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Your body on sweets: The alarming impact of added sugars

Your body on sweets: The alarming impact of added sugars

According to a National Family Health Survey(2019-21), 22.9% Males and 24% Females are either overweight or obese. One of the reasons that contributes to being overweight is consuming a high diet in added sugar food. Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods and drinks during processing or preparation. Unlike natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables, added sugars provide no nutritional value and are often linked to various health problems. In this article, we'll explore the impact of added sugars on your body and why you should be mindful of your sugar intake.

What are Added Sugars?

Added sugars are sugars that don't naturally occur in foods. They are usually added during processing, cooking, or preparing foods and drinks. Common added sugars include table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, agave nectar, and molasses. Added sugars can be found in a variety of foods, including soda, candy, baked goods, and even some savoury foods like sauces and condiments.

What is a Normal Blood Sugar Level? 

A normal blood sugar level is a measure of the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. Glucose is an important source of energy for your body, and it is essential for healthy functioning. Normal blood sugar levels are typically expressed in a range from 3.9 to 7.2 mmol/L (millimoles per liter). While occasional fluctuations that occur throughout the day are normal, maintaining consistent blood sugar levels within this range can help you feel your best and prevent long-term health problems associated with high or low blood sugar levels.

Why are Added Sugars Bad for You?

 Added sugars provide no nutritional value and can have negative effects on your health. Here are some reasons why you should be mindful of your sugar intake:

  • Weight Gain and Obesity: Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain and obesity. This is because sugar provides empty calories, meaning it has no nutritional value but still contributes to your daily calorie intake. When you consume more calories than your body needs, the excess is stored as fat.
  • Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Consuming too much sugar can also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. This is because sugar consumption can lead to insulin resistance, a condition where your body becomes less responsive to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.
  • Addiction: Consuming too much sugar can also lead to addiction. Sugar activates the reward centers in your brain, which can cause you to crave more sugar. Over time, your body can become dependent on sugar, making it difficult to cut back.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Eating too much sugar can also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. This is because sugar consumption can lead to high blood pressure, inflammation, and other factors that contribute to heart disease.
  • Poor Dental Health: Eating too much sugar can also have negative effects on your dental health. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which can lead to tooth decay and cavities.
  • Linked to Acne: High-GI diets are linked to acne risk, low-GI diets are associated with lower risk. Foods and drinks that are high in sugar and fat, plus sugary beverages and milk, are the cause of acne in adults.

How Much Sugar Should You Consume?

The American Heart Association recommends that men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day, and women should consume no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day. To put this into perspective, a single can of soda can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Tips for Reducing Your Sugar Intake

Reducing your sugar intake can be challenging, especially if you have a sweet tooth. Here are some tips to help you reduce your sugar intake:

Read Food Labels: Be mindful of the sugar content in the foods and drinks you consume. Check the nutrition label and look for added sugars in the ingredients list. Keep in mind that added sugars can be listed under various names, so look out for words like sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, and cane sugar.

Choose Whole Foods: Choose whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains instead of processed foods. Whole foods are typically lower in sugar and provide more nutrients than processed foods.

Limit Sweet Drinks: Sweet drinks like soda, energy drinks, and fruit juice can be high in sugar. Instead, opt for water, unsweetened tea, or sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice.

Use Natural Sweeteners: Use natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup instead of processed sugar when cooking or baking.

Conclusion

The excessive consumption of added sugars can have serious negative impacts on our bodies. Added sugars provide no nutritional value and can have negative effects on your health. From weight gain to cardiovascular disease, consuming too much sugar can lead to various health problems. It is important to be mindful of the amount of added sugars we consume and make a conscious effort to reduce our intake. This can be achieved by reading food labels, choosing whole, unprocessed foods, and being aware of the many different names that added sugars can be listed under. By making these small changes, we can improve our overall health and well-being.

Frequently asked questions:

What are some common sources of added sugars?

Common sources of added sugars include sugary drinks, baked goods, candy, and processed foods like cereals and snack bars.

How much-added sugar is too much?

The Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of added sugars per day for women and no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) per day for men.

Can I still eat sweets if I want to reduce my intake of added sugars?

It's okay to enjoy sweets in moderation, but it's important to be mindful of their sugar content and choose healthier options when possible.

Are artificial sweeteners a good alternative to added sugars?

While artificial sweeteners can be a low-calorie alternative to added sugars, some research has raised concerns about their long-term safety and potential impact on health.

Can I still consume carbohydrates if I want to reduce my intake of added sugars?

Yes, carbohydrates are an important source of energy for our bodies. Focus on choosing whole, unprocessed carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are naturally low in added sugars.

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