What Sugar Does To Your Body

Sugar is in natural state essential and it supplies a steady source of energy for our bodies. But as many things, too much of a good thing can have negative health effects. Sugar has many positives. It provides an energy boost to your mood and in its natural form, sugar contains healthy nutrients. Our body’s need sugar, but it also craves the sweet stuff, leading most people to eat too much sugar. Eating too much sugar increases your risk if obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and other types of diseases. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 reports that the average person gets a 13 percent of their daily calories from added sugars. In a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s an extra 260 calories every single day. We should all be eating less sugar.

What does too much sugar do to your body?

Sugar is addictive, that is the main reason why your body craves it. And that is why food manufacturers add it into their products. It influences you to buy more of their foods because you crave it. Once sugar is inside your body, it is digested and broken down by the small intestine into glucose. From there, glucose is released into the bloodstream and delivered to the rest of your body, where your muscles, organs and other tissues convert it into energy or store it for later. 

“The average person basically eats their weight in sugar—152 pounds every year. Just think about what that does to your body.” 

— Ashley Taliaferro, DO

Your pancreas monitors your blood glucose levels and produces insulin to help control it. It makes the decision on when to put glucose into energy reserves. When blood sugar levels are high and you have more glucose than your body needs, your cells become insulin-resistant, the controls break down and your blood sugar rises to dangerous levels that have serious health effects. 

The consequences of eating too much sugar:

  • Obesity

It’s estimated that 74 percent of our packaged foods contain added sugar. The leading sources are sugar-sweetened beverages, grain-based desserts like cakes and cookies, candy and dairy desserts like ice cream. Most of them provide no nutritional value. 

“Sodas and most other sugary drinks are just empty calories. Just one can of regular soda has more added sugar than you need in a day,” says Dr. Taliaferro. “If you drink soda every day, you can gain up to 15 pounds in a year — all from that one source of sugar.”

  • High blood sugar causes type 2 diabetes

Although sugar consumption isn’t directly related to developing diabetes, being overweight or obese is. When sugar that you eat stays in your blood instead of quickly converting into energy, your body can stop responding to the insulin that maintains normal blood sugar levels. “Too much sugar creates problems for your pancreas. Your body can become insulin resistant as a result, which is how type 2 diabetes starts.”

  • Diets high in sugar hurt your heart

“There’s a clear correlation between sugar consumption and high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke,” says Dr. Nasser Khan, MD, a cardiologist with The Iowa Clinic. While there are several theories as to why sugar raises blood pressure, Dr. Khan goes on to says, excess belly fat can make you more prone to heart disease.

  • Sugar consumption is linked to cancer 

There’s no strong evidence that eating a lot of sugar increases your risk of cancer or that cancer grows faster if you don’t restrict sugar intake. However, it’s been said that cancer cells feed on sugar. The evidence is very clear on the link between weight and cancer. A high-sugar diet contributes to excess weight and body fat, which increases your risk of many common cancers.

How do you avoid added sugars in your diet — and the related health risks?

  • Focus on whole foods, not processed ones

Added sugar predominantly dominate the packaged and processed foods, products that offer less nutrition overall than whole foods. You also get sugar naturally from carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy sources.

Whole foods provide high-fiber carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index. Your body gets a slow and steady rise in blood sugar instead of a sudden sugar rush and subsequent crash.

  • Stay away from sugary drinks

Liquid sugars are more harmful than solid sources because they absorbed quickly into your bloodstream. Drink more water, it’s the only liquid your body actually needs. Studies show that if you reduce liquid calories in your diet, you’ll lose weight more quickly.

  • Limit solid sugars in packaged products

Solid sugars are mixed in with other ingredients and absorbed more slowly by the body. Solid sugars are present in many breakfast cereals, refined grains like white bread or pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, cakes, cookies, pies, sweetened dairy products and desserts.

Sources: https://www.byrdie.com/stop-eating-sugar

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