Everyone love's sugar. Who doesn't have a "sweet tooth" or just crave a bit of dessert after dinner? The sweet crystalline carbohydrate seems to be everywhere, and in all types of food. It's almost unavoidable especially in many of our processed foods. It's delicious and triggers tons of our pleasure sensors in our brain when we consume it, but consuming too much sugar can be detrimental to our health. We know that when we are eating a cupcake that we are ingesting a certain amount of sugar, but there are so many foods with a high sugar content that we don't often realize we are over eating it.
We all know the food pyramid, and about how much we should and shouldn't eat of certain foods. As for sugar, the American Heart Association suggests that men consume no more than 150 calories of sugar or 37.5 grams and for women, less than 100 calories or 25 grams. It sounds like a lot this can be achieved by drinking one can of coke.
We know the drill in terms of sweet stuff, that sugar is in all of the desserts and treats that we like to indulge in from time to time. But many of the calories of sugar we consume are found in everyday things that we eat without even realizing there is sugar in it. Salad dressings, marinades and sauces. Fruit Juices, pastas, almost everything has a bit of sugar added in, and we are so used to sugar in our diet, we don't even notice it.
Addicted To The Sweet
Sugar is so engrained in our daily life and snuck into our diet though consuming processed foods that we don't even realize that our body has become addicted to that sweet little molecule. We find foods dull and flavorless if they don't contain sugar and our body will actually go through withdrawals if we try and cut it out of our diet.
What Is Sugar?
Sugar is a molecular compound made from hydrogen and oxygen, making it a carbohydrate. Sugar is found naturally in most plants but the crop we harvest most to acquire the sugar we eat in our daily lives comes from the sugar cane. Sucrose sugar is a combination of glucose and fructose and looks like little cube crystals to the naked eye.
Sugar On The Brain
Sugar fuels every cell in the brain, and trigger the pleasure sensors in your brain the same way an endorphin rush would. Your brain also sees sugar as a reward, which makes you keep wanting more of it. If you often eat a lot of sugar, you're reinforcing that reward, which can make it tough to break the habit.
Why do you get a rush when you eat a midday candy bar? The sugar in it -- called a simple carbohydrate -- is quickly turned into glucose in your bloodstream. Your blood sugar levels spike. Simple carbs are also found in fruits, veggies, and dairy products. But these have fiber and protein that slow the process. Syrup, soda, candy, and table sugar don't.
Your body needs to move glucose out of the bloodstream and into your cells for energy. To do this, your pancreas makes insulin, a hormone. As a result, your blood sugar level may have a sudden drop. This rapid change in blood sugar leaves you feeling wiped out and shaky and searching for more sweets to regain that sugar "high." So that midday sugary treat has set you up for more bad eating.
A Constant Craving For Sugar
When you get into this cycle of sugar highs and sugar lows, your body gets into a point of constantly craving sugar. And because most of our diet has hidden sugars in it, we rarely notice when we are over consuming in, and don't realize that our cravings are actually our body going into withdrawals. This can lead to our body retaining excess water causing high inflammation in our body.
The Sugar Shut Down
When we consume sugar our body uses that sugar and converts it into energy. When we let our body go on the roller coaster of highs and lows by consuming lots of sugar on a daily basis. We mess with our blood sugar levels. When we crash and our blood sugar goes down, we feel like we need more to bring it back up. If you are feeling fatigued after meals, you may want to reduce your sugar intake.
Our Skin On Sugar
When our insulin spikes and drops we make our skin very vulnerable to breakouts and rosacea. Eating excess amounts of sugar cause this process to happen on our body and will show up on our face if we aren't careful about our diets. If you notice that your skin is prone to breakouts more than usual, adjust your diet to reduce your sugar to improve this problem.
Obesity and diet and scientifically linked to one another. Our current cultures obsession with high fat processed foods contributes a lot to our nations problems with obesity. Sugar is a contributing factor in this as well, consuming too much sugar will cause the body to put on excess weight, which is very detrimental to our health. Consider sugarless treats when wanting to drop a couple pounds.
A Bad Attitude
Sugar does not only affect your physical well being but your mental health as well. The physical problems associated with consuming too much sugar can cause irritability in people dealing with the highs and lows of insulin production. Excess sugar can also
heighten issues associated with anxiety disorders and would be wise to watch sugar intake if you suffer from high anxiety.
When we are kids, we are told that if we don't brush our teeth, they will rot out of our head, mostly due to the sugary candy treats we all love as children. When we are young we are told to fear cavities. But this statement is not a fairytale, cavities are a large problem associated with over consumption of sugar. Be sure to brush your teeth, and reduce your sugar intake to keep those pearly whites shining.
The dramatic rise and fall of blood sugar levels has a wide range of affects on our mental and physical health, and sugar is to blame. Our body will naturally and gradually raise and lower our blood sugar without any health problems. But if we do consume too much sugar we could end up with some cognitive impairment while our bodies are processing the insulin spikes and drops.
Taste Bud Tolerance
The more and more sugar we eat, the more wear and tear we put on our taste buds. If we over consume sugar our taste buds will have a hard time recognizing it and we will need more and more to satisfy our cravings. Sugar also heightens the favors of other foods so if it is added to something we will continue to need it in our diet to trick our bodies into thinking the food we are eating is flavorful.
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