Processed sugar is an additive that may be considered essential to many foods and beverages that we consume. The sweetening effect that sugar has can transform an entire meal. Isn’t it ironic that just a few spoons of sugar are what can make or break what you eat? This is what we tend to believe, yet many natural foods are healthy and delicious without any added additive.
Refined sugar has uncountable hazardous effects on humans. Over-consumption of processed sugar is the top cause of obesity in America today. Research shows that the average American consumes about fifty-three teaspoons of processed sugar in a day instead of the recommended eight teaspoons. Cutting sugar from your diet could have amazing effects on your health and wellbeing.
Why is sugar bad for you?
- Excessive consumption can cause cancer.
Immoderate intake of refined sugar results in the secretion of excessive amounts of insulin, a hormone responsible for the growth of cells. This could be a good thing for beneficial cells. However, it also causes the growth of cancer cells, which may grow and jeopardize your life if not detected early enough.
- It has a negative effect on your cholesterol
Too much sugar lowers the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which is the “good cholesterol” and increases the levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL)-the “bad cholesterol.” This effect results in the formation of a layer of fat on the walls of the heart and is believed to cause heart attacks.
- It is an aging factor
When sugar is in one’s bloodstream, it embeds itself to existing proteins to form new harmful molecules known as Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs). The AGEs damage various proteins around them, including elastin, which is responsible for the elasticity of the skin. When the elastin is destroyed, your skin will lack its firmness, making it sag and wrinkled.
- It Increases the chances of acne
It has been discovered that a diet consisting of excessive added sugar may cause skin break-out. Too much sugar results in inflammation and over-production of body oils. These two factors have a direct linkage to developing acne.
- Too much sugar is bad for the brain
Effects of sugar on the brain include short term memory loss, which is an aftereffect of inflammation caused by unlimited consumption of added sugar. Also, sugar can have an addictive effect due to the release of the hormone dopamine. This hormone is the same one that is secreted when one takes drugs, alcohol, or caffeine. It is linked to feeling “high” and active, a sensation that can be quite addictive to many people.
- Tooth decay
Sugar activates bacteria in the mouth, which produce acids that attack the enamel of the teeth. Tooth decay can lead to cavities, and if not attended to on time, it may lead to pain and tooth loss.
Fructose, which is half of the sugar, does not affect our satiety, which means that no impulses will be sent to signal satisfaction. This increases the consumption of sugary foods beyond one’s fill, which results in adding weight hence obesity.
Cutting sugar off one’s diet is not an easy thing to do. In reality, the majority cannot just stop consuming sugar abruptly. It is preferred to cut down a little at a time.
How to avoid added sugar
Another effective way of avoiding added sugar is by following a Sugar elimination diet plan. This is a program that aims to either substitute added sugar with natural sweeteners or curb sugar consumption completely.
- Minimize or curb the intake of sugary drinks. Soft drinks and processed juices are drinks that contain a lot of sugar. Whenever you crave a soda or juice, try and drink water instead. Also, stick to unsweetened beverages.
- Instead of eating sugary snacks and foods, opt for fresh fruits, yogurts, and dark chocolate.
- Eat whole foods since they contain no added sugar and are very nutritious and beneficial to the body.
- Always try and go for natural sweeteners such as stevia and honey. These substances serve the same purpose as sugar but contain little to no calories, which is an added advantage.
- Another effective way of avoiding added sugar is by following a Sugar elimination diet plan.