Sugar is everywhere! It's in soda, candy, yogurt, cake, milk products, grain products and so on. There seems to be no end to the amount of sugar in every product. We never used to have this much sugar in our daily products, but overly processed food uses it for extra sweeteners and preservatives. With the addition of naturally-occurring sugars in foods like fruit and milk, our bodies are overloaded with sugar.
You may be thinking "oh, well it's just a bit of sugar" but that's where you're wrong. Sugar can greatly effect your life and here are 20 ways it does!
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Tooth Decay Sugar creates a sticky combo of carbohydrates when you eat sugar. Protein starts to form on your teeth and it traps bacteria. This bacteria uses fructose from the sugar to create lactic acid and wear away tooth enamel. Brushing and flossing helps to battle tooth decay but eating less sugar help to prevent those nasty cavities too! (via Healthy Eating)
Heart Disease An excess of sugar can cause your triglyceride levels to rise. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. Your body converts all your foods into triglycerides and stores them in your fat cells until you need them. Hormones later release your triglycerides when you need energy. A high triglyceride level can greatly affect your heart health and can lead to heart disease. (via Mayo Clinic)
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Older Looking Skin Your skin has two major proteins that help to make you look young: elastin and collagen. Dr. Fredric Brandt, a dermatologist, says that sugar helps to break down those two proteins which can lead to older looks. If you simply cut out foods that are high in sugar you can make yourself look younger. (via Healthy Eating)
Weak Immune System After you down that can of soda, which has 33 grams of sugar, your immune system will be suppressed. Studies have shown that sugars like glucose, table sugar, fructose and honey cause your white blood cells to have a 50 percent drop in the ability to engulf and kill bacteria. This immune-suppressing effect was noticed about 30 minutes after ingestion and can last up to five hours! (via Ask DrSears)
Obesity Beware of foods with a high glycemic index! It helps your body to produce LPL (lipoprotein liapase) which is an enzyme that encourages your body to store food in fat cells. Most of the foods with a high glycemic index don't have the fiber needed to fill you up. You just keep eating and binging, putting yourself at risk for obesity. Healthier sugars like in fresh fruit have the fiber needed to fill you up and stop your binges. That fiber also allows your body to digest the food more slowly and raise your blood sugar less drastically. (via Ask DrSears)
Diabetes All that binging on unhealthy, sugary food can also lead to diabetes. Wow, doesn't sugar sound really great now? A study has found that women who regularly consume one or more sodas per day have an 83 percent increased risk for type 2 diabetes. The less soda the women drank the less risk they had for diabetes. (via Calorie King)
Nutritional Deficiency All those sugary, yummy snacks you eat are taking the place of much needed fruits and vegetables. You lose out on your important nutrients because you're too full after eating your snacks. Even supposedly healthy choices may be bad for you. Choosing a fat-free item just may be substituting sugar for fat. So, you lose the taste and still get no nutritional value. (via Calorie King)
Crashes You might have a donut or a piece of cake and afterwards you feel lethargic, more hungry, anxious and a whole slew of other symptoms. These are symptoms of a crash, also known as reactive hypoglycemia. You can experience this one to three hours after eating. You can avoid this by limiting your sugar intake or by being careful of what you eat on an empty stomach. Eating smaller and more frequent meals helps too. (via Healthy Eating)
Empty Calories There is about 16 calories in one teaspoon of sugar, and a soda has about 160 calories, which is 10 teaspoons of sugar. These calories do absolutely nothing for you. It has no nutritional value and will most likely end up being stored in your fat cells. It won't give you any energy, so instead, try replacing it with a piece of fruit for the energy and fiber that your body needs. (via Examiner)
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High Blood Pressure With all the stress in your life and your hectic schedule, it's no wonder that you have high blood pressure. But what if there was an easy way to lower that? Researchers have found that by simply lowering your sugar intake may help you to lower your blood pressure. This greatly reduces your risk to heart disease! (via Examiner)
