A report published in the American nutrition magazine “Eat This Not That”, writer Colin de Bellevonds tells how some light foods contain large amounts of sugar. This includes everything, from high fructose corn syrup found in salad sauces to fruit juices.
According to statistics provided by the Office for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, average American consumes over 17 teaspoons of sugar per day, equivalent to 270 kcal. This added sugar doesn’t contribute to fulfilling the body’s nutritional requirements. Instead, it simply turns itself into a type of fat, what we call as the visceral fat.
This fat develops around vital organs and the abdomen. Higher levels of visceral fat can cause a range of health issues like diabetes and cardiovascular illnesses.
Natural and processed sugar
Natural sugar: The sugar naturally present in foods. This includes all types of fruits, vegetables, and cereals.
Processed sugar: Processed sugar is concentrated sugar. Though the sugar is extracted from its natural resources like sugar cane, it is processed and concentrated.
Why is added sugar bad for you?
For the simple reason that it is extra. Any food we eat already has the required amount of sugar our body needs. Sugar added for the purpose of taste is already too much sugar. Therefore, it is important that you keep a watchful eye on the consumption of sugary foods.
Ultra-processed foods, i.e. foods with added flavors, colors, sweeteners, emulsions, and other additives, contribute to about 90% of the amount of sugar we eat.
According to a study conducted by the British Medical Journal, the main sources of sugars added in hyper-processed foods include:
- Soft drinks
- Fruit juices
- Drinks containing milk (chocolate milk)
- Cakes, biscuits, and pies
- Sweet snacks
- Breakfast Cereal
- Ice cream and ice lollipop
How much sugar is too much?
The American Heart Association and WHO recommend not to exceed about 25 grams (six teaspoons) per day of added sugar for women and 36 grams (nine teaspoons) per day for men.
Warning signs you are consuming too much sugar
How to know your sugar intake is pressing the limits? Well, your body is designed to signal that for you. But, make sure that you consume less sugar instead of going heavy and waiting for your body to respond.
Here are 15 signs that indicate your sugar intake is going through the roof:
1. Digestive problems/bowl moments
The author pointed out that some research suggests that sugar would reduce the diversity of healthy bacteria in the intestine within one week, contributing to slowing down the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
2. Acne around mouth and chin
The author explained that although experts deny that there is a relationship between severe acne and diet for most people, some studies have linked its appearance to eating large amounts of sugars rich foods.
Bruce Robinson, a dermatologist in New York City, says that in theory, sugar increases hormone production, especially androgens associated with hormonal acne and inflammatory acne, which usually appear around the jaw and mouth line.
3. Mood swings and anger
The author pointed out that some studies related to the intake of sugars to mood disorders, similar to depression. In addition to hypoglycemic fluctuations, sugars can adversely affect brain neurotransmitters responsible for controlling your mood.
4. Sleep disorder/temporary insomnia
The writer said eating cookies or cupcakes containing large amounts of sugar added before bedtime, can cause insomnia, at least in the short term.
5. Premature skin aging
The author pointed out that a high sugar diet would accelerate the aging of the skin.
6. Permanent tooth decay
The writer explained that sugar is the main cause of tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association. When sugar remains stuck between your teeth, it will feed the bacteria of the dental plaque, which will secrete acid that will contribute to the erosion of the tooth enamel (the hard surface of your teeth), leading to tooth decay.
7. Urge for sugary foods
The more sugar you eat, the more likely you will want to eat it constantly. It should be noted that eating sweets after dinner is one of the worst habits in the diet.
8. Constant craving for food
Sweetened foods contain sugar and do not give a sense of satiety, and since sugar causes blood sugar to rise and decrease rapidly, this will enhance the sense of hunger and the need to eat more sugar.
So it is better to eat foods that contain fiber, healthy fats and protein, similar to salads, a piece of salmon, chicken or a light steak, that will enhance the sensation of satiety.
9. Joint pain
The author pointed out that some research has linked drinking sugars to rheumatoid arthritis in women. In turn, other research revealed that people who eat more than five sugars rich drinks per week, including fruit juice, are more likely to develop arthritis.
10. Difficulty losing weight
Although sugars themselves do not necessarily lead to weight gain, they can prevent you from losing it or maintaining a healthy weight. As is known, overweight is caused by excessive eating.
11- Constant bloating
Foods with a high content of sugars can cause swelling of the abdomen. Once you control your craving for desserts, you can get rid of it.
Furthermore, it is important to check whether you are allergic to sugars such as fructose (fruit sugar) and lactose (found in dairy products), as your tummy will suffer from bloating and other common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
12. Loss of strength/muscle mass
The author stated that researchers have found a link between the intake of refined sugar and age-related muscle loss because refined sugar reduces the body’s ability to synthesize protein in muscles.
13. High blood pressure
The author referred to a scientific study published in the magazine “OpenHeart”, where it revealed that sugar is considered to be more dangerous than salt for blood pressure. In fact, a diet with a high content of sucrose for a few weeks can lead to high systolic and diastolic pressure. In addition, another study published in the British Journal of Nutrition revealed that eating a sugar-sweetened drink every time increases the risk of hypertension by 8%.
14. Sluggishness and laziness
The author stated that consuming too much sugar can contribute to increasing your weight in several ways. Perhaps the strangest of these methods is to reduce physical activity. In a study conducted by the University of Illinois, rats fed on a diet that mimics the American diet, which contains about 18% of added sugars, gained more body fat even though they did not eat more calories. One reason for this increase is that rats are reduced by 20% in their small cages compared to mice that did not follow a sugar-rich diet.
15. Fruits taste less sugary
Frequent intake of sugar, including the addition of sugar or sugar substitutes for certain foods, can affect the taste buds and change the concept of sweet taste.