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If you believe that the only way sugar makes its way into your system is through desserts and drinks, you might want to think again.
Sugar is literally everywhere! And no, I’m not kidding. From your favorite salad dressing to the so-called healthy low-fat yogurt, from canned fruits to sports drinks — everything has some amount of added sugar. When consumed in large quantities, these foods can cause serious harm and lead to many diseases.
There may be hidden sugar in your diet that you don’t know you’re eating. In fact, the average person consumes around 22 teaspoons of sugar on a daily basis, which is more than 4 times what the FDA recommends. Source
To be clear:
- The natural form of sugar that’s present in the form of fructose and lactose in fruits and vegetables is less harmful.
- It’s the added sugar (for flavors and textures) that is your true enemy.
We all end up consuming so many empty calories, which can be easily avoided. The average person intakes anywhere between 300 to 700 calories only from added sugars. Whoa!
Experts agree that some added sugar in the diet is fine. But the truth is, most Americans are consuming way too much — on average, nearly 66 pounds of added sugar per person, every year. This could be affecting us in ways that make us prone to craving more sugar and to obesity. Source
Following are 5 things that artificial sugar does to your body. These are great reasons to take a step back and reconsider how much sugar you’re eating:
#1 – Sugar can cause obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Yes, sugar causes all these and many other related diseases.
Sugar, being a carbohydrate, is converted into fat in your body.
It elevates your insulin and leptin resistance and affects the blood sugar levels in your body. This, in turn, leads to more sugar cravings. Thus, the cycle continues — which eventually leads to obesity. And obesity is the major cause of high blood pressure.
#2 – There’s a link between sugar & heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.
Your heart already has a lot to do. And you’re only increasing its job by consuming sugar.
Sugar intake can make you fat and lead to diabetes and high blood pressure.
High blood pressure can also affect your circulatory system — which, in the long run, can lead to heart diseases, stroke, kidney damage, and other coronary diseases.
#3 – Sugar has no vitamins or minerals.
The industrially refined sugar lacks minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium, etc.
Sugar doesn’t really pass on anything else to your body. All it does is caters to your sweet tooth! But it’s just empty calories.
Also, products that have added sugar in them are low in nutrients. So why would you continue eating foods that have little-to-no benefit?
#4 – Sugar leads to high cholesterol.
No, I’m not talking about HDL or the good cholesterol. I’m talking about LDL or the bad cholesterol.
Sugar consumption increases the levels of blood fats or triglycerides in your body.
High levels of LDL and triglycerides lead to severe heart diseases as they clog your arteries and affect your circulatory system.
#5 – Sugar and insomnia and memories go hand in hand.
Sugar triggers the release of a hormone called cortisol that disturbs your sleep patterns.
You feel sluggish and might even need to take small naps several times a day. This could lead to irritability, mood swings, and anxiety.
Sugar also hinders the memory power of your brain. For example, sugar may lead to a reduction in the production of a chemical in your blood called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Lack of this chemical causes you to have difficulty forming new memories and remembering old ones.
Take this quiz to see if you’re addicted to sugar, then see what your answers mean.
To sum it all up, giving up sugar means a better figure, better sleep, better skin, better overall health, and the list goes on.
There are plenty of foods that are sugar-free and way more healthier.
Although these alone are good enough reasons to give your daily diet another thought and skip the sugars in your food, there are many other good things that will happen to your body as well. So, start today — there’s no better time to give up sugar than right now!
It’s recommended that women eat 100 calories from added sugars each day, just 5% of their daily diet. Wondering what 100 calories of sugar looks like? About 6 teaspoons. That may seem like a lot, but sugar tends to turn up in some surprising sources — like bread and yogurt. So educate yourself on the sweet culprits and learn how to cut back on sugar. Since nutrition labels list both naturally occurring and added sugars, check the ingredient list for a more detailed account of which kind of sugars a food item may have; anything containing fruit or dairy will contain natural sugars. Source
As a regular practitioner and adviser of everything related to health, fitness, and yoga, I also write and contribute to this knowledge ecosystem. I strongly believe that the organic food you find in your pantry provides the best benefits for good health.