Harmful Effects of Sugar
Sugar is harmful and addictive. Traditional belief across societies is that fat consumption is the prime culprit in making humans obese. Latest research suggests that the real culprit is sugar added to foods, beverages and of course sweets which are an essential ingredient of any celebration. Acceptable sugar consumption per day for a normal person is 6 spoons. Practically most people consume up to 20 spoons of sugar. Sugar contains a lot of calories, with no essential nutrients. We call them ‘empty calories’. In this blog an attempt is made explain the harmful effects of sugar and suggest some practical measures to counter them.
Undigested sugar present in the mouth provides food to the harmful bacteria present. This is the prime cause of tooth decay.
For people who are inactive and consume a lot of sugar, large amounts of fructose from added sugars get turned into fat in the liver. Frequent consumption of soft drinks, fruit juices and tea cause the liver to be overloaded. Excess fructose gets turned into fat, which can lodge in the liver and cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
When people eat a lot of sugar, it can cause resistance to the hormone insulin, which causes many diseases- particularly diabetes. The harmful effects of sugar on the function of insulin, make sugar the prime cause of type II diabetes.
There is considerable evidence that sugar, due to its harmful effects on metabolism, can contribute to cancer.
Sugar-Biggest Cause of Obesity
Fructose does not cause satiety in the brain or lower the hunger hormone nearly as much as glucose. Hence there is a tendency to overeat/drink such foods/beverages. Sugar causes release of dopamine in the brain; it can cause addiction in a lot of people. The harmful effects of sugar on hormones and the brain increase the risk of becoming obese.
Studies show that large amounts of fructose can raise triglycerides, small, dense LDL and oxidized LDL (very, very bad), raise blood glucose and insulin levels and cause obesity. These are all major risk factors for heart diseases.
Remedies to counter harmful effects of Sugar
- Eat more fruits, whole grains and vegetables. Fruits release sugar slowly in the blood stream. This reduces the craving for sugar, liver overload and checks obesity.
- Eat more frequent meals. Hunger increases sugar craving. Frequent small meals maintain a steady blood sugar level.
- Cravings can be reduced by things like chewing gum, drinking water.
- In the coming festive season resolve to go easy on sweets!