is found. Read those food labels and try to find something that doesn’t have sugar in it. Sugar is omnipresent. But Honi was dedicated to the proposition and went Paleo to the extreme.
The result? Complete relief. Almost immediately. Between our family Christmas party and New Year’s eve, the pain and disability was gone. I’m talking complete relief here, not just a little better! But when she slipped back into some sweets and champagne at our New Year celebration, the pain returned, then left just as quickly when she resumed its exclusion on January 1st. She and we were amazed.
So what’s going on here? Can sugar be our greatest health villain? Do we add arthritis to the long list of diseases caused by our ridiculously high consumption of sugars? Stay tuned.