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Let’s think about this scenario

 

You go to a coffee shop just to get a cup of coffee, but then you see these delicious, irresistible muffins or cakes on the counter that oozes sweetness. You remember that you haven’t had breakfast and you’re running late anyway. You know that they are full of sugar, but somehow you’ve already bought it without thinking twice.

As sweet as sugar is, unfortunately the effect of sugar on your metabolism and your mood isn’t that sweet.

According to research, consumption of sugar has been well known to cause many different diseases and sickness.

 

 

 

Sugar Sickness

 

Consumption of sugar can have several negative health effects.

 

First of all, high sugar intake has been associated with weight gain as we all know that.

 

Weight gain can lead to obesity because of energy imbalance. Foods high in sugar has more calories and if not accompanied by exercise, it can lead to weight gain.

Sugar can stimulate an insulin release in the body, which regulates blood sugar control. However overconsumption of sugar causes insulin resistance and makes it harder to control blood sugar levels.

Sugar is also an appetite stimulator, which releases other hormones in the body to increase hunger and cravings.

 

Secondly, sugar is a major contributor to tooth decay and other dental complications.

 

The bacteria in plaque on your teeth feed on sugar and produce acid as a byproduct. This acid can dissolve the enamel (hard covering) on your teeth which can lead to cavities and tooth decay.

Some sugary foods like candy can stick to your teeth and prolong the exposure of acid productive bacteria causing more damage.

Consumption of sugar reduces the saliva in your mouth and its protection against tooth decay. Saliva neutralizes the acid and protects the teeth from acid productive bacteria.

 

Thirdly, consumption of sugar increases the risk of developing many chronic diseases.

 

Type 2 diabetes is on the rise from the high intake of sugar.

Heart disease, caused by weight gain, high blood pressure and high triglyserides (fats) levels have been associated with excessive sugar intake.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is an accumulation of fat in the liver caused by high sugar intake.

High sugar consumption is also related to inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a precursor to different diseases.

 

 

 

Fourthly, as previously mentioned, sugar causes inflammation.

 

Inflammation is a natural response in the body to an injury or infection. However excessive inflammation can cause a chronic disease like diabetes and cancer.

Insulin response due to high amounts of sugar in the blood causes inflammation. Free radicals caused by sugar leads to oxidative stress and inflammation.

Sugar consumption can also disrupt the healthy bacteria balance in the gut leading to inflammation. It can also cause increased fat storage in adipose tissue especially in the abdominal area causing also inflammation.

Fifthly, Medical Professionals have long known the relationship between blood sugar, stress and weight gain.

 

When you experience stress, the adrenal glands excrete hormones like insulin, adrenaline and cortisol. This leads to increase in fat storage due to insulin release in the body.

Sugar in food like a muffin, increases also the release of stress hormones. If you combine a coffee with your sugary muffin, the effect is a double wham of stress hormones.

Sixthly, poor nutrition is associated with high sugar consumption.

 

Foods that contain sugar are often low in fiber and other nutrients, leaving the consumer feeling unsatisfied and are more likely to reach out for more unhealthy snacks.

Deprivation of other important nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber can lead to nutrient deficiency.

Seventh point is that overconsumption of sugar causes mental health problems.

 

Sugar causes depression, anxiety and even attention deficit disorders (ADHD).

Studies have shown that excessive use of sugar can disrupt and deplete hormones like serotonin and dopamine (neurotransmitters in the brain) that leads to mood changes.

Blood sugar level fluctuations can trigger anxiety in some people. It can also lead to feelings or being tired and irritable.

Impaired cognitive function, including memory loss and decreased ability to concentrate is linked to high sugar intake.

Imsomnia and sleep related problems are also associated to sugar consumption.

 

Sugar Solutions

 

If you’re hungry, ask yourself if you want a piece of fruit. If the answer is no, you’re most likely just bored, upset or stressed. Emotional eating is common.

Food is information that controls your hormones, and metabolism. Food is your energy and medicine.

“Let your food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, these are famous words by the greek doctor Hippocrates and they still apply even to this day.

To maintain good and colourful (meaning nutrient-rich) diet, it is recommended to limit added sugar intake and instead choosing better alternatives.

In addition to choosing nutrient-dense foods, it is essential to practise portion control, fasting and limiting the intake of processed foods. Fresh is always best, as we all know.

 

  1. Fruit and vegetables; rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, nutrients
  2. Whole grains; such as brown rice, whole wheat breads and oats are good source of essential nutrients
  3. Healthy proteins; such as lean meat, fish, beans, lentils, nuts are building blocks for new tissues
  4. Healthy Fats; such as avocados, nuts, olive & coconut oil maintain cell growth and gives energy
  5. Healthy drinks (non-sugary): Hydration is essential in maintaining all bodily functions

 

Photo Credit: Anita Ausvika