Sugar is a feel-good ingredient, and we reach for it unconsciously. It uplifts our mood and makes food a celebratory thing. Most of us eat desserts after meals. Similarly, we equate breaks with cookies, cakes, and beverages like tea and occasional with milk and sugar.
Unfortunately, excessive sugar intake can trigger neuroadaptations within the reward system that result in eating behaviour from caloric needs and results in compulsive overeating. Excessive sugar intake also results in health conditions like obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory diseases. This text goals to attach sugar’s impact on the body, brain, and behavior. Also, how and why sugar consumption is connected with addictive behaviours and health issues.
Which Sugar Is Healthy?
Sugar occurs naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates. For instance, vegetables and fruit, grains, and dairy. Consuming whole foods that contain natural sugar is permissible. Whole foods also contain high amounts of fibre, essential minerals, and antioxidants, and dairy incorporates protein and calcium. The body digests these foods slowly; the sugar in them offers a gentle supply of energy to the cells. A balanced food plate consisting of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains also reduces the chance of chronic diseases, resembling diabetes, heart disease, and a few cancers.
Why is Refined Sugar Bad for Us?
Natural sugar extracts produce the refined sugar that is accessible within the food supply. Table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are typical examples of refined sugars. Allow us to understand these common varieties of refined sugars.
Table sugar, or sucrose, is comprised of sugar cane juice. The juice is then filtered, and the syrup gets processed into sugar crystals which can be further processed and packaged into the table sugar.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a sort of refined sugar. Corn syrup gets added to enzymes, increasing the content of the sugar fructose and making it sweeter. The preferred variant is HFCS 55, which incorporates 55% fructose and 42% glucose, which is one other form of sugar. This percentage of fructose is analogous to that of table sugar.
Soft drinks, fruit drinks, flavoured yoghurts, cereals, cookies, cakes, candy, and most processed foods contain refined sugars. Sadly, refined sugar is in unsweetened foods like soups, bread, pickles, and ketchup. They’re abundant in soft drinks and ice cream.
Sugars like table sugar and HFCS promote a spread of detrimental health effects.
Why Does Sugar Cause Diabetes and Other Health Risks
Consuming large amounts of refined sugar, especially in the shape of sugary beverages, has consistently been linked to obesity and excess belly fat, a risk factor for conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Also, high amounts of sugar overload the liver. The liver metabolises sugar the identical way as alcohol and converts dietary carbohydrates to fat. It may possibly result in a more significant accumulation of fat, which can turn into fatty liver disease. In turn, fatty liver disease is a contributor to diabetes and increases the chance for heart disease.
Consuming too much-added sugar can raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation, each of that are pathological pathways to heart disease.
Excess consumption of sugar, especially in sugary beverages, also contributes to weight gain by tricking the body. It turns off its appetite-control system because liquid calories usually are not as satisfying as calories from solid foods. Added sugar intake results in higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease. Because of this, it results in an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
How Much Sugar is Okay?
Unfortunately, a few of us devour way too much-added sugar. Adult men soak up a median of 24 teaspoons of added sugar per day, as per the National Cancer Institute. It’s a whopping 384 calories per day.
Sugar isn’t a required nutrient within the weight-reduction plan. Due to this fact, The Institute of Medicine, which sets Advisable Dietary Allowances, or RDAs, has not issued a proper number for sugar. Nonetheless, the American Heart Association suggests that girls devour not more than 100 calories (about six teaspoons or 24 grams) and men not more than 150 calories (about nine teaspoons or 36 grams) of added sugar per day.
The right way to Cut Down on Sugar?
Listed below are easy suggestions that may assist you to cut down in your sugar consumption.
1. Read Food Labels
Reading food labels is probably the greatest ways to watch your intake of added sugar. Search for the next names for added sugar and check out to eliminate the food containing them:
- Brown sugar
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrates
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt sugar
- Syrup sugar molecules ending in “OSE” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose).
Total sugar, which incorporates added sugar, is commonly listed in grams. Note the variety of grams of sugar per serving in addition to the full variety of servings. If it says 5 grams of sugar per serving, but when the usual amount is 5-6 servings, you possibly can easily devour 30 grams of sugar.
Develop a Love for Plain Beverages
Keep track of the sugar you add to beverages. About half of added sugar comes from beverages, including coffee and tea. Go for herbal tea or black coffee; infuse them as an alternative of boiling them. The fragrant liquid doesn’t require sugar. Though it’s an acquired taste, ditching tea or coffee with milk and sugar might help cut down on refined sugar intake substantially.
