Sugar Alert – Small Print Size


 By Dean L. Jones, C.P.M.

Regularly consuming lots of processed sugar and starchy foods are reported, in some cases, to cause the eyes to become more vulnerable to a vision loss called Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).  An eye-opener is the fact that recent health studies show patients who do not commonly eat carbohydrates that quickly spike blood sugar levels are less vulnerable to this type of sight problem.  This falls in line with previous research results showing where diets rich in antioxidants were critical with even preventing AMD.

Similar advice is being shared routinely, but unfortunately we are not practicing the knowledge in our food choices.  By eating and drinking sugary products we run the risk of developing diabetes, which has been shown to increase the risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma due to poor blood circulation.  Circulation is essential since the eyes need more oxygen and nutrients than any other part of the body except the brain, and any reduction in oxygen supply can result in damage and disease.

A medical term called glycosylation is where excess sugar molecules attach to the hemoglobin in the red blood cells.  This makes it more difficult for the blood cells to deliver the oxygen necessary for metabolic processes to occur.  A more long-term problem called vascular occurs when blood sugar levels fluctuate and shock the mural cells (wall cells) in capillaries (tiny blood vessels).  These capillaries gradually weaken and narrow, which results in a breakdown of the entire vascular system.  Blood flow may be reduced, and in areas prone to leakage where bleeding may occur, as all of this can happen in one or both eyes.

The retina located at the back of the eye is made up of a delicate tissue that is sensitive to light.  At the center of the retina is the macula, a highly specialized part of the retina and it is vital because it enables us to see fine detail to read small print.  A disease called maculopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the retina start to leak. If the macula is affected, you will find that your central vision gradually gets worse.  The amount of central vision that is lost varies from person to person, however everyday sight for getting around, inside or outside, will be preserved.

Processed sugary-filled items will cause blood levels to rise and fall quickly; nonetheless, we sometimes forget about the refined grains, such as, white flour is just as bad.  Foods high in complex carbohydrates can help you lower your blood sugar level and keep it on an even keel.  Whole grains, legumes, and vegetables are the more highly favored carbohydrates.  Therefore, dietary choices are essential as what you see is what you get, so choose wisely.

Dean L. Jones is a marketing strategist with the Southland Partnership Corporation, a public benefit organization.  He has published a series of consumer alert articles based on his view of barefaced mismanagement of food/beverage products.