Chances are we are very much aware of the detriments of sugar to our health but we still crave for it and consume it so much. Americans average about 270 calories of sugar each day, that’s about 17 teaspoons a day compared to the recommended limits of about 12 teaspoons per day or 200 calories.
Sugar is contained in almost every edible ranging from sugary drinks to savoury foods. To complicate it further, added sugars can be hard to spot on nutrition labels since they can be listed under different names such as corn syrup, sucrose, etc.
No matter what it is called, sugar is sugar and it remains detrimental to our health once consumed in excess. Here is a closer look at how sugar can mess with your health:
Eating sugar gives your brain a huge surge of a feel-good chemical called dopamine. Your brain starts to crave more and more sugar to get that same feeling of pleasure.
You probably feel that the saying that sweets spoil your teeth is just to scare a child. Well, the saying is very much true. Bacteria that cause cavities love to eat sugar lingering in your mouth after eating something sweet.
If you have joint pain there is more reason for you to lay off sweet foods. Eating lots of sweet foods has been proven to worsen joint pains due to the inflammation they cause in the body. Studies show that sugar consumption can increase your risks of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Excess sugar attaches to proteins in your bloodstream and creates harmful molecules called “AGEs”. These molecules do exactly how they sound like they do: age your skin. They have been shown to damage collagen and elastin in the skin.
An abundance of added sugar likely contains fructose and fructose in large amounts can damage the liver. When fructose is broken down in the liver it turns into fat. In turn, this causes an excess fat build-up in the liver and steatosis.
When you consume too much sugar, the extra insulin in your bloodstream can affect your arteries all over your body. It causes their wall to get inflamed, grow thicker and stiffer than normal. This stresses your heart and damages it over time.
When you eat too much sugar, your pancreas tends to pump out more insulin. This makes the pancreas overworked and when it breaks down, blood sugar level rises to set the victim up for TYPE 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
If you have diabetes, too much sugar can lead to kidney damage. If left uncontrolled, diabetes can damage the kidneys which prevent them from doing their job in filtering out waste in your blood. This can lead to kidney failure.
YOUR BODY WEIGHT
The more sugar you eat, the more you will weigh. Excess amount of sugar inflames fat cells causing them to release chemicals that increase weight.
YOUR SEXUAL HEALTH
One common side effect of chronically high levels of sugar in the bloodstream is that it can make men impotent. This is because it affects your circulatory system, which controls the blood flow throughout your body and needs to be working properly to get and keep an erection.
Having known about these side effects of sugar, I bet you want to reduce that sweetened pie or that chocolate cupcake you always crave for. Instead of sweetened foods as dessert, we can substitute greens and fruits. They are way healthier. Most times, what our taste buds don’t seem to like, is what is good for our health. Watch out for those things.
Sugar, though sweet, is one great killer.