Have Whole Foods As an alternative of Ready-to-Eat Packaged Food
Most ready-to-eat cereals, store-bought muesli, granola, chocolate bars, candy, pie, ice cream, croissants, some bread, baked goods, baked beans, canned vegetables and fruit, jams, nut butter, spreads, contain fructose or corn syrup. Sadly, savoury foods like yoghurts, peanut butter, low-fat sauces, ketchup, salad dressings, and pasta sauces contain hidden sugar too.
Stock Up on Fresh Fruits
Eating fresh fruit is one in every of the healthiest ways to satisfy a sweet craving. To get essentially the most advantages, pair it with protein and healthy fats, resembling nuts or nut butter (which digest slowly).
Examples of fruit snack pairings include:
- Apples and low-fat plain yoghurt
- Banana and peanut butter on whole-grain toast
- Grapes and low-fat cheddar cheese
- Orange and cashews
The less one sleeps, the more appetising sugary snacks and meals change into, found a UC Berkeley study. Lack of sleep increases appetite. Even turning in half-hour earlier could make a difference to sugar cravings.
Stay Away From Dehydrated or Dried Fruits
Dried and canned fruits are stuffed with refined sugar. Food manufacturers often add sugar, juice concentrates, vegetable oil, and syrups to increase their fruit’s shelf life and improve the taste.
Chew Fennel Seeds
Chewing fennel seeds to assist to cut back sugar cravings. They’re naturally satiating and don’t contain any sugars. And, as a bonus, fennel seeds are known to stop belly bloat and act as an appetite suppressant, providing you with a double dose of belly-trimming advantages.
Eat Smaller Portions of High-Sugar Foods
If one desires to reduce on sugar, one can start by cutting serving sizes in half. Having a healthy plating method and eating something fresh and healthy, like nuts, fruits, salads, and purees, gives you a smaller fruit sugar boost without sacrificing the sugary taste you crave.
Have a Savoury Breakfast
Having a sweet breakfast sets up for all-day-long sugar cravings. Sprinkle cinnamon into your coffee or sweeten a low-sugar cereal with slices of fruit. Higher to go for a savoury morning meal: Whip up a dosa or veggie omelette or top your poha with a boiled egg as an alternative of sugary cereal or Sheera or Jalebis.
Sweeten Naturally with Fruit
Buy plain Greek yoghurt or eat dahi and add fruit and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Except for its flavour, studies show that cinnamon may aid blood sugar control and boost metabolism.
Buy Dark Chocolate
Go for 90-95% dark chocolate as an alternative of milk, which has nearly twice the sugar content. Dark chocolate also has more antioxidants than its milkier counterpart.
Advantages of Not Eating Sugar
There are several advantages of cutting out sugar: improved oral or heart health and weight reduction. Now we come to the crucial query? Is fruit sugar bad? It’s necessary to know that, though sugar isn’t a mandatory nutrient, eating it sparsely is effective. For instance, sugar also exists naturally in fruits, milk, and vegetables. It’s not mandatory to eliminate all these natural foods. As an alternative, one must eat added sugar sparsely. Sugar detox is a well-liked term. Below are some pros and cons of not eating sugar.
Pros of Not Eating Sugar
1. Aids in Weight Management
Research has shown that diets high in added sugar are related to obesity. Specifically, diets high in added sugar result in belly fat. Also referred to as visceral fat, it is expounded to chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.
2. Regulates Your Blood Sugar
Insulin resistance occurs when the pancreas releases insulin to maintain up with excess sugar in your bloodstream. It may possibly result in prediabetes and kind 2 diabetes. Several studies show that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages has an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Reducing added sugar intake, exercising, and following a healthy weight-reduction plan can improve insulin sensitivity.
3. Helps Improve Your Heart Health
Added sugars can result in heart disease. Diets with greater than 20% of total calories from added sugars are related to high levels of triglycerides, a sort of blood fat. Elevated triglycerides can boost your risk for heart disease. Even when one is at a healthy weight, reducing added sugar intake might help keep blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides at healthy levels. Due to this fact, this can even decrease your risk for heart disease.
4. Improves Your Oral Health
Sugar breakdown by bacteria within the mouth produces an acid that destroys the surface of teeth, causing dental cavities. An excessive amount of bacteria can even result in infected or inflamed gums, leading to gum disease. Studies show that reducing the quantity of added sugar within the weight-reduction plan to lower than 10% of every day calories every day can lower the chance of developing cavities.
5. Lowers Your Risk of Depression
Food affects brain functions, thus impacting mood. For instance, a lower risk of depressive symptoms is linked to eating foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Several studies have also suggested that sugary beverages can result in the next risk of depressive symptoms and depression.
6. Reduces Pimples and Improve Skin Health
“You’re what you eat”- a famous adage. This is especially true relating to sugar. An excessive amount of sugar can mean inflammation and increased production of sebum, an oily skin substance. Pimples can occur resulting from an excessive amount of sebum. Cutting back on added sugar may additionally help slow your skin from ageing. Sugar and grilled, fried, or roasted foods might contain more substances that react with the collagen and elastic fibres in your skin.
7. Reduces Your Risk of Liver Disease
Studies show excessive added sugar is linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The sort of liver disease is unrelated to:
- Heavy metal poisoning
- A viral infection
The liver’s job is to interrupt down fructose, a sort of added sugar. Excess fructose, especially from sweetened beverages, that reaches the liver is become fat.
Cons of Not Eating Sugar
One possible effect may very well be lower energy levels if one cuts out all sugar. Sugars are carbohydrates, a macronutrient broken right down to make glucose, which is the body’s primary energy source.
Giving up sugar might affect the mood. When one eats sugar, the brain releases endorphins and dopamine. These hormones make one feel good in the intervening time. If one is used to feeling that way resulting from sugar intake, it could negatively impact their emotions.
Some people may attempt to stop eating sugar on the spot. By not doing it step by step, they could find it difficult to not devour foods or drinks with added sugar later.
Aside from cutting down on sugar, learn to administer sugar cravings as well. It’s necessary to appreciate that a sugar craving isn’t the identical as hunger. It’s not your body calling for energy, it’s your brain calling for something that releases plenty of dopamine within the reward system.
Listed below are just a few tricks to stop sugar cravings:
- Drink a glass of water as dehydration could cause cravings
- Eat fruits.
- Eat more protein. Protein is great for satiety, and it helps in reducing cravings as well.
- Avoid excess stress.
- Take a multivitamin, it will help prevent any deficiencies which result in cravings.
The Final Word
Reducing sugar intake supports a healthy weight, decreases the chance of depression, and lowers the chance of heart disease, amongst other health advantages. The excellent news is that one doesn’t necessarily must quit sugar altogether. A limited amount of added sugar every day is effective. Check with a healthcare provider about ways to administer your sugar consumption, especially if you’ve a particular health condition related to blood sugar or are vulnerable to developing one.
Disclaimer: The aim of this text is simply to disperse knowledge and lift awareness. It doesn’t intend to switch medical advice from professionals. For further information, please contact our certified nutritionists Here.
FAQs (Often Asked Questions)
Q: How does sugar impact weight gain?
A: Consuming excessive sugar can contribute to weight gain because it provides empty calories without significant dietary value. Moreover, high sugar intake may result in an increased appetite and overeating.
Q: Does sugar consumption affect mental health?
A: Yes, excessive sugar intake has been linked to mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can impact neurotransmitters and contribute to mental health issues.
Q: What are the consequences of sugar on the cardiovascular system?
A: High sugar intake is related to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. It may possibly result in elevated blood pressure, inflammation, and unhealthy lipid profiles.
Q: How does sugar impact dental health?
A: Sugar is a significant contributor to tooth decay. Bacteria within the mouth feed on sugar, producing acid that erodes tooth enamel, resulting in cavities and other dental problems.
Q: Can sugar consumption contribute to diabetes?
A: Excessive sugar intake, especially from sugary beverages and processed foods, is linked to insulin resistance and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Q: Does sugar affect skin health?
A: High sugar intake may contribute to skin issues resembling pimples and premature ageing. Elevated blood sugar levels can result in inflammation, affecting the skin’s appearance.
Q: How does sugar impact energy levels?
A: While sugar provides a fast energy boost, it is commonly followed by a crash in energy levels. Consuming an excessive amount of sugar can contribute to fatigue and decreased overall energy.
Q: Can sugar consumption result in fatty liver disease?
A: Yes, excessive sugar intake, particularly fructose, has been linked to the event of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which might progress to more severe liver conditions.
Q: What’s the connection between sugar and insulin resistance?
A: High sugar intake can result in insulin resistance, where cells change into less conscious of insulin. This condition is a precursor to type 2 diabetes and can even contribute to weight gain.
Q: How does sugar impact the immune system?
A: Consuming an excessive amount of sugar can suppress the immune system’s function. It hinders the power of white blood cells to effectively combat bacteria and viruses, making the body more liable to infections.