Abstract: Added sugar is the single largest culprit responsible for all killer diseases of today. Heart disease,diabetes,obesity and many other related diseases are due to large amount of added sugar in our foods. Processed food labels depict 35 different names of sugar.People need to be educated and informed about the toxic effects of sugar.
|Added sugar is toxic
Yes I am serious. Definitely you are taking sugar, added sugar, in coffee, tea, milk, sweets and other beverages. Do you know how dangerous is added sugar? Sugar from fruits (natural sugar) is much different from added sugar. Added sugar is the common refined or the table sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Chemically sugar is sucrose which is made up of two molecules –glucose and fructose. When we take natural sugar we are ingesting lot of water, fiber and nutrients. So sugar taken by eating an apple is useful while the one from a teaspoon of table sugar is poisonous. Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. It provides calories with no added nutrients and can damage your metabolism in the long run. Obesity, diabetes and many cardio vascular diseases are connected with quality and quantity of sugar.
But how much is too much? Should we avoid taking sugar at all? It is difficult to find exact numbers because sources vary on this and there are many studies in the available literature. According to one study the average American is taking 76.7 grams per day, which equals 19 teaspoons or 306 calories.Although this intake has gone down by 23% between the years 2000 and 2008, mainly because people are more health conscious but still current intake levels are still very high and are responsible for major health issues.
What is the safe amount of sugar per day:Human body is a very complex machine and due to so many variables it is not possible to specify an exact number for the sugar intake. But American Heart Association recommends 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women per day. Since one teaspoon can hold about 4.5 grams of sugar these numbers come out to be 40.5 g for men and 27 g for women. When we look at the number of calories from these numbers these are good for a lean, healthy and active person. Most of us will be surprised to know that there is no need for added sugar as they don’t serve any physiological purpose. We get enough sugar from fruits and v egetables. The less you eat, the healthier you will be. If you are overweight you should never take added sugar and avoid processed foods.
Sugar is addictive: Sugar works the same way in the brain as the drugs of abuse(1). Sugar is noteworthy as a substance that releases opioids and dopamine and thus might be expected to have addictive potential. Sugary junk foods stimulate the same areas in the brain as drugs of abuse. Those people who lose control over sugar consumption, have a history of binge eating, failure at setting rules about your consumption (like cheat meals / days) and repeated failures eating in moderation are said to be addicted. Addiction of any type is dangerous may be smoking, drinking, gambling etc. Like smoking it is difficult to completely quit sugar-eating but it is not impossible. Those with sugar addiction should stay away from sugar completely. We should avoid taking soft drinks, fruit juices, candies, sweets, baked goods, and fruits in syrup, diet foods to minimize the added sugar intake. We can use Splenda which is a zero calorie sweetener. Sugar comes to market in 35 names like Barley Malt Syrup, Beet Sugar, Brown Rice Syrup, Brown Sugar Cane Crystals (or, even better, “cane juice crystals”)Cane Sugar, Coconut Sugar, or Coconut Palm Sugar, Corn sweetener, Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids, Dehydrated Cane Juice, Dextrin, Dextrose, Evaporated Cane Juice, Fructose, Fruit juice concentrate, Glucose, High-fructose corn syrup, Honey, Invert sugar, Lactose, Malt dextrin, Malt syrup, Maltose, Maple syrup, Molasses, Palm Sugar, Raw sugar, Rice Syrup, Saccharine, Sorghum or sorghum syrup, Sucrose Syrup, Treacle Turbinated Sugar, Xylose. But if you are addicted to sugar the advice is The less, the better! Added sugar is so unhealthy that it is probably the single worst ingredient in the modern diet.
Here are the top 8 reasons to avoid sugar:
- Added Sugar Supplies a Large Amount of Fructose:The reason added sugar HFCS is bad for you, is that it supplies a very large amount of fructose. Sugar and HFCS both are made of one molecule each of glucose and fructose. Glucose is essential and can be metabolized by pretty much every cell in the body and provides energy. Fructose, however, is not essential and only liver can metabolize it. If there is a large amount of fructose in the liver and it is already full of glycogen, most of the fructose gets turned into fat. This process is probably one of the leading causes of the epidemics of many chronic, Western diseases. This does NOT apply to fruit, which are a real food with vitamins, minerals, fiber, lots of water and are very difficult to overeat on. So if liver goes wrong anything can happen, be careful!
- Taking lot of added sugar leads to a disease called Non alcoholic fatty liver disease. Too much of fructose deposition in the liver leads to this type of disease and many other related to it.
3.Cholesterol and triglycerides are unregulated by added sugar: Most of the fat generated in the liver gets shipped out as Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) which is commonly called bad cholesterol. People who drink fructose-sweetened drink have increased in blood triglycerides, oxidized LDL (very, very bad),high fasting glucose and insulin, decreased insulin sensitivity and increased fat in the abdominal cavity (visceral fat). This leads to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and a (short) lifetime of poor health. All these are serious health risk factors.
4.Insulin resistance is due to sugar:Pancreas secretes insulin which directs glucose from the bloodstream into cells. But when we consume a lot sugar, the cells tend to become resistant to the effects of insulin. When this happens, the pancreas start secreting even more insulin to remove the glucose from the bloodstream, because elevated blood glucose is poisonous. But insulin also has another important function: it tells fat cells to pick up fat from the bloodstream which become more fatty leading to obesity. This is how insulin obesity. When the body becomes even more resistant to insulin, the beta cells in the pancreas eventually become damaged and lose the ability to produce sufficient insulin. This is how you get type II diabetes. Excess fructose is a known cause of insulin resistance and elevated insulin in the blood(2).
5.Sugar gives you affluent diseases: Excess sugar consumption has been associated with many Western diseases. These diseases are in contrast to diseases of the poor. It is estimated that even developing countries are getting more and more Western diseases due to poor health awareness. Sugar is the single largest contributing factor to the poor health of affluent nations. Processed foods, refined flour and irregular work schedule make sick. Sugar has been associated with:Obesity. Sugar causes weight gain through insulin and leptin (hunger hormone) resistance.Diabetes. Sugar is probably a leading cause of diabetes.Heart disease.
Sugar raises the bad cholesterol and triglycerides that can ultimately lead to heart disease.
6.Sugar in your brain makes you unsatisfied:Satiety is a feeling of fullness or satisfaction. Sugar does not give us a sense of satisfaction in regard to eating. Hypothalamus is the part of our brain which regulates our food intake. In a study published in Journal of American Medical Association(3) two groups of people were given either a glucose-sweetened drink or a fructose-sweetened drink. The glucose drinkers had decreased blood flow in the hypothalamus and felt satiated, while the fructose drinkers had increased blood flow in this area of the brain. The fructose drinkers felt less satisfied and were still hungry. This finding is supported by measuring hunger hormone (ghrelin).The more ghrelin, the hungrier you are(4).
7.Are you sugar-addict:When we eat sugar, dopamine is released in the brain, giving us a feeling of pleasure(5). This is actually how drugs of abuse like cocaine function. Our brain is hardwired to seek out activities that release dopamine. Activities that release an enormous amount of it are especially desirable. In certain individuals with a certain predisposition to addiction, this causes reward-seeking behavior typical of addiction to abusive drugs. Many people consume sugar and other junk foods in a way that is typical for addictive, abusive compounds.
8.Sugar causes Leptin (hunger) resistance:Leptin is a hormone that is secreted by our fat cells. The fatter we have, the more leptin is secreted. This is supposed to function as a signal to tell the brain that we are full and need to stop eating. Over weights actually have high levels of leptin, but the problem is that the leptin isn’t working. This is called leptin resistance and is a major reason why people eat more calories than they burn and become obese.Fructose is a known cause of leptin resistance, both because insulin blocks leptin signalling in the brain and because fructose raises blood triglycerides which also block the effects of leptin. This makes our brain think that the fat cells are empty and you keep eating. Such people have very weak will power. Sugar has to go to reverse these effects