Liver Damage Sugar is made up of glucose and fructose. The fructose in sugar can only be metabolized by your liver. Your liver transforms the fructose into fat and send it to your fat cells. In high enough amounts it can be a toxin to your liver. An excess in fructose can damage your liver enough to lead to insulin resistance and fatty liver disease. Fructose actually has the same effects that alcohol has on the liver. (via Paleo Leap)
Fatty Liver Disease When fructose is turned into fat, it gets sent out of the liver as cholesterol particles. Sometimes not all of the fats get out and can get lodged in the liver. This causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which is related to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. The symptoms associated with fatty liver disease are fatigue, mild jaundice and dull abdominal discomfort. People with this disease on average eat up to two to three times as much fructose as a someone without it. (via Authority Nutrition)
Leptin Resistance The hormone that controls your appetite and metabolism is leptin. This helps you to maintain a normal weight. What your body does is release leptin from your fat cells when you've had enough to eat. The leptin is supposed to dull the appetite, letting your brain know it's time to stop eating. People who are leptin resistant tend to gain fat easily and are more likely to become obese. Their brains no longer notice the leptin signaling for them to stop eating. This comes from having a diet rich in sugars. Their cells have become so bombarded by the hormones that the brain no longer listens. (via DailyMail)
>> Read more: The Obesity Hormone: Leptin
Increased Uric Acid Uric acid helps to breakdown the foods in your body. Sugar makes your body produce an excess of uric acid to breakdown all the sugary foods you're eating. An excess of uric acid can cause gout, kidney stones and hypertension. (via Paleo Leap)
Cancer Not all sugars cause cancer, and not everyone is so sure that sugar directly causes cancer. However, there has been connection found between refined, processed foods high in sugar. Natural sugars are okay because the foods and vegetables have necessary nutrients they need to stay strong and continue fighting. You just need to be wary of added sugars. (via Dana-Farber)
Brain Function Sugar, especially an excess of fructose can affect your brain function. As mentioned above it can affect your appetite regulation which your brain helps to maintain. It can also make you have trouble remembering things like where you put your keys or whether or not you unplugged your straightening iron. (via Paleo Leap)
Sugars Are Highly Addictive It's no wonder we crave sweet treats; sugar can be very addictive because it releases dopamine in the reward center of your brain. This man-made dopamine release is far greater than any you would find in nature. It causes people who are susceptible to addiction to easily have a sugar and junk food addiction. (via Authority Nutrition)
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Skin Conditions Once you digest sugar it permanently attaches itself to the collagen in your skin through a process called glycation. Glycation can exacerbate skin conditions like acne and rosacea. One of the side effects of eating an excess of sugar is insulin resistance. This can show up as an excess of hair growth or dark patches on your neck and in body creases. (via Huffington Post)
Belly Fat With so many sugary treats, children are especially at risk for adolescent obesity. A factor that inflicts obese children is fat accumulation in the trunk or belly area of the body. One of the causes is the increase in fructose-laden beverages. A study in children showed that an excess of fructose caused visceral fat cells to mature. This can lead to a big belly in their adult life and even higher risk for heart disease and diabetes. (via Huffington Post)
Shortens Your Life If you combine the risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and liver damage it's not a surprise to find out that sugar can shorten your life. The findings of a study done in 2013 estimated that 180,000 deaths could be attributed to sweetened beverage consumption. In 2010, the U.S. alone accounted for 25,000! (via Huffington Post)
Try to cut your sugar intake down to about six teaspoons. A few ways to limit your sugar intake are:
- Try to limit the amount of baked goodies and candies.
- Choose heart-healthy foods like fruits, lean proteins, vegetables and whole grains.
- Choose water instead of soda.
- Cut out processed foods that tend to be high in sugar.
Be careful what you put in your body and read the nutritional information on the food packets. Sugar can be hiding everywhere! (via Family Doctor)
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