Sugar – the Root of All Evil?

Sugar

Is sugar really THAT bad for you?

Why You Shouldn’t Eat Sugar and the Effects It Can Have on Your Body

According to the University of California at Berkeley, the average American consumes around 22-28 teaspoons of sugar a day, with most of that coming from sucrose (table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup. That’s 350-440 extra calories daily with little to no nutritional value. Some people consume even more than this amount, putting themselves at risk for obesity-related conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Eliminating excessive amounts of empty calories in the form of sugar can help you lose weight without much effort.

It affects your blood sugar levels.

When you consume foods that contain sugar, the pancreas releases insulin to compensate for it. If you don’t eat excessive amounts at one time, and you don’t have any health problems (like diabetes), there might not be a noticeable change.

This isn’t the case with a lot of people, though. A can of soda, ice cream, some grapes, sugar-laden yogurt and a blueberry tart are the norm for some people, and that amount will prompt your pancreas to release enough insulin to process all that junk. Once that insulin is released, your blood levels go up then come down hard, lower than before you began eating.

This makes you feel tired and lazy, and pretty soon you’re going to feel hungry again. This is a sign that your blood sugar has crashed and it is signaling your body to eat once more. For some, this means consuming even more sugar to get them feeling good again before the inevitable crash. This is the beginning of a vicious cycle.

About 2 years ago I set out to kick almost all unnatural sugar out of my diet. Those coffees and teas went from 2 tea-spoons down to one and then eventually I ended up not having any. I haven’t bought a bag of sugar for donkeys!

I love chocolate in small doses now and again so of course I still do take in some unnatural sugars – but to be fair to my Mum she brought me and my brothers up without a cookie or sweet jar. So that’s probably why I find it a lot easier than most to resist the temptation.

 

So how do you put a stop to this?

Before anything else, recognize the problem. Know that too much sugar, even natural forms of sugar like agave nectar, honey and the like, isn’t good for you. There’s no way around it, not even sugar-free options despite how promising those foods may be. To break the cycle, you must moderate your intake of sugar and keep track of it. You only need so much in a day, especially if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, so when you do consume sugar, be sure not to overdo it despite the cravings your body may be having. Stop the cycle in its tracks before it goes on endlessly.

Too much fructose fills up liver glycogen, which leads to stored body fat once you spill over

Your liver has a smaller capacity to store glycogen, which is one of the forms of energy that the body uses. Once this storage tank is full, particularly with too much fructose, it will spillover and you will store fat.

Not all sources of fructose are bad. The fructose found in fruits, is better because of the presence of dietary fiber which promotes satiety. On the other hand, high fructose corn syrup, which is present in countless foods nowadays, is much more problematic. Fructose isn’t metabolized like other forms of sugar. That’s because the liver is solely responsible for breaking down fructose. Bottom line is, stay away from excessive amounts of fructose, particularly high fructose corn syrup. You can achieve this by consuming less processed foods.

In the case of fruits, you must still moderate consumption especially if you have a problem with excess body fat. Yes they are full of vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber, among many other good things, but the calories will still rack up. If you find that you’re constantly eating fruits throughout the day and you notice that you’re storing more body fat as a result, cut down on your intake and consider timing your consumption to pre and post workout.

Your heart is screaming out for help!

Sugar bad for your heart

You need to look after your heart

In 2013, a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that sugar may have an adverse effect on the pumping mechanism of the heart, and it could even increase the risk of heart failure. Sugar could change the muscle protein of the heart, and it is this change that could lead to heart failure. What’s alarming is that approximately half of the people that are diagnosed with heart failure die within five years.

Now if that isn’t scary I don’t know what is?!

If your heart is in bad shape to begin with, don’t make it worse by slowly poisoning yourself with sugar. Should you have a problem kicking the habit, at least invest some time into exercising regularly to help promote health and fitness. As you find yourself feeling better from the workouts the idea of eating sugar will almost always fade away.

Don’t just use sugar as an excuse for a pre-workout meal either. Put down that pop tart and opt for whole foods instead. You still get the energy, but without the harmful side effects and the empty calories.

Sugar could be the reason for your belly fat

In the past 30 years, adolescent obesity rates have shot up, along with childhood obesity rates. This is no secret anymore, but it’s worth repeating anyway. When you think about it, it shouldn’t even come as a surprise. Just take a look at carnivals, school lunches, amusement parks, or even Chuck E. Cheese. Do you see any children eating their veggies? Do they even serve veggies? What about cotton candy? Funnel cake? Candy bars?

Another thing, notice the fat accumulation in the belly area of a child’s body and try to observe if he or she is carrying a fructose-laden beverage such as Coke. A study conducted in 2010 found that excess fructose intake caused visceral fat cells to mature. This sets the stage for a bigger belly once those children mature, along with an augmented risk for developing heart disease and diabetes. If you’re getting lean everywhere except your stomach, take a look at your diet. It could be excessive sugar intake keeping you from the coveted six-pack.

It’s deadly in more ways than one

A study conducted in 2008 saw evidence that links excess fructose consumption with a condition called leptin resistance. Leptin is a very important hormone when it comes to fat loss. It tells the body when you’ve had enough food. Sometimes we ignore it; that doesn’t mean we are insulin resistant. For others, there is simply no signal. Without leptin and without people consciously making an effort to stop eating, obesity isn’t that far off. Don’t make it worse for yourself by indulging in cakes and candy all day everyday because it could be leading you to an early death.

If your goal is sustainable health and fitness, it’s better to address some of your problems than try to work around them by counting macros or calorie counting.

Sugar can feed cancer

Cancer affects so many of us. It’s horrible. I hate it, everyone hates it. However we can take steps to possibly prevent it.

When it comes to nutrition, sugar and insulin usually go hand in hand. That’s because insulin is sugar’s little companion, and when one consumes too much sugar repeatedly, the effects of insulin are dulled or it simply does not work anymore. Insulin resistance has been linked to cancer in more than one study. A study conducted in 2013 found that sugars found in the intestines affects the susceptibility of some cells to cancer formation. This is because like other body cells, cancer cells feed on glucose for energy.

Sugar is highly addictive.

Sugar-Addiction

Image Credit: plantbaseddietitian.com

Amen? Amen. There’s truth to the above statement. Abusive drugs cause the brain to release dopamine in the brain. Sugar is the same way. The problem here is that whole foods rarely cause such a massive dopamine release. Those with a susceptibility to addiction can easily become junk food addicts in no time at all if they’re not careful. They say the only thing that works for true addiction is abstinence, so the ‘moderation’ rule may not be for you.

 

The Bottom Line

There’s no way around it: sugar may do you more harm than good especially if you can’t control your sweet tooth. So how do you deal with this addiction or cycle, or whatever else you may want to call it? Sugar management in the best way you know how. Some people say that cutting sugar out altogether is the best solution, while others simply keep their treats to a minimum. Do what works best for you, but do it gradually. This is because some people end up binging when they try to go from having 10 servings of sugar a day to none.

Sugar is quickly becoming known as a silent killer. That in itself, is reason enough to ditch the habit and if needed, manage your addiction. It’s not totally your fault; blame some manufacturers for putting high fructose corn syrup in every single thing, even those that need no additional sweetness.

Look out for labels marked with ‘no sugar added’.

Beware of ‘sugarfree’ options.

Why? Well, because those can be just as bad as sugar but in different ways. The same way ‘fat-free’ or ‘lite’ options can be loaded with chemicals and other suspicious compounds as well.

Look out for your health, stay away from sugar, and see a massive improvement in your fat loss efforts.

 

Sugar – the Root of All Evil?

There are so many different kinds of sugar out there from many different sources that it is hard to know what you are even looking at when you read food labels.  Sugar comes in the form of raw, cane, or brown sugar, molasses, crystals, syrups, fruit concentrate, and anything that ends with –ose.  Many people eat sugar every day, a simple carbohydrate with no nutritional value, but sugar is damaging to our health in any form.  Table sugar is refined from sugar cane or sugar beets, and high-fructose corn syrup comes from processing corn to produce a sweet syrup.  Each of these is processed, and just like processed foods they work against our goals to be healthy and stay at a healthy weight.

5 Foods to Avoid That Are High in Sugar

As a very short list of foods that are high in sugar, these foods and drinks are terrible and should be avoided at all times.

  • Soda
  • Candies
  • Baked goods
  • Rubbish Commercial ‘Fruit’ Juice
  • Low-fat diet foods

Sodas have a lot of sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, unless you opt for the diet variety which is not better for you at all.  Fruit juices have added sugar to rival soda, so you should always squeeze your own juice if you feel that you have to have it, but still only drink small amounts.  Candies and baked sweets are made to be sweet.  Stay away from them!  If you need a sweet fix, eat some fruit, or do something to keep your mind off of your craving.  Low-fat diet foods may sound healthy, but they really are not.  These are processed foods with the fat removed to leave you with a tasteless stuff that manufacturers then add sugar to because sugar has no fat but adds flavor back to the food.

Natural Sugars vs. Artificial Sugars

Natural sugars are those that come from nature, even those that are processed like table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.  Agave nectar, fruit juice concentrate, malt syrup, even cane crystals are all from nature and are not created in a lab like Frankenstein.  Honey and Stevia have been used to sweeten foods and drinks for thousands of years and are among the best of all natural sweeteners.  Artificial sweeteners like Aspartame and Splenda have been created in labs to be much sweeter than natural sugars.  They are meant to help us consume sweet foods and drinks without added calories, but there are many possible side effects, plus proven side effects that make artificial sweeteners worse for you than natural sugars.  Our bodies do not yet know how to handle fake sugars, and our insulin levels still spike.  We also still our tolerance to insulin using fake sugars.

Why Sugar is Bad for Our Bodies

Sugar has absolutely no place in our diets.  Unless it comes from fruits or some vegetables like corn, our bodies are not able to handle long-term effects of sugar.  It is simply empty calories with no nutritional value.  Worst of all, our bodies do not need it, at all.  We make glucose in our bodies from protein and fat.  Sugar is half glucose, half fructose, and when we have large amounts of fructose it ends up being turned into fat, with abdominal fat the worst and most dangerous of all.  Fat builds up in the liver because causing a non-alcoholic live disease.

Importance of Reading Food Labels

Sugar has so many names that it can be difficult to notice them all on food labels, but it is important to always take the time to see what is in the food and drinks that you are consuming.  If a sugar is in the first few ingredients, then leave it at the store.  If there is more than one kind of sugar, which there often is, then put it down.  Food manufacturers try to be tricky by using multiple types of sugar so that the sugar is put further down on the list.  If you’re new to reading food labels, the ingredients are listed from most to least abundant.

Conclusion

If you can’t quit sugar cold turkey, just try to wean yourself off of it over time.  Set attainable goals so that you do not get discouraged, and know which sugars are least offensive.  For example, natural raw honey that has not been through processing provides sweetness, delicious flavor, and vitamins.  Pure glucose cost a bit more than table sugar, but is not as harmful to your body as fructose.  Stevia is a natural sweetener from a plant that you can grow at home and is related to the sunflower.  Just remember that your goal is to remove sugar from your diet to live a long, healthy life.

 

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