Having dessert after any meal of the day is a must for the majority of families and people. You might have heard the quote ‘there is always room for dessert’ many times in your life. Many people struggle with suppressing their sugary cravings. Why is this so?
Humans tend to be born with sugar cravings. This love for sugar can continue throughout life in most of the cases.
The great amount of sugar consumed by the people around the globe can be seen in the inclusion of sugary foods in almost any event of life.
Festivals and celebrations without conventional sweets and sugar loaded products are deemed incomplete. Birthdays, weddings, farewells, promotions are all usually filled with cakes, cookies, pastries and other baked items.
On the other hand, sugary food is even expected at losses and funerals in many countries as a part of their tradition. Not having something sweet is at times, even looked down upon by the people in such cultures.
Fights, failures and events alike are cured with chocolate, candies, and ice cream. Another popular quote you hear especially when someone is facing multiple challenges in their life is ‘stressed spelled back is desserts’ repeatedly.
Binging up on sugar is the go-to solution to buckle up the courage to face a difficult solution and to celebrate when being successful in doing so.
While these celebrations, events, and traditions have their own value and importance, it is important to know the effects of high sugar consumption on the health and on the body. Many people do not realize that sugar generally has adverse effects on the body.
Why is it hard to control sugar?
Over the past years, sugar consumption has also become a large part of the daily diets. A reason behind this can be the overflowing variety of refined sugary carbohydrates seen in the aisles of every local grocery store.
The recommended dose of sugar per day is 6 spoons for women and 8 spoons for men. Carbonated waters, juices, and other sweetened drinks contain a high level of sugar that can fulfill these doses in 1-2 servings.
Many products you do not even realize have added sugar under a different name such as palm juice, corn syrup, agave nectar. It is considerably hard to avoid sugar given that nutritional labels can be of very little use when it comes to spotting sugar-free stuff.
In addition, ‘sugar-free’ or zero calorie drinks and products have been proven to be worse than the normal full sugar products.
Artificial sugars are equally or more harmful in accordance with the researchers. Hence, it does not really make a difference it an artificial sweetener is added instead of refined sugar grains.
What does sugar do to your body?
Regardless of what form the sugar comes in, it has a variety of negative effects on your body. Following are some of the ways sugar can harm your body:
Brain and mood swings
Intake of high sugar items triggers the brain to release dopamine, also known as the ‘feel good’ or ‘pleasure chemical’ which explains the constant late night sugar cravings. The brain ultimately gets used to the release of the chemical and pushes for further consumption of sugar.
The instant energy snack candies bar may be good for once in a while before doing some work which involves heavy physical activity but other times they can leave you feeling anxious and dizzy.
Sugars are absorbed by cells quicker than any other substance. The blood-glucose level can drop as low as fast as it can get high.
This explains the anxiety or what in colloquial language is known as ‘sugar crash’ in people. Developing a habit of sugar crashes can lead to depression. According to recent studies, the consumption of sugar is linked with increased chances of depression in adults.
The high sugar intake in difficulties can also be explained in this point of view. Sweets and candies can, therefore, worsen your mood instead of having any positive effect in midst of a challenging situation contrary to popular belief.
Dental hygiene and disease
It is a well-known fact that sweets are bad for teeth and gums. You have probably been hearing this since you were a child and it is most certainly true as the bacterial growth in mouth typically feeds on sugar.
Having dessert after dinner and before bed can greatly increase chances of tooth decay and infections.
As the mouth gets dry due to inactivity while sleeping, the bacteria become more active. In addition, fungal infections specifically yeast infections can come with a high sugar intake.
Liver and production of insulin
One of the main reasons behind diabetes is the high intake of sugar. Type 2 diabetic patients often have diets filled with sugary carbohydrates with no nutritional value which adds to the bad cholesterol and causes obesity, especially in old people.
High levels of sugar in the diet disturb one of the liver’s vital functions. The liver is responsible for various processes in the body including the breakdown and absorption of sugar.
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In order to break down sugars, a hormone called insulin that is produced by the spleen is required.
Sugar makes the liver resistant to this specific hormone, thus making the way for high blood-glucose levels and diabetes type 2 to occur.
Bones and joints
This is one effect majority of people do not know. The link between sugar and bone health is actually important as some of the severe health conditions are connected to high-sugar products in the daily diets.
For example, types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis can be commonly seen in people who have more than the needed amount of sugar in their meals and snacks. In addition, pains from other bone and joint conditions can be worsened due to sugar.
Sugar causes inflammation in different areas of the body. Even if you have minor joint pain or problems, it is likely to make it more severe.
Face and skin
You might have noticed that reducing sugar in your meals has a tremendous effect on your skin. It is because inflammation caused by sugar in the body and its effects have also been decreased without the continuous intake of sugar.
Inflammation by sugar not only affects your bone but your skin as well. Harmful molecules called advanced glycation end products are created when sugar goes into the bloodstream and reacts with the proteins.
The molecules created are what cause the effects of aging on your skin. Saggy skin, wrinkles, and fine lines are all due to damage to collagen and elasticity of the skin by advanced glycation end products created by sugary meals.
Heart and kidneys
High consumption of sugars causes arteries in the heart to grow faster than the normal rate leading to several heart complications such as increased chances of artery constriction or fatal conditions like strokes and heart attack.
Lowering sugar intake can effectively control both blood pressure and blood sugar level which is linked to heart diseases. Studies have shown that people with higher than the average sugar consumption are twice as likely to have heart diseases as the rest.
Kidneys, on the other hand, have the primary responsibility of filtering the blood. Crossing the limit of blood-sugar level can lead to sugar in the urine. This situation can damage the kidneys if not controlled on time.
It is well known that the more sugar you consume, the more are the chances of you putting up extra pounds. Sugary carbohydrates are so far the biggest reason behind obesity. According to the researchers, increasing your sugar intake can lead you to gain 2 pounds in less than 45 days.
Is there any nutritional value of sugar?
Sugary foods are always recommended to be avoided due to one simple reason – they have absolutely no nutritional value and are empty calories that can bring great harm to your body.
While you do not have to completely leave sugar forever, it is suggested you do not cross the daily limit of sugar and avoid buying products that can have added sugars.