"Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of one 12-ounce can of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by forty percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system."
It makes you look at that can of Coke® in a whole new light, doesn't it?
Our immune system is our first defense against any disease, and we can't afford to disable any of it's functions. Now, don't get me wrong - I'm in no way suggesting that you will be able to fight off every new disease that comes your way if you simply give up sugar. However, it just makes sense to take good care of your immune system, just in case a cold or flu germ, or worse, shares an elevator with you.
Eating sugar is the exact opposite of taking care of yourself - it actually weakens your ability to protect yourself from contagious disease and infections.
We do know that the people who haven't recovered from the new SARS virus almost always have a weakened immune system to start with. Diabetes is one of the chronic illnesses that has been associated with the victims of this illness, and some victims in China have been infected with the Chlamydia bacteria.
Recovering from any virus, bacteria, infection - or even injury - is more likely when the immune system is strong.
There are two known dietary factors that reduce the immune system, and American diets are full of both of them. Sugar, as we have seen, is one of the primary dietary causes of a lowered immune response. The other factor is fat in the diet.
Many experts believe that the fried potatoes you ate this morning will raise the fat level in your bloodstream, causing your blood to lose it's viscosity. This means your blood can't flow as fast as it should, and your white blood cells and other members of your immune response team can't get to the location of infection as quickly.
When we think of problems that arise from being overweight we tend to think of diabetes, heart disease, and some kinds of cancer. All these illnesses develop slowly, and the risk can be held in the back of our minds, where we don't have to think of them very often. However, it has been proven that people who are overweight miss more work, and spend more time and money at the doctor's office and pharmacy.
Fit people are less apt to catch the latest bug that is going around the office. When they do catch it, they don't get as sick, and they recover faster. Being "fit" affects every cell in our bodies, including the cells that protect us from disease.
So there you have it: One more excellent reason to get yourself on a healthy diet, and to stay committed to following it - every single day.