When we hear the word Sugar, it creates a happy feeling in our head. The sweet taste is related to so many memories of ourselves. Sweetness brings back the holidays, family time, Birthdays, so much more in our brains. Something so innocent in our mind is causing some serious issues in our bodies. Overconsumption of it has been a solution to our busy schedule. An average American consumes 6 cups per week what they don’t even realize. Since food industries have tricked us with their gimmick marketing and doing business with our health.
What is sugar?
It is the simplest form of carbohydrates monosaccharides and disaccharides. Can be naturally found in fruits and vegetables. Added sugar is what we add to our food. That is extracted from plants. After that, the juice is converted into a granulated structure. By definition, the one we use in our food or used in the food industry is called sucrose. Sucrose is a disaccharide made out of glucose and fructose.
A document of a Sanskrit lecturer from ancient India, written between 1500-500 BC, explained that sugar is first manufactured in the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent. History has five stages:
- In tropical India and Southeast Asia, cane juice was extracted first.
- Two thousand years ago, the granular structure was manufactured in India also in the early centuries of AD; the crystal was refined.
- In the Islamic world, the manufacturing process got popular, to some extent improved.
- In the 16th century, sugar manufacturing got popular in the West Indies and tropical parts of America. In the 17th and 19th centuries, the manufacturing process improved immensely worldwide.
- In the 19th and 20th centuries, other sweeteners were getting developed.
Added vs. natural sugar:
Natural glucose and fructose are found naturally in foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts. It is the healthiest form of simple carbohydrate that helps to stabilize our energy levels and comes with tons of nutrients.
On the contrary, added ones are chemically processed. We use it to make our food sweet which have serious health hazard if we overdo it.
Is sugar bad for you?
As explained earlier, the simple carbohydrates that come straight out the nature come with great benefits. Foods that contain natural glucose and fructose are balanced with natural fiber. As we eat those foods, natural fiber makes our blood glucose level stable. But the added ones, we use in our coffee every morning don’t have any fiber or any nutrients whatsoever.
It is just some empty calories. When that enters our body our blood glucose level gets elevated, this comes with numerous health problems. In general, sugar is not bad. When we use the excess of it in our day-to-day life that is harmful.
What happens when you eat too much-added sugar?
Simple carbohydrates increase our blood glucose level. If it is not combined with enough fiber, protein, or fat, it gives a spike within our bloodstream, and sometimes blood glucose level falls tremendously. As a result, we crave more of it since we feel lethargic after the crash. That is a constant cycle. Overgoing spikes and crashes can cause many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, inflammation in the body, insulin resistance, hormonal imbalance, so on
We have beneficial gut bacteria in our intestines. These help us in better digestion, improving our immunity. Once we eat excessive simple carbohydrates, the good microbiome gets reduced in number therefore there is an increase in pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Especially, changing the total environment of the gut can lead to many gut issues. Leaky gut is one of them. Also, it disrupts the whole maintenance process of the gut.
Yes, simple carbohydrates can slow down our immunity temporarily. Afterward, our body gets more prone to infectious and viral diseases. Research shows that it takes only 75 grams of it to lower our immunity.
Excess simple carbohydrate consumption has a direct connection to our mental health. Lots of studies have shown that eating a lot of it, can lead to depression. Overconsumption can cause an imbalance in brain chemicals, these brain chemicals can lead to several mental illnesses in the long run.
The foremost victim of simple carbohydrates is our liver. Uncontrolled amounts of refined carbohydrates and other sweeteners can pilot to fatty liver. It causes the same damaging effect on the liver as alcohol. In the future, a diet that includes refined carbohydrates as the dominant source of food can develop severe liver disease.
An excess amount of refined carbohydrates can affect the heart. It makes the arteries of the whole body inflamed and thicker as well. That can end in heart attack, stokes and so on.
It also damages the kidney. Over time excess glucose levels in the blood can make the vessels of the kidney narrow and clogged.
Excess carbohydrates is one of the most efficient culprits of our bad skin days. It creates inflammation in the whole system where the skin is a leading part. It can make acne more inflamed. Also, causes faster aging. It breaks down the collagen of the skin, making it look soggy and dull.
Sugar is addictive:
Studies explain that sugar can be more addictive than cocaine. Consumption of it promotes dopamine release in the brain and makes us feel good. When our blood glucose level gets crashed, we want to have more of it because of its addictive nature. The cycle goes on and on. After a certain period, we get addicted to it and we all know how hard getting rid of addiction is.
Sugar and weight gain:
Weight gain happens when we eat more calories than our total caloric need in a day. The human body stores extra calories as fat. So it is clear, if we eat an excessive amount of simple carbs, containing extra calories in our daily diet, which will convert into fat immediately. That is how we gain extra pounds.
What to expect after quitting sugar:
Reducing or quitting simple carbs from your diet will, first of all, level up your blood glucose level. You will feel energized throughout the day. Some extra weight can come off too. Your skin will look better. Inflammation within the body will start to heal. Your mood will be so much better than before.
End of the day, we cannot blame a whole industry or culture for ruining our health. Our health is our responsibility. Little smart decision goes a long way. Besides, we can’t demonize carbohydrates or simple carbohydrates. As we need it for survival. So, the best thing is the balance. Ultimately, healthy balanced life is what we all desire.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Do I have to cut down on all of the sugar?
Not really. Occasional sweet treats will not harm you in the future. These treats will help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Munching on a treat every once in a while will keep you satisfied and keep you safe from binging.
Are sugar alternatives better than white sugar?
No, alternatives create the same effect in the body as a simple carbohydrate. So replacing them with alternatives will not help in the long run.
How much sugar is permissible in a day?
For men, it is six teaspoons a day and for a woman, it is nine. But we have to remember this limit is not for every day.
How to detect sugar in the food?
Food labels contain every detail. So, turn around the package, read the label that will show how much carbohydrate is in that food.