Your Body on Sweets: The Alarming Impact of Added Sugars


Your Body on Sweets: The Alarming Impact of Added Sugars

Sugar is difficult to avoid, so it has a 'bittersweet' reputation regarding health and fitness. Sugar is found naturally in all carbohydrates-containing foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. These are naturally occurring sugars that can be found in whole, unprocessed foods. The problem isn't with naturally occurring sugars. The problem arises when you consume an excessive amount of sugary foods. Spreads, jams, and even so-called healthy snacks like peanut butter contain added sugars! Added sugar is a major contributor to daily calorie intake for people who consume processed foods on a daily basis. In reality, added sugars should account for no more than 10% of our daily caloric intake. Here's everything you need to know about eating too much sugar.

What is a Normal Blood Sugar Level?

The normal sugar level in human body ranges from 72 to 99 mg/dL while fasting and up to 140 mg/dL approximately 2 hours after eating. Throughout the day, blood sugar levels fluctuate. Blood sugar levels are typically lowest in the morning or after fasting. As the body digests food, blood sugar levels rise during and after every meal. Blood glucose levels differ depending on a person's health and daily food intake. Do you know what causes diabetes? When there is either too much or too little sugar in the blood, abnormal blood sugar levels occur, which causes diabetes. The blood sugar ranges for each are as follows:

  • Hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar is defined as 70 mg/dL or less.
  • Hyperglycemia. More than 180 mg/dL is considered high blood sugar.

Diabetes patients have marginally higher blood glucose or sugar. Normal diabetes range from 80 to 180 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).  

Signs that You are Eating Too Much Sugar

Sugar and processed carbs are "empty calories" because they contain no useful nutrients. However, leaving the chocolate may not be enough to reduce your sugar intake. Some sugary foods are heavily processed, and sweet substances are added to make them more appealing and desirable. It is often difficult to detect sugar in these foods, and the catastrophe is often those marketed as 'healthy' or low in fat. In some cases, ready meals may contain up to 12 teaspoons of sugar for each portion, while a can of cola contains 6 teaspoons. 

Premature Aging and Poor Skin Health

Sugar may be to blame for the skin problems you're having. It also reinforces excessive oil production and inflammation. Excess sugar consumption can damage skin proteins, collagen, and elastin over time, resulting in premature wrinkles and aging. Too much sugar may also contribute to a hormonal imbalance in women, resulting in acne around the cheekbones. Sugar is also a favorite food of less beneficial gut bacteria and yeast. However, excessive consumption can lead to abnormal gut flora and cause inflammation, commonly seen in skin conditions like eczema. So, don't blame your skincare routine; instead, limit your sugar intake for healthy skin.

Fatigue and Tiredness

An increase in sugar in your diet can reduce your energy levels. After the sugar intake, the pancreas releases insulin to assist in the transfer of glucose to the cells, resulting in a surge of energy. Once drained, you may experience a drop in energy as the body craves more sugar to restart the cycle. It's easy to imagine that the elevated the sugar peak, the greater the sugar dip that follows.

Constant Cravings and Hunger

Sugary foods are addictive, providing a quick "fix" that tempts us repeatedly. Sugary foods, like addictive drugs, have been shown to stimulate the reward pathway in the brain by secreting dopamine. As these foods are low in nutrients, you may feel constantly hungry. You will eat more to gratify your stomach when you lack fiber and other nutrients. This adds to weight gain as well. 

Unexplained Bloating and Weight Gain

When bacteria and yeast ferment our undigested food in the colon, they produce gases. Bad bacteria, in particular, prefer sugars, whereas useful probiotic bacteria that prefer vegetables are thought to produce no gas. Overproduction of gas can cause pain after eating and uncomfortable bloating and flatulence, which can lead to weight gain. Because of your high sugar intake, staying healthy and in good shape may be challenging. Many people avoid sugar entirely to lose weight. So, keep an eye on your sugar intake to avoid gaining those extra lbs around your belly.

Sleeplessness and Insomnia

Eating sugary foods late at night may cause a surge of energy at a time when you need to be decelerating and preparing the body for rest. Our 'happy hormone,' serotonin, is primarily produced in the gut and is required to produce melatonin, the relaxation hormone, which is required for a sound sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, cutting back on sugar in your diet and being gentler on your gut may help.

How Much Sugar is Ideal for a Healthy Body? 

According to the FDA, your daily sugar intake should not exceed 10% of your total calorie intake. However, the World Health Organization has lowered this percentage from 10% to 5%. WHO suggests only 6 teaspoons of sugar, or 25 grams, for an adult with a normal BMI. Children aged 2 to 18 should consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar each day.

Ways to Reduce the Impact of Added Sugar

Here are some simple steps you can follow in your daily life to reduce the adverse effects of added sugar:

  • Consume a well-balanced diet rich in fiber like green vegetables, healthy fats like almonds, and proteins such as pulses, meat, eggs, etc.
  • Consuming fruits with lower fructose sugar levels, such as berries, will help in reducing the sugar level. 
  • Avoid artificial flavors, sweet drinks, and fruits with high sugar content. Rather, drink coconut water.
  • Avoid packaged foods and take one step ahead towards a healthier lifestyle.
  • Sugar in any form should be avoided. Also, brown sugar and honey have a high fructose content. So, be mindful of your intake. 

The Bottom Line!

It's next to impossible to imagine our lives without sugar. But too much of a good thing is always harmful. Taking sugar excessively in your daily diet, you're harming yourself by unknowingly inviting chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, etc.

The sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits adversely affect our health. There are currently 70 million diabetics in India, and the World Health Organization predicts that this figure will rise by nearly 45% to 101 million by 2030. Also, considering the ever-rising medical inflation, having a diabetes health insurance plan in place is the need of the hour these days. Care Freedom Plan by Care Health Insurance is a Health Insurance for Diabetes, High BP, and High BMI that protects you and your loved ones against the most common lifestyle diseases. The policy comes with extensive sum insured options with coverage for hospitalization costs, doctor fees, diagnostic tests, and recurring treatment costs. This can be a boon in the time of emergency, which will ensure quality healthcare against a minimal premium.

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.



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