The Bitter of Sweet

Oct 24, 2023
A table laden with baked cakes, pies, donuts, cupcakes and tea.

As we head into the depths of cold/flu/covid/rsv season, we need to address one of the most common pressures (and least popular to discuss:) on your immune system: sugar. 

Sugar is perhaps our most popular legal food “drug” (along with coffee and alcohol) and a discussion of sugar can go many directions. We only have 1 Minute, so let’s focus on what sugar does to your immune system.

Eating sugar (for the purposes of this article, “sugar” refers to all forms: whte/brown/coconut/raw sugar, fructose, honey, juices, candy, sodas, pastries etc etc etc) decreases your immune system for about 4-6 hours. When you eat sugar while in a crowded restaurant or before attending a movie or while sitting on a bus, BART or plane, your body is less able to ward off whatever “bugs” you are exposed to.

If you eat sugar continuously throughout the day - orange juice for breakfast, muffin for a snack, soda with lunch, “energy” bar in the afternoon, ice cream after dinner - you are walking around all day with a weaked immune system. 

Kicking sugar is really, really hard - it is a tough “drug.” And, it is deeply embedded in our culture. For most people, never eating sugar is just not realistic. So, mitigate its immune weakening effects by choosing when and where to eat it.

  • Enjoy your sugar fix in the “safety” of your own home. 
  • And, refrain from eating sugar at home when another family member is sick.
  • Refrain from eating/drinking sugar in higher exposure situations. 
  • Try to limit sugar consumption to once day. 
  • For some folks, having one day a week where they can go “whole hog” on sugar, and then abstain the other six days, works really well. For others, this is a recipe for sliding down the sugar slope fast. Know thy self. 

And, when you do eat sugar, please do not layer on guilt. Bless the food, bless those who grew and made the food, and enjoy it fully and deeply. Always, for everything you eat. 

Sugar is delicious, but demands a tax,
Kirstin Lindquist  
Owner, Licensed Acupuncturist

Register for Our Newsletter

Sign Up!

4341 Piedmont Avenue, Ste 202
Oakland, CA 94611

p: 510-597-9923
e: [email protected]