Governments across the globe have been striving to get people to quit smoking and have done so quite successfully. Rumor has it, that refined sugar is the emerging villain, with many medical professionals advocating that governments should take a similarly tough stance against those promoting foods packed with refined sugar.
This should come as no surprise as the rates of type two diabetes, obesity, and heart disease continue to rise. Treating people suffering from these conditions is a costly business, and doctors faced with refined-sugar induced health issues have become vocal in their opposition to the overconsumption of the popular white granules.
But what’s the big deal? Why not drink a couple of cans of soda and munch a few bars of chocolate every day? Is it all just a bit of hysteria? Something to frighten people with? Are we really eating that much-refined sugar?
Is Refined Sugar Really Bad for You?
Let me begin by saying that refined sugar (the white granules we all love) has no nutritional value to the body. It doesn’t do anything for you other than give you a quick sugar rush. When you eat refined sugar, the body doesn’t benefit in any way, shape or form.
So, what does refined sugar do to your body? If you eat more refined sugar than the recommended daily amount, this sugar gets stored in the liver. But the storage space is limited and once used up, the sugar turns into fat and gets stored in the inactive parts of your body, like the stomach, bottom, and legs. You gain weight. Refined sugar is also believed to raise bad and reduce good cholesterol in the heart, so doctors believe eating too much-refined sugar can lead to heart disease.
Most people experience sugar cravings of one kind or another. This is because when we eat refined sugar, the brain produces dopamine, a brain chemical linked to feelings of happiness. Unfortunately, these happy feelings subside quickly and the brain starts looking for a new kick. At the same time, refined sugar overrides the brains feelings of fullness, so you are in double trouble, always looking for more sweets.
Research has also indicated that refined sugars deplete vitamin B, calcium, and magnesium levels in the body. When the body digests the sugar, it requires extra amounts of these nutrients and will lack them for other functions. Low vitamin B levels are associated with anxiety and depression, while low calcium and magnesium levels are linked to joint and muscles issues.
Is Refined Sugar the Cause of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes?
Eating too much-refined sugar is undoubtedly linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Foods packed with refined sugar provide a quick sugar rush without providing nutrition or a feeling of fullness. Consequently, people overeat and become reliant on this sugar rushes and gain excess weight.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with over-consumption of refined sugar – though other factors also come into play. But the number of sufferers has been increasing steadily over the last few years, convincing many that refined sugar is a true villain here.
What Are the Recommended Daily Sugar Amounts?
The recommended amount of sugar for men is 9 teaspoons a day and 6 for women. Bear in mind that one bar of chocolate can contain up to 9 teaspoons of sugar all on its own, particularly when you think about the amounts of sugar kids consume. Soda, sugary drinks, processed foods all contain tons of refined sugars, and overconsumption of refined sugars is just a natural consequence.
If you want to cut down on sugar, you need to start reading labels. Remember, any word ending in “ose” is some form of sugar including glucose, fructose, etc.
Good Sugar Substitutes
Reducing our daily refined sugar intake makes sense. But what about your sweet tooth? Are there any truly healthy substitutes?
Look at this short list and consider substituting your refined sugar with one of them:
• Raw Honey
• Maple Syrup
• Coconut Sugar
Refined Sugar – Watch Your Intake
While I enjoy sweet as much as the next person, cutting down on refined sugar is a good idea. It’s best achieved by cutting down on processed and sugary foods and opting to prepare healthy, sweet snacks at home. That way, you can look after your sweet tooth in a healthy way!