Sugar is what is said to be one of the major and problematic causes of serious health problems like obesity. We all believe sugar is bad for health, and what do we do to avoid it? We stop using sugar in our tea or milkshakes. We think cutting back this minimal sugar is going to create a long-lasting effect on our health. But my dear friends, this is not so. Unknowingly, every other hour of the day we’ve been consuming sugar in different forms. And the fun part is, we don’t even bother to check the sugar content or we just assume if it’s not sweet, it doesn’t have sugar. This excess intake of sugar is what makes us fat and makes us vulnerable to diseases.
This guide has been designed to warn you about the dangers that sugar possesses and how to avoid it.
But first, what is sugar?
From lactose in milk; to glucose in wheat and to fructose in fruits, almost all sorts of food contain sugar; which is a form of carbohydrates (a building block of food). These sugars occur naturally; are vital for good health, and boost our energy levels. But another kind of sugar is also present, known as processed, added sugar, or refined sugar. These sugars, usually labeled as sucrose, are first extracted and refined from different food items and then added in other food products like fruit juices, pastries, and cakes. According to studies, naturally occurring sugars do not pose a threat to our health but refined sugars are the ones ruining our health. That’s why it’s necessary to keep a balanced amount of processed sugars in our diet.
How much sugar is OK per day?
It’s hard to answer, as the requirements of every age group and each person vary and it also depends on the number of calories a sugary product contains. However, an average estimate of sugar intake is being suggested as 70-100 calories for women and 120-150 calories for men, per day. However, these values can change according to your health. And to keep a check on these calories, always read the label of food products before consuming them.
What excess sugar does to the body?
From physical to mental health issues, added sugar does it all. It provides no nutritional value, makes us lethargic, and causes serious diseases. Here are some of these:
1. Fluctuating energy levels
As soon as we take that delightful spoon of our favorite dessert, we feel a rush of energy, our mood gets better and we crave more and more. But the real show begins when this rush suddenly goes down, leaving us lethargic, with mood swings, irritated, zero energy, and unhealthy cravings – eventually leading to an obese lifestyle. And this vicious cycle continues until we cut back on our sugar intake and put a stop to it.
Let’s be clear, processed sugars contain a high number of calories with no nutritional content and all these empty calories combined in our body pave the way for obesity. Refined sugars once consumed, get absorbed very quickly and you might feel hungry way sooner than you should be. And eventually, you’ll end up eating way more than your nutritional requirements in order to satisfy your false hunger. There is also some evidence that suggests that sugar also affects the regulation mechanisms of biological processes that regulate hunger. It causes leptin resistance – a hormone regulating hunger, and as a result, a person feels hungrier every other minute.
A balanced intake of sugar is never the cause of diabetes, but its excess intake is what results in insulin resistance, which is necessary for regulating optimal blood sugar levels- as a result, a person consuming a lot of sugary products falls in the category of high risk of developing diabetes.
4. Heart diseases
Excess sugar and its evil side effects can hurt your heart, in a medical sense. A lot of sugars with lots of empty calories take a toll on the heart’s health and the incorporation of triglycerides results in inflammation, fat deposits, and eventually artery clogging. And we all know what happens next – and none of us would like to end up so.
5. Dental cavities
Let’s be honest here. Since our childhood, we’ve all been told not to eat too much candy or else we’ll get cavities. Many stories of supernatural characters were associated with these cavities to keep children away from sweets. But the real reason was sugar. Usually, the bacteria in our mouth fight all germs and keep our teeth clean and healthy. But when we consume sugary products, the bacteria start reacting with their contents and release acid, which leads to damage to teeth.
6. Affect your mood
Sugar can make you feel both high and low, one minute you might feel an improvement in your mood and the other minute you might feel stressed and depressed. Research has been made in this regard and studies reveal that sugary products might increase your risk of depression, as it hampers the regulation of neurotransmitters that regulate blood sugar levels. This sudden swing of moods is not healthy and can cause one to feel socially isolated.
7. Accelerates aging
Sugar doesn’t only affect your internal health but your outer appearance as well. It tampers with the proteins (collagen and elastin) that keep the elasticity of the skin and cause wrinkles and saggy skin over time. You might feel old before time, as these products are found to be involved in the degeneration of telomeres (which keeps our chromosomes healthy and cellular growth optimal) and cause early aging symptoms.
Excess of everything is bad, this has been a most used quote throughout the world, and we cannot stop agreeing with it. Eating too much sugar can deteriorate your mental and physical health and it is not up for the argument. So the game is to choose your food wisely and to do so, you need to know what you are eating, and what it does contain. Educating yourself about your sugar intake will keep you away from its harmful effects. Try cutting sugar from your diet, gradually- as suddenly cutting back on it won’t help you but you’ll slip into depression. Keep doing so, and you’ll never have a sugar problem again.
I look up to fitness as a lifestyle and love to pen down about it. I have 2 years of experience in content writing and I am here to share my research and knowledge on health and fitness.