For the past six years or so, I’ve been a pretty healthy eater—except for my sugar consumption. I knew I should probably cut back, but how could I, when chocolate—in all of its glorious forms—exists? But, what happens when you quit sugar?
Besides, sugar can’t be that bad for you, can it? The short answer is: Yes, it can. A recent article in The New York Times cited an April 2019 study published in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association. It looked at the causes of death among 37,716 men and 80,647 women initially free of heart disease who were followed for 28 and 34 years, respectively. Cardiovascular mortality was 31 percent higher, and the total death rate 28 percent higher, among those who consumed two or more sugar-sweetened drinks a day when compared with people who rarely (if ever) drank them. Now, I’ve never been a soda drinker, but this is just to prove how toxic sugar can be.
So there I was, well aware of sugar’s downsides but unwilling to make any major changes to my diet. Then, I got a double ear infection. That’s not unusual for me, so I didn’t think twice when my doctor prescribed an antibiotic that I’ve taken before. I had never had any trouble with this particular medicine, so I was totally caught off guard when it seemed to wreak havoc on my gut microbiome, a collection of bacteria—good and bad—that are important to your overall health. (More on that here.)
I’m not a doctor (surprise), but I figured out that the antibiotics killed some of the healthy bacteria in my gut, which led to things like stomach cramps and bloating—every time I ate.