Refined Sugar: The sweet poison
“Sugar, it ain’t so sweet.”
Only a few of us can get through our days without adding sugar to our daily diets. But little do we know that sugar is one of the worst ingredients in modern day diets. It can cause all sorts of diseases and can have extremely harmful effects on our metabolism.
Sodas and energy drinks are major sources of refined sugars. While fruit juices are close behind. Packaged fruit juices are very deceptive these days. From the outside you might think they’re healthy, but the harsh reality is that most of these “fruit” juices are stripped of all nutrients and contain more additives and sugar than your regular soda.
This deeply entrenched desire for sugar is so out of our control that you’re probably salivating while reading about it right now. But before you reach out for that doughnut to get some glucose action, just hold on for a while and read further…
To understand the effect of sugar, let’s first understand what it’s made up of and also its nutritional value in our diet.
Before entering our bloodstream sugar is broken down into two components:
Glucose: It a simple sugar which is an important source of energy in living organisms. Produced by our bodies naturally through carb based foods.
Fructose: Not produced by the body naturally and has no significant importance.
Our livers are designed to metabolize fructose only to a certain extent. Consuming a lot of fructose overloads the liver, forcing it to convert this fructose into fat instead of storing it as glycogen in the liver. This process leads to fatty liver and other liver related problems.
However, this cannot be applied to fruits because they contain a very minimal amount of unrefined sugar also known as natural sugar. It is beyond the bounds of possibility to overeat fructose through fruits.
So the bottom line here is, if you have a very inactive lifestyle and you don’t exercise regularly, the refined sugars consumed by you will get stored in your body as fat.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF SUGAR
One of the most common excuses people get away with these days when it comes to the consumption of refined sugars are: ‘everything is okay in moderation or eliminating a food group from our diets can be dangerous’. It’s obviously true that no macronutrient category (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) should be eliminated from our diets. But sugar in itself is not a food group or category. In fact it contains:
NO HEALTHY FATS
So, refined sugars are nothing but null calories that create a hormonal gush that starts a positive feedback loop in the body to inspire more consumption.
SUGAR IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF MANY DISEASES
As discussed in a previous article, insulin is a very important hormone in our body that allows the flow of glucose from the bloodstream to the cell. Too much glucose in the blood causes a metabolic dysfunction due to which insulin stops functioning the way it should. The cells become resistant to it. This insulin resistance causes a lot of diseases such as obesity and also diabetes.
When the cells become resistant to the insulin our pancreas start producing more of this hormone. Soon the pancreases reach a point of failure and are not able to keep up with the demand of producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels down. At this point, the sugar levels get spiked up in our blood and Type II Diabetes is diagnosed.
Constantly elevated insulin levels can also cause cancer. Cancer is caused by an uncontrolled multiplication of cells. Insulin is one key hormone that promotes this growth. Due to this many scientists believe that people who consume more sugar have a higher risk of getting cancer.
The key to consuming sugar is to use it at specific times of the day. Moderate amount of sugar can be ingested early in the morning on an empty stomach or 20 minutes after a workout to create an insulin spike that’ll make up for the lost glucose during the workout.
Don’t overindulge sugar in your diet. Find the right equilibrium between its benefits and tribulations.
“Eat less sugar, you’re sweet enough already.”
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