Should you be avoiding all kinds of sugar?
The natural sugar in whole foods such as fruits isn’t bad for you. It’s only bad when the sugar is isolated and added to other foods. For example, when sugar is extracted from beet or sugar cane, and isolated, such as high fructose corn sugar, then it is a problem (especially in the amounts that are added in processed foods to enhance the flavor of those foods).
Here’s how added sugar affects you:
1. Added sugar contains empty calories. No beneficial nutrients that your body can use, just calories.
2. Added sugar overburdens the liver, contributing to “fatty liver”. Yes, you read that right. It is excess added sugar (and refined carbohydrates), not fats in the diet that is the primary cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver.
3. Excess calories from added sugar that is not all used up for energy is converted to fat and stored as truncal obesity or “belly fat”
4. Too much added sugar in the diet over an extended period can cause insulin insensitivity, metabolic syndrome and eventually diabetes mellitus.
5. Added sugar in the diet leads to nutrient depletion. You read that right. As we already know, added refined sugar is just empty calories and has no nutrients whatsoever. Calories don’t automatically convert to energy. Nutrients and enzymes and oxygen are also needed to convert calories to energy through continuous chemical reactions in the body. When calories are in excess without accompanying nutrients, a situation occurs where existing nutrients get depleted and further energy production cannot take place efficiently. This is a common cause of constant fatigue and “malnutrition” even in developed and wealthy countries.
6. Added sugar in the diet leads to cravings (and hunger with irritability) and is the cause of binge eating. When you eat complex carbs and sugars naturally present in whole foods, you get a sustained release of energy into your bloodstream. This is thanks to all the accompanying nutrients, antioxidants and fibre in them which slow down their digestion and absorption into the bloodstream giving you a more sustained release of energy. On the other hand, when you On the other hand, when your immune system makes you more susceptible to infections. eat refined carbs and added sugars in the diet, there are no nutrients and fibre to slow down the absorption of the sugars into the bloodstream, and you end up getting a sudden ‘high’ or burst of energy lasting a short time, followed by a sudden ‘low’ or ‘crash’ when the blood sugar levels drop suddenly. These sugar ‘crashes’ often cause people to feel suddenly tired, hungry and extremely irritable until they eat something quickly, so they usually tend to look for the easiest available options to quickly satisfy their hunger. The easiest available foods are usually convenience and refined foods, adding to the vicious cycle of binge eating.
7. Added sugar suppresses the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections.8. Mental health: Excessive consumption of added sugar is associated with reduced cognitive abilities and depression.
8. Mental health: Excessive consumption of added sugar is associated with reduced cognitive abilities and depression.
Now that we know all the bad things refined sugar can do to us, it’s easier to remain motivated during the sugar detox.