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Sugar In Your Diet

Nutritionists always tell you to limit your sugar intake - but just why is sugar bad for you? What are the side effects of sugar?

NOT AS SWEET AS YOU THINK:

Think about the dietary sugar you've eaten today: 2 tablespoons in your morning coffee perhaps? And maybe the tasty dessert you had for dinner? If you think your sugar consumption for the day was limited to these two obvious sources, you are wrong by at least 100 grams of sugar.

sack of sugar

The average person in a developed country consumes around 1000 grams of sugar PER WEEK. From clear additions of dietary sugar (stirred right into coffees and teas) to the unknown amounts present in daily meals, drinks and snacks, you are consuming sugar with virtually EVERYTHING you're eating. And to think that it adds nothing nutrition wise and is only inviting a lifetime of problems and disease. Let's take a look at the sweetest killer in the assassin book.

SUGAR: WHAT IS IT?

We all know that carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet. These can come in the form of complex carbohydrates in healthy edibles like whole grain foods that contain starch or they are present as simple carbohydrates such as the "empty" (of nutrition) ones in table sugar. The important thing is to make the distinction between the two sources. Scientifically, sugar is a monosaccharide (such as fructose, present in fruits) or disaccharide (such as sucrose, present in table sugar). When we commonly refer to sugar, we are actually meaning the latter: A white crystalline disaccharide. The disaccharide sucrose is also used as a preservative and sweetener in almost all commercially prepared foods.

THE BODY'S REACTION:

Our body breaks down the simple carbohydrates fairly easily which results in rapid increase in blood sugar level. On the other hand, the complex carbohydrates take some time to disintegrate and allow the sugar level to increase much more gradually.

When the body takes in a sudden dose of sugar, it doesn't utilize all of it at once. While you're gulping down cakes, biscuits and chocolates, glucose (a type of sugar) level in the blood rises rapidly. The pancreas kicks in and starts releasing a lot of insulin which delivers the glucose to the cell where half of it is used for immediate energy, 10% is stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver, and the remaining 40% is stored as fat. That 40% plays a vital role in obesity and diabetes.

SUGAR AND NUTRITION (OR THE LACK OF):

As mentioned before, there is no real nutrition in sugar. It does give an immediate boost to energy as it is a concentrated source but its long-term effects are more bad than good. Children are often said to get hyperactive when they consume a lot of sugar. But an increase in energy (hardly a positive attribute given the headache sleepless children can give their parents) comes with the promise of health problems. Sweets, chocolates and other sugary edibles are the number one reason why children have so many dental problems these days. The bad effects of sugar are not just restricted to children. Adults also gain nothing of value from sugar while putting their long-term health at risk. For information about the health implications of sugar, read on.

SIDE EFFECTS OF SUGAR:

Following are some of the problems high level of sugar consumption has been linked with:

  • Obesity

  • Cardiovascular diseases

  • Hypertension

  • Dental problems

    If all of the above aren't enough to scare you away from the sugar jar, feel free to click here and view a list of all the 143 ways in which sugar is jeopardizing your health.

    sugar content table



    HOW TO CUT DOWN ON YOUR SUGAR CONSUMPTION:

    As always, what's natural is good. Stay away from refined sources of carbohydrates (such as table sugar). Fruits and other natural sources of simple carbohydrates, also contain sugar but they are not bad for your health.

    You can fulfill all your energy needs from good carbohydrate sources like:

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Whole grain cereals and breads

  • Brown rice



    While you should stick to eating your sweet fruits, whole grain foods and other foods that contain the “complex sugars”, table sugar is something you can't get less of. Even if you went all your life without it, your health would only benefit from the decision.

    Here are some other ways you can make wiser decisions regarding your sugar intake:

  • Start reading food labels. For the average 2000-calorie diet for adults, your sugar consumption should not exceed 40 grams a day.

  • Replace sugar snacks and desserts with food items like fruits and corn syrup.

  • Try a natural sweetener.

    Is sugar vegan?

    I am not going to tell you that it is or that it isn't - this is a decision that vegans have to make themselves. Just bear in mind that some refined sugar goes through a process which involves animal bone char. For that reason, some vegans prefer to use alternative sweeteners, while others don't see it as a problem. Make your own mind up, but do try to cut down.






    Take Me Home

    Leave Sugar And Go To The Vegan Food Pyramid

    Leave Sugar And Go To Healthy Balanced Diet





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