Diet & Nutrition
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Diet & Nutrition

10 Reasons Why Added Sugars Are Bad For Health

Hi People! Do you remember when was the last time you had a dessert? I know it must be a few minutes ago as well. 😄 Who doesn’t love rich chocolate cake or a cup of delicious flavored yogurt? Have you craved more of these after one serving? And more and more? I can relate to you!! There are myths, fads, misconceptions, and growing fear about various food and food additives. One such ingredient that has been forever associated with many negative health effects is Sugar.

Sugars are a type of carbohydrates that occur naturally in fruits, vegetables, honey, human, and dairy milk. Commercially produced sugar is table sugar — sucrose from sugar cane and sugar beets. Corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup are produced from corn starch. Other sources include maple syrup, malt syrup, agave syrup, and fruit juice concentrates.

Did you know that white sugar is full of carbohydrates but no other nutrients?

Yes, Refined white sugar is just empty calories. It contains no other nutrients except carbohydrates. For 100g of white sugar, 99.98 grams is carbohydrates meaning that it has no other important nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. But the other forms of sugar that are commonly used are brown sugar and jaggery! Brown sugar is unrefined or partially refined sugar. Molasses from sugar cane is used in the production of brown sugar. Jaggery is a completely unrefined sugar product. 100 grams of brown sugar contains 97.33 grams of carbohydrates and little amounts of water, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. 100 grams of jaggery contains 65 to 85 grams of sucrose and 10 to 15 grams of fructose and glucose, 11mg of iron which is why it is considered healthy when compared to other forms of sugar. It also contains magnesium, potassium, and manganese. Now you know why jaggery-added desserts are made traditionally by your grandma!💡

What do studies say about the consumption of sugar, brown sugar, and jaggery?

Studies say that the decrease in physical activity along with the increasing trend of sugar consumption assumes significance given the high tendency to develop insulin resistance, abdominal adiposity, hepatic steatosis, and type 2 diabetes. Minimally refined brown sugar is better than refined sugar or brown sugar according to another study published.

10 reasons why white sugar is bad for health —

  1. Sugars are highly processed: Foods high in sugars are often highly processed that lose most of their nutrients while processing resulting in empty calories.
  2. Excessive sugar consumption can lead to weight gain: All the sugar-containing foods are loaded with fructose. Sugars can lead to ‘leptin resistance’ which in turn leads to more cravings for sugar. Leptin is a hormone that regulates eating! Now you understand why we crave more sugars and end up gaining those extra pounds!
  3. Sugars can increase the risk of heart diseases: Evidence suggests that high-sugar diets can lead to obesity, inflammation, and high triglyceride, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels all of which are risk factors for heart diseases.
  4. High sugar diets have been linked to acne: High sugars can increase androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation, all of which can raise the risk of developing acne.
  5. Higher the sugar in your diet, the higher the risk of diabetes: Prolonged high-sugar consumption drives resistance to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance causes blood sugar levels to rise and strongly increases the risk of diabetes.
  6. Increases the risk of cancer: A study found that people who highly consumed added sugars were positively associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer, pleural cancer, and cancer of the small intestine.
  7. Sugars can lead to depression: Blood sugar spikes, neurotransmitter dysregulation, and inflammation may all be reasons for impacting the mental health
  8. Sugars can lead to early aging: Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are those that are produced by the reactions between sugars and proteins in your body. AGEs cause your skin to age prematurely.
  9. A high-sugar diet leads to increased hunger spikes: A diet loaded with sugar but lacking in protein, and fat can lead to an increase in energy levels quickly and drops down quickly too. This leads to hunger pangs and low energy.
  10. Sugars can cause fatty liver disease: Large amounts of added sugars in the form of fructose overload in the body lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) where excess fat is built up in the liver.

A whole balanced meal loaded with complex carbs, good quality proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals is ideally recommended to enhance health and well-being. Desserts and sweets can be consumed occasionally in moderation. Minute changes in diet and lifestyle like swapping sugary beverages for water and infused teas, consuming whole fruits instead of smoothies, and replacing candies with a homemade trail mix of fruits, nuts, and a few dark chocolate chips can be an effective way to cut down added sugars. Anything excessive is bad for health so remember moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle!

References:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/196024

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339908838_The_benefit_of_Indian_jaggery_over_sugar_on_human_health

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/refined-sugar

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/too-much-sugar

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