Binging on Sugar? Let's Not!
So you want to know the facts. Okay, here goes, as we know them.
1. Sugar Raises the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Even though a diet high in refined sugars doesn’t give you diabetes outright, the sweet stuff can make you more prone to type 2 diabetes. For instance, the online publication, PLOS ONE, conducted a study that showed that for every 150-calories of sugar an individual consumed, their risk of type 2 diabetes was accelerated by 1.1-percent. Oh Poo.
2. Sugar Can Make You Depressed. As if we don't have enough going on in the world, our sugar can be an enemy too. Great. Although reaching for a chocolate bar, a bag of candy, or a pint of ice cream is habitual comfort in stressful or sad times, using sugar as a mood booster doesn’t work. Oh, that's bad news. In fact, research from the Public Health Journal linked diets high in fast food and refined sweets to a 40-percent high rate of depression due to the fact that those with higher insulin resistance emit lower amounts of dopamine (the feel good hormone and neurotransmitter).
This is getting depressing!
3. Sugar Increases Fat Storage. Oh, wonderful. We already know that the added calories that come from fructose-laden products (i.e., table sugar and products containing high-fructose corn syrup) cause fat accumulation. However, we're not just talking about fat around your mid-section. Fructose causes fat storage around your organs—especially around your liver—which raises the risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease .
Fructose sounds like a real bad friend.
4. Sugar Causes Wrinkles. Oh, just what a girl needs to hear. You probably already knew that too much sugar inside your body can cause insulin resistance. However, the refined sweet stuff also wreaks havoc on the outside as well! Sugar causes wrinkles and saggy skin when it attacks and breaks down protein fibers in collagen and elastin, which are essential for a taunt, smooth, elastic visage, as well as for protection from harmful UV rays.
Why didn't they tell me this before I ate all those cookies while growing up?????
5. Sugar Raises Cholesterol. There’s long been a scary connection between diets high in refined sugar and high cholesterol. And a research study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association supports this claim further. The study monitored a group of participants (excluding any with existing high cholesterol, high body weight, or diabetes from the study) and found a correlation between increased bad cholesterol levels and unhealthy triglyceride blood fats and high sugar diets. While those with low sugar diets had the highest good (or HDL) cholesterol levels.
6. Sugar Raises Risk of Heart Disease.
Oh wow....Sugar is fastly becoming my Public Enemy No. 1.
The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association have long linked type 2 diabetes to increased risk of both heart disease and stroke. Both organizations credit 65-precent of diabetes patient deaths to either cardiovascular disease or stroke.
7. Sugar Makes You Overeat. Oh, well this is a duh. Who can stop with one piece of candy? Not me! You’ve heard claims that suggest eating a diet high in refined sugar messes with your appetite—meaning that those with high sugar diets often can’t tell when they’re full. In order for your body to send proper satiation messages to the brain, it requires leptin hormones. However, high levels of fructose obscure leptin levels so the brain doesn’t receive these message on time and you overeat…even if you’re already full.
8. Sugar Restricts Blood Vessels.
Great, now my blood is going to stop flowing.
You already know high sugar diets cause high insulin levels. However, did you know chronic high insulin coursing through the body causes abnormal cell growth around your artery walls. And that can result in blood vessel restriction, high blood pressure, and ultimately a heart attack or stroke!
9. Sugar Zaps Your Energy. I thought it was supposed to give me more energy. What a traitor!!!!! We’re all aware of the mid-day energy crash. However, dragging yourself to the vending machine for a candy bar will only boost your energy for awhile. Delivering a refined sugar spike this way will set the stage for a full-on sugar crash later and cause you to eat more sugar to repeat that temporary high—and guess what, that can result in weight gain, lower energy levels, and troubled sleep.
10. Sugar is Extremely Addictive. You know that illegal drugs (i.e., heroine and cocaine) and even legal substances (i.e., cigarettes and alcohol) are highly addictive because the substances within trigger the production of chemicals and cause cravings in your body. Sugar does the same thing. It targets the brain’s pleasure center by triggering dopamine release. And as you crave that sugar high, it will be tougher to achieve so you increase your sugar intake. Before you know it, you’re hooked! The US Government (oh no, not them again!) Dietary Guidelines recommends limiting sugar to just 10 percent of your daily calories. While it may take some time to wean yourself down to the government’s recommended levels, (ya think?) a great way to start is by substituting refined sugars like white and brown sugars for more natural alternatives like these ten natural sugar alternatives:
1. Maple Syrup, which can be easily used in baking. (It's not just for putting on your pancakes, french toast and waffles.)
2. Agave Nectar can be easily substituted into baking recipes and other places where refined sugar would typically be called for. as a sugar substitute with minimal adjustments to the recipe.
3. Coconut Sugar has a slower release of energy preventing the highs and lows typically associated with refined sugars. It also contains twice the amount of iron, 4 times as much magnesium, and over 10 times as much zinc as regular brown sugar. Because coconut sugar comes in granular form, it’s easily substituted into recipes.
4. Brown Rice Syrup is not as sweet as honey or agave nectar, but it is free of fructose, gluten and wheat free, and a suitable sugar alternative for vegans and vegetarians and works well when used in baking, enjoyed as a spread, or drizzled on pancakes or waffles. This syrup can also be used for cooking and sweetening beverages
5. Honey is one of the most popular natural sugar alternatives as it is unrefined, sweeter than sugar, and produced all around the world. Because honey is sweeter than white sugar, it does contain more calories, but you can use less of it. Honey is also beneficial to health as it contains trace enzymes, vitamins and minerals, and has amazing antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties.
6. Stevia has quickly grown in popularity due to the fact that it contains no calories. According to LiveScience.com, stevia is reportedly about 200-300 times sweeter than regular sugar, meaning you can use it in very small amounts. While stevia is very sweet, it contains chemical compounds that interact with both the sweet and bitter receptors in your tastebuds, which is why it is known for having a bitter aftertaste.
7. Fruit Juice, you can’t get much more natural than fruit juice. Fruit contains naturally occurring sugars (fructose, glucose, and sucrose) and their juices and purees can be used in a variety of applications to add sweetness to other foods.
1. Added Sugar Contains No Essential Nutrients and is Bad For Your Teeth
2. For people who are inactive and eat a Western diet, large amounts of fructose from added sugars get turned into fat in the liver. which can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
3. When people eat a lot of sugar, it can cause resistance to the hormone insulin, which can contribute to many diseases.
4.There is considerable evidence that sugar, due to its harmful effects on metabolism, can contribute to cancer.
5. There is a study where fructose didn’t lower the hunger hormone ghrelin nearly as much as glucose did . Fructose doesn’t cause satiety in the brain or lower the hunger hormone ghrelin nearly as much as glucose.
6. Because sugar causes a large release of dopamine in the brain, it can cause addiction in a lot of people, which can result in the risk of becoming overweight
7. It Ain’t The Fat… It’s the SUGAR That Raises Your Cholesterol and Gives You Heart Disease. The evidence is mounting that sugar, NOT fat, may be one of the leading drivers of heart disease via the harmful effects of fructose on metabolism.
So, what's recommended? Eat sugar sparingly, eat healthy, and exercise.
But you don't have to necessarily give up that Birthday cake!