The Sour Side of Sugar
If I told you, that you could get addicted to sugar, would you believe me? Well believe it or not, sugar is actually classified as an addictive property. You see, when you consume too much sugar, your brain will actually release dopamine, which gives you a feeling of peace and euphoria. This can lead you to want to consume more sugar just to get this feeling again. This is but one of the ways that sugar affects your body.
When it comes to sugar there are four naturally occurring sugars that we know of: glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose. Glucose is the sugar that your body needs, which is why it converts both sucrose and dextrose into glucose when they reach your intestine. Notice how fructose wasn’t part of the previous statement, that’s because fructose is one form of sugar that is not needed by your body. In fact fructose can only be metabolized in the liver, which is usually where your sugar goes to be converted into fat once the body has used what it can. Normal sugars first go into your intestine where they are broken down into glucose(in the case of sucrose and dextrose) and are absorbed into the blood. The fact that fructose skips this step means that it gets converted into fat without your body getting the energy from it. Despite that, we still add sugar to most foods.
The following is a list of the other negative effects that sugar has on your body:
- Sugar contains no essential nutrients
- Excess sugar can cause fatty liver disease, a disorder usually caused from alcoholism
- Excess sugar can lead to insulin resistance, which in turn leads to metabolic syndrome and ultimately diabetes
- Sugar has been realized to be the prominent source of obesity
- Sugar has been found to be a major factor in heart disease
- Sugar is the primary culprit in causing belly fat
- Increased sugar can lead to leptin resistance; leptin is the hormone that tells you when you’re full, so a resistance to it leads to overeating\
- Sugar promotes bacterial growth and can make the body susceptible to infection
- Too much sugar can lead to a chromium deficiency, which will lead to malnourishment
- Excess sugar in the bloodstream can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb nutrients like calcium, magnesium, or even vitamin E
- Sugar causes tooth decay
- Excess sugar can affect the body’s tissue elasticity, making you appear older than you are
- Sugar has been found to worsen Alzheimer’s disease and is speculated to be a causing factor.
- Sugar has been shown to contribute to cancer
This is but a small sample of the negative effects that sugar can have. In fact if you Google the negative effects of sugar you may have your reading cut out for you. There have been countless studies on this small molecule and there continue to be more everyday.
Cutting sugar out of your diet entirely is nearly impossible, so the key is to try avoiding foods with added sugar, especially items that have been sweetened with fructose in any form. So if you have to drink soda, try and find one that is sweetened with glucose, or natural sugar. Instead of eating cupcakes for dessert try eating fruits with yogurt. When it comes to sugar, every little bit you can avoid will only improve your health.
Note: For a great documentary on sugar check out “Sugar Coated” on Netflix. It’s an eye opening view of the business side of sugar and how it has recently affected the world