The daily schedule of many people these days is so overwhelming that the last thing on their minds is proper nutrition. The most important point here is that we must all first understand that eating healthy should not be a short-term decision to reach a certain goal. The actual purpose is to learn and fix our way of eating so that it becomes a permanent lifestyle, which will benefit you and those around you. The common denominator in most of the current health problems is SUGAR! To be a bit more accurate, we are talking about processed sugar. According to some current statistics, in the US, added sugars account for up to 17% of the total calorie intake of adults and up to 14% for children. The guidelines suggest limiting calories from added sugar to less than 10% per day. What happens when too much sugar is consumed? Here are a few major reasons why too much should be avoided.
Can Cause Weight Gain
The rates of obesity worldwide are rising and added sugar, especially from sugar-sweetened beverages, is thought to be one of the main problems. Sugars come in a few different forms and one in particular, fructose, can increase your hunger and desire for food more than glucose, which is the main type found in starchy foods. In fact, excessive fructose or sugary beverages do not curb your hunger, making it easy to quickly consume a high number of liquid calories. This can lead to weight gain.
Can Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease
High-sugar diets have been associated with an increased risk of many diseases, including heart disease, which is the number one cause of death worldwide according to research. These sugary diets can lead to inflammation and high triglycerides, which are all risk factors for heart disease. According to studies it has also been found that consuming too much sugar, especially from sugar-sweetened drinks, has been linked to atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by fatty, artery-clogging deposits. A Study in over 30,000 people found that those who consumed 17-21% of calories from added sugar had a 38% greater risk of dying from heart disease, compared to those consuming only 8% of calories from added sugar.
Has Been Linked to Acne
A diet high in refined carbs, including sugary foods and drinks, has been associated with a higher risk of developing acne. Foods with a high glycemic index, such as processed sweets, raise your blood sugar more rapidly than foods with a lower glycemic index. The quick spike in blood sugar and insulin from sugary foods causes increased androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation, all of which play a role in acne development.
Drains Your Energy
The same spike in blood sugar and insulin from the previous point, also leads to increased energy. The problem is that the rise in energy levels is short-lived. Products that are loaded with sugar but have no protein, fiber, or fat lead to a fast energy boost quickly followed by a drop in blood sugar, referred to as a crash. To avoid this energy-draining cycle, choose carbohydrate sources that are low in added sugar and rich in fiber like brown rice, whole grain bread, or quinoa to name a few.
How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake
The main point to reduce an excess consumption of sugar is to focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods. Here are a few helpful tips-
- Swap sodas, energy drinks, juices, and sweetened teas for water.
- Drink your coffee black or use Stevia, which has zero calories.
- Sweeten yogurt with fresh fruit instead of buying sugar loaded yogurt.
- Consume whole fruits instead of sugar-sweetened fruit smoothies.
- Replace candy with a homemade trail mix of fruit, nuts, and dark chocolate
- Instead of jelly, use freshly sliced bananas with a peanut butter sandwich
- Looks for cereals, granolas, and bars with under 4 grams of sugar per serving
As always, thank you all for taking the time to read these articles and remember that before you do any changes to your diet or fitness routine please consult your doctor or dietitian beforehand. This information was provided to you from the latest research, studies, and online resources.