Much of what you hear these days about Sugar is that it is public enemy number one, as it relates to our health. The media in our country on a continuous basis likes to beat the drum over and over again about how bad sugar is for us and our children, because it makes us fat, and is unhealthy for us to eat overall. Some so-called experts even suggest sugar should be removed from our diets, recommending that popular restaurants like McDonald’s be mandated to replace their milk shakes with apples and carrots. With that being said, just how much do we all know about sugars really, and are these people justified in making such a broad sweeping claim about them?
I found out that there are many different kinds of alternative sugars available for sugar lovers, good sugars that are completely harmless to Crohn’s, Colitis and IBS sufferers. Not only are many sugars harmless, but have been found to be actually beneficial for us to consume, containing valuable healing properties in them, vital for our good digestive health! Not only are these sugars harmless for our bodies, but they actually possess healing properties in them as well!
True, the bad sugars, like so-called “table sugar” containing corn syrup, are really bad for all of us, and should be avoided at all costs, especially if you’re a Crohn’s, Colitis, or IBS sufferer. This is especially true if you take steroids for your condition. If you are taking steroids and have a diet that is high in sugar, you are setting yourself up for serious problems. Corn syrup based sugar is one of the most toxic foods on the digestive lining and pretty much intolerable by all those who suffer with digestive disorders. The most deceiving part of sugar, is that it does not cause pain or bowel obstructions like nuts or a high fiber food do. Consequently, many people don’t link sugar consumption to their stomach flare-ups, and as a result, continue to suffer out of not knowing the truth.
So, why is Sugar so bad for Crohn’s and like diseases? Sugar totally strips the intestines of its healthy bacteria and replaces it with an overgrowth of bad bacteria, which leads to a condition known as Candida. Sugar consumption also leads to a serious PH imbalance in the body making it harder for us to heal from a recent flare up. The side effects sugar has on the gut, is that it causes gas, bloating, diarrhea, even mouth ulcers (even in those without digestive problems). To make matters worse, Sugar obviously is addictive (just ask millions), and a hard habit to break. It can be especially difficult to wean children and teens with Crohn’s off sugar because they are seeing their peers eating it all the time with no similar side effects. In addition to stay away from table sugar, even the imitation sugars, like NutraSweet and sorbital should be avoided as they are proven to upset the digestion of almost everyone, even those without Crohn’s. Alcohol behaves like sugar too, when in the body and should be consumed only in moderation, if not at all, depending on the seriousness of your digestive condition.
So, what are the good sugar alternatives available for Crohn’s sufferers and what are their positive effects on your body? These kinds of sugars are found naturally in fruits, and vegetables, even honey. Though honey can cause allergy reaction in some, and trigger attacks in people with ADD/ADHD, it is harmless on most people and healthy to consume. Honey is actually much easier to digest than common sugar, can promote wound healing, kill bacteria, sooth digestive upset and even decrease allergy symptoms. The sugar found in the fruit called the wolfberry contain complex sugars called polysaccharides or complex sugars, clinically shown to help to support your pancreas, boost immunity, build and tone muscle, and actually help you loose weight! In addition, this fruit boosts your metabolism, causing it to strengthen the immune system, causing bettor and faster healing from the Crohn’s induced flare-ups you have. The Sugar polysaccharides provide have actually been proven break down tumors, and combat free radicals in the body. These are the toxins we ingest from polluted air, pesticides and carbon monoxide gases from gasoline and diesel powered vehicles to site a few.
Another alternative healthy sugar that you can use in your Crohn’s Disease Diet, which also does not have the bad affects traditional table sugar has on your health, is Xylitol. Like the Polysaccharides found in the Wolfberry, Xylitol too is completely natural, coming from fibrous vegetables and fruit, as well as corn cobs and various hardwood trees like birch. Actually, Xylitol amounts are actually produced naturally in our bodies…up to 15 grams daily. It occurs daily as the natural glucose metabolism of man and animals as well as several plants and micro-organisms. While, Corn Syrup derived sugar wreaks havoc on the digestive system, Xylitol actually helps heal and repair it. It does this by building up our immune system, enabling it to bettor protect us against the chronic degenerative diseases we suffer from like Crohn’s, Colitis or IBS. Xylitol is considered a five-carbon sugar, which means it is an antimicrobial, preventing the growth of bacteria. It actually makes the cell walls of our digestive system slippery, to viruses and germs, allowing them to slip right through and be washed away. Xylitol also has no known toxic levels. Xylitol has even been credited with helping slow the aging process! But most of all, amazingly Xylitol tastes and looks exactly like sugar and leave no unpleasant aftertaste! It is available in many forms. In its crystalline form, it can replace sugar in cooking, baking or as a sweetener for beverages. It is also included as an ingredient in chewing gum, mints and nasal spray. It was actually approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) way back in 1963.
One other good sugar on the list is called Acetylglucosamine. A more commonly heard name for this saccharide is glucosamine, found in supplements to alleviate symptoms of joint and muscle aches associated with arthritis. Arthritis is a by-product of many who suffer Crohn’s. Glucosamine actually repairs cartilage and reduces swelling in joints. This is just another sugar that defies the critics claim that we should eliminate sugar from our diets.
So, though there are sugars (processed sugars) that we truly should stay away from as Crohn’s sufferers, there is an abundance of sugars, natural sugars, some of which have not been included in this article, that we would be foolish not to educate ourselves on, especially with the great access we have to the internet now-a-days. We truly are able to have our cake and eat it too (pardon the pun), by getting all the benefits from good sugar, namely the good taste, but still not have to be guilty over a food that we suspect is bad for our Crohn’s disease.