HealthNutrition

The Damaging Effects Of Consuming Too Much Refined Sugar

Guest Author: Knut Roberts

 

This week we are sharing a post by Knut Roberts, you can read a small snippet about him at the bottom of the blog.

There is a cornucopia of mouth-watering treats that tempt us daily and we find it hard to look the other way. We often try many different techniques to help us avoid these cravings but often to no avail. Team Shape believes it is important to understand why we crave and so we wrote a piece about the science behind cravings to help us turn our noses up at these sugary treats.

We all know that sugar is not overly healthy. But, are you aware of just how bad it is for your body? When people talk about ditching sugar, they mostly worry about their waistline. Yet, this is just one and not necessarily the biggest of concerns. So, let us take a closer look at what sugar does to your body and all the surprising ways in which it impedes your health and well-being.

Weight gain

One of the most discernible effects of sugar is that it makes you put on extra weight. Namely, excess sugar translates into excess calories, which then leads to fat buildup. Food that is high in sugar packs an incredible amount of calories in a small dosage, and to make things worse, nutrients are nowhere to be found. Because of this, we need more to feel full and that is a vicious cycle of gaining weight and still feeling hungry. In the long term, obesity becomes a dire possibility, and fitness becomes your only way out.

Living a healthy balanced lifestyle and following these nutrition tips will help you reduce the effects of any excess weight gain.

Raised blood sugar levels and diabetes

Gaining weight is sadly not the end of the problems. People who are obese or overweight also develop insulin resistance. Their cells struggle to absorb glucose from the blood and turn it into energy. The pancreas then has to go into overdrive to produce more insulin. Alas, the excess insulin ends up in our bloodstream, instead of cells. Depending on the level of blood glucose, this scenario causes pre-diabetes or type-2 diabetes.

In fact, Team Shape recommend tracking your blood sugar levels and even blood pressure to really stay on top of your health. Find out how by visiting  The Ultimate Tracking Guide.

Ruining dental health

Sugar is also the bane of dental health: You should have trusted your dentist because it really is a culprit behind cavities and tooth decay. In this regard, sour candies are the most notorious form of sugar you can consume. The process plays out like this: The sugar lingers on your teeth, the bacteria then feed on it and produce acid that destroys enamel. To be on the safe side, arm yourself with some powerful gear, and never miss a dental appointment.

You become an addict

One of the main reasons behind sugar’s allure is the surge of feel-good brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine that occurs in our brain. Interestingly enough, the science behind sugar cravings is similar to why your body becomes addicted to narcotics and alcohol. Our body craves for more after the initial high. That is how we literally become addicted to eating tons of sugar, never being able to fill the void of want. Consequently, many medical professionals have started recognizing and treating sugar consumption as a type of addiction.

The treacherous spikes and crashes

Initial insulin spikes take place because your body makes an effort to regulate blood sugar levels. Once the effects wear off, however, you experience a blood sugar drop, which leaves you all drained wanting to do nothing more than lie on the couch. At a certain point, when sugar intake reaches even higher levels, you can feel chronically tired and sluggish. And in the case that you lack essential nutrients like protein and fiber, the situation only turns from bad to worse.

You lay waste to your organism

One study found that sugary drinks have the unsettling power to degrade your body on a cellular level, effectively aging it much like cigarettes. So, your favorite soda can is actually the opposite of an elixir of youth. It affects and strains almost every part of our organism, which cannot pump all the oversaturated blood through blood vessels. Organs such as the kidneys, brain, eyes, and heart are usually the first to be affected by this siege. This can result in an increased risk of strokes and liver failure and these are just one of the terrible consequences. Solution? Switching to these delicious smoothies.

On the safe side

The negative impact of sugar goes beyond just weight gain. It turns out that refined sugar is up there with the worst of the worst in the food realm. A tablespoon of sugar in your coffee does not harm you that much, but the average intake in countries like the US goes way higher than recommended. Therefore, take a proactive approach and mind your eating habits. Those who are trying to live a long and healthy life should strive to minimize the amount of processed sugar they intake.

 

About The Author

Hi, I am Knut. I am a marathon runner, a freelance writer and a nature lover. I love cooking and writing about eating healthily.

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Charlie Farmer

Charlie is content writer and community manager at Shape.

25 Comments

  1. You nailed all my issues! I am not … wait … are there degrees of addiction? Probably not. So what I should say is that I am able to overcome the demon most times, but not every time.

  2. ridiculously, i actually managed to totally accidentally break the “addiction” to sugar – i got so overwhelmed last christmas by the prospect of finishing all the candy/chocolate presents i gave them away and have barely eaten sugary snacks since- and it has seemed to do things for my health

  3. I loved this blog about sugar intake. I knew sugar was bad and this post was very enlightening. I would love to continue to see more health related blog posts.

  4. Great Blog post, I have recently been trying to cut down on the sugar I consume, because I simply just consume some much. I also don’t see that artificial sugar is any help. Plus it just taste gross.

  5. I didn’t realize sour candies were worse than any other candy! The article doesn’t really say why though? I think all sweet candy would be bad because the sugar lingers on your teeth and that encourages bacterial growth (leading to tooth decay). But I’m curious why sour candy would be worse?

  6. Saw this on Dr. Oz as well and have put into practice. Definitely true, sugar leads to wanting more sugar. One the easiest things to do for weight loss is cooking your own meals and avoiding processed foods.

  7. Why hasn’t sugar been outlawed yet?! I