I’m pretty sure you know that consuming to much sugar is not healthy. But probably you are overeating sweets. I was like that once and I know it is not your fault. Because sugar is addictive and it is very hard to say no to it.
So is sugar healthy? Because you can find added sugar into sweets, candy, sodas. But to complicate things even more you can find sugar added to processed foods like bread, sauce, etc. Just to see that I’m serious about this, 100 grams of bread has 5 grams of sugar and 100 grams of raspberries has 4 grams of sugar. That is wrong!
But the problem is not sugar, the real problem is the amount that we consume. Becasue the recommended daily intake is 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men. But unfortunately, we consume an average of 20 teaspoons per day.
If you consume sugar in the recommended dose now harm can come. But if you consume more then sugar can be dangerous for your body.
Is sugar healthy? Side effects of too much sugar
I don’t want to make sugar the bad guy here and if you eat it in the recommended dose, sugar is not a bad guy. But if you eat too much it will start a chain reaction in your body. And a normal function of your body will be disturbed provoking the disturbance of another function and so on.
Let’s see what too much sugar can do to your body:
Body weight – Your body uses a small amount of sugar for energy and the excess is stored as fat cells. So there is no secret that the more sugar you eat the more you will weight.
Higher risk of type 2 diabetes – People who eat too much sugar have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes compare to those who don’t.
Kidney failure – Once your blood sugar reaches a certain amount, excess sugar will get into your urine, because the kidneys can’t filter all. If this will continue your kidneys will be damaged, preventing them from filtering the waste in your blood.
Your pancreas – After you eat your pancreas pump insulin, signalling cells to open up and take in glucose. But if you eat too much sugar your pancreas is forced to produce more insulin and in time your cells become resistant to insulin forcing your pancreas to overwork and damaging your pancreas.
Your arteries – High levels of insulin affects your arteries, causing their walls to grow and get tense.
Your hearth – Eating too much sugar can increase blood pressure, which it is a risk factor for heart disease. Also if your arteries are tense your heart is forced to work harder.
Your liver – From too much sugar, you can get a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease because your body will store the excess sugar as glycogen in the liver. Which will make your liver work hard and it will become insensible to insulin making your pancreas produce more.
Diabetes – It is true that overeating sugar can increase type 2 diabetes risk. If you eat only 150 kcal of sugar per day (one can of soda), you increase the risk for diabetes by 1.1%.
Addiction – This closes the circle making everything worst, the more you eat the more you crave for it. This happens because after you eat sugar your brain is releasing dopamine, a feel-good chemical. So you become addicted to sugar and sugary foods. And food industry knows this adding sugar into they products making you addicted to their food.
Additionally it affects your joints, your mood, your teeth, your brain and your sexual health.
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What is sugar?
We have talked about the side effect of sugar, now let’s see what is sugar. All sugars are carbohydrates and are used as an energy source.
You can find simple sugar or monosaccharides naturally in fruits, milk and vegetables. In this form you can find 3 types of sugar:
- glucose – Found in some fruits, vegetables and plant juices. This is the form in which sugar is used as energy in our body and all other sugars are converted to glucose in the body.
- fructose – Known as fruit sugar. You can found it in fruits, honey, some grains some root vegetables and sugar cane.
- galactose – Found in milk and dairy products. It is less sweet than glucose
When you combine two simple sugars you get a complex sugar that called disaccharides:
- sucrose – It is the most common form of sugar. You can naturally found it in sugar cane or sugar beet. And it is 50% glucose and 50% fructose
- lactose – You may know this as milk sugar. And it is 50% glucose and 50% galactose.
- maltose – A molecule of maltose is made by combining two molecules of glucose and it is formed during the germination of certain grains. . And It is less sweet than sucrose, glucose or fructose.
When you joining together monosaccharides or disaccharides, in very complex combinations you end up with a type a sugar called polysaccharides. Here are the main types of polysaccharides, and you probably have heard of them: starch, cellulose, pectin, gums and glycogen.
Sugar in your body
Your body will burn a small amount of sugar as energy and it will store the excess sugar as fat cells. After you eat your pancreas is responsible for regulating blood sugar. It does this by releasing insulin which tells cells to open up and less glucose in as body fat. And the more sugar in your blood the more insulin your pancreas will have to release.
Now the problem here is that after you eat sweets your blood sugar will rise fast. And as a response your insulin will rise fast making your blood sugar drop fast. But because of that rapid rise and drop in sugar, your body will want more craving for sugar. And the process repeats.
Now you know! And you will say OK let’s eat less sugar! But your body processes simple carbohydrates as it process sugar. In this situation, it is good to stop eating sweats but it is not enough you also need to have a healthy eating.
I’m saying this because simple carbs have a high glycemic index, meaning they will be digested fast. An example of simple carbs, french fries, bread, pasta, process foods etc. While your body will digest complex carbs slowly and glucose will get into the blood over time with simple carbs your body will digest them fast flooding your bloodstream with glucose.
Fruits sugar vs Refined sugar
I love fruits and I believe that they are good for your health. I’m saying this because I’m a fan of the volumetric diet which encourages a healthy eating with fruit and vegetable eating.
Fruits have sugar but they also have vitamins, minerals and fibers. Making fruits have a low glycemic index. Because of that, your body will digest fruits slowly and glucose will get into your bloodstream constantly.
Also, we can talk about the health benefice of fibers and vitamins that fruits have which you will not get from sweets, cakes, sodas, candy.
Compare a fruit with sweets and you can see that sweets have at least 2 times the amount of sugar that a fruit has. Grapes which is among the sweetest fruits have 16 grams of sugar per 100 grams compared with a cake that has 35 grams of sugar.
Now, fruit juice is another discussion! Because when you squeezed a fruit you get all the sugar and all the juice from the fruit but without fiber and vitamins.
Sugar is bad for you only if you eat too much and to make things even worst it is very addictive. But if you want to eat sugar I suggest you get it from fruits.
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