Refined carbohydrates, like kindling in the fireplace, provide a burst of flame that is soon gone. They are immediately absorbed into the bloodstream, creating the short-lived rush" that you experience after eating a chocolate bar or drinking a soft drink for a quick pick-me-up. What the advertisers neglect to tell you, however, is that refined carbohydrates provide just as quick a letdown. Refined sugar (sucrose) is not digested in the mouth or the stomach but passes directly to the lower intestines and thence to the bloodstream. The extra speed with which sucrose enters the bloodstream does more harm than good. As the body swings back and forth from stimulation to depletion, sometimes all day long, this puts a huge stress on the adrenal glands and other glands and organs responsible for keeping a happy state of balance within. When our glandular system is stressed, our immune system is also compromised.
Today we find refined sugars in just about all processed foods - cold cereals, pies, and snack foods, as well as in canned vegetables, fruits, meats, and many prepared baby foods. Since 1942, when the American Medical Association expressed concern about sweetened carbonated beverages, candy, and other foods rich in sugar but poor in nutrients, consumption of soft drinks (or "liquid candy") has increased about sevenfold (excluding diet soft drinks), and overall sugar consumption has increased by one-third. In 1975, average sugar consumption in America was 120 pounds per year. In 1999, it had jumped nearly 40 pounds to 158 pounds per year. This equals 170 grams of sugar (nearly three-quarters of a cup) per day. In 1970, Americans drank an average of one soft drink per day. Today, the average US teenager drinks 868 cans of soft drink in one year.