We all know that too much sugar is bad for us. Sugar consumption affects our waistlines, brains, and hearts. We are told that everything in moderation can be acceptable, but truth be told, we are having far more than the daily recommended amount of sugar in our diets. Of course with October and Halloween approaching, I thought covering this topic was relevant. We are surrounded by sweets during the oncoming months, so let’s take a look at what happens to our bodies when we ingest sugar.
Sugar is a hidden ingredient in many of our foods. Obviously a candy bar has sugar, but so do many salad dressings, drinks, yogurts, and hey those packets added to our coffee count too. To summarize, “While sugar is nothing to be too concerned about in small quantities, most of us are simply eating too much of it. The sweet stuff — which also goes by names like glucose, fructose, honey and corn syrup — is found in 74 percent of packaged foods in our supermarkets. And while the Word Health Organization recommends that only 5 percent of daily caloric intake come from sugar, the typical American diet is comprised of 13 percent calories from sugar ” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/06/sugar-brain-mental-health_n_6904778.html).
There are many ways that sugar impacts our bodies. Initially after biting into that candy bar, we do feel a little “rush”. Basically, our blood glucose has spiked only to result in a crash a few hours later. Our blood sugar then becomes unstable. Furthermore, “Sugar takes the place of important nutrients. According to USDA data, people who consume the most sugar have the lowest intakes of essential nutrients––especially vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, vitamin B-12, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and iron. Ironically, those who consume the most sugar are children and teenagers, the individuals who need these nutrients most” (http://www.atkins.com/how-it-works/library/articles/10-ways-sugar-harms-your-health)..
Chances of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are also increased by an ongoing high sugar intake. Excess insulin continues to build up in the bloodstream which affects the arteries. Sugar can become an addiction: “Much like street drugs, sugar triggers the release of chemicals that set off the brain’s pleasure center, in this case opioids and dopamine. And as they do with street drugs, people develop a tolerance for sugar, meaning they need more sugar for a feel-good ‘fix’” (http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/weird-effects-sugars-having-your-body/7-sugar-turns-you-junkie). Just like the highs and lows of using a drug, “You grab a chocolate candy bar, and with it, get the brief jolt energy. Soon to be replaced by unrelenting fatigue. Science shows it takes just 30 minutes or less to go from a sugar rush to a full-on sugar crash” (http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/weird-effects-sugars-having-your-body/9-sugar-makes-you-energy-starved-zombie). Sugar sparks cravings and gives a false sense of never feeling full. And we can’t forget that sugar causes gum disease and tooth decay.
We turn to sugar to make us feel happy, but really we are doing more harm than good. Often times, we tell ourselves that we have earned the right to have a treat, or it’s special occasion, that we will only have it just this once, and so on. We make promises to ourselves and go all day on a mission not to have junk food. Then the 3 o’clock cravings call and suddenly we cave in. This substance is definitely and “in the moment” destructor. And consumer America…. well they know how to play to our weaknesses. Commercials and advertisements are enticing and call upon our taste buds. We have to use our strengths and fight the cravings. Total deprivation isn’t the answer. However, one sweet tooth denial victory at a time, just like we take it one rep at a time, we can stay on course as best as possible.