Feature Food

A sweet but silent t(h)reat

By Tyler Churilla

   Throughout the past year, scientific research and testing has been second to none in modern society. Covid-19 has forced the world’s top medical professionals into a crazed state of non-stop research and trials for a potential vaccine. While all of this testing has unfolded, new research has emerged regarding the human body and how exterior factors can inhibit our bodies natural defense mechanism, the immune system. The most notable and intimidating substance that can hinder the effectiveness of the immune system isn’t another virus or some sort of bacteria, it’s sugar. 

   The short and sweet of this entire situation is that sugar can heavily decrease the effectiveness of your immune system for multiple hours at a time if the amount consumed reaches a certain threshold. According to weight and wellness.com “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 1-2 hours of eating sugar, lasting up to five hours”. The threshold that needs to be reached in order to decrease the effectiveness of our immune system is 75 grams of sugar (give or take a few grams depending on how active each individual is. This number is disturbing to think about given the fact that the United States is facing a global health crisis, as well as the fact that delivery food is becoming the norm for many households.

The effectiveness of white blood cells… decreased up to 50% after 1-2 hours of eating sugar, lasting up to five hours.

Loma Linda University

Companies can make their products seem healthier by making their serving sizes small. 8g of sugar isn’t a lot, but that’s only if you limit yourself to two cookies.

Most items from a takeout restaurant (unless stated otherwise) have a significant amount of sugar in them, so pair that with a global health crisis and the disaster just keeps getting worse. Some of the most common items that most Americans consume on a daily basis contain levels of sugar that are so high, you could come close to meeting your daily limit in one sitting. One of the best examples is Body Armor, a rather popular drink amongst today’s youth, which contains an alarming fifty-six grams of sugar in one sixteen-ounce bottle. What this means is most adolescents who drink Body Armor regularly are consuming three-fourths of their recommended limit of sugar intake from one single source. Another example is a 12 ounce can of Coca-Cola, containing thirty-nine grams of sugar. Oreos contain an alarming 9.9 grams of sugar per three cookies, and that’s not even considering the fat contents. There are labels of food items for a specific reason, that being to warn those who could purchase said item of its health concerns. 

   Sugar is a necessary component for dietary competence, but an abuse of sugar can lead to irreversible health issues, including death. The current pandemic has forced society into a corner, but the future does look bright as of now. The bottom line is, the more sugar you consume, the less your body can protect you from the dangers of Covid-19. 

Photos by Roberto Lachner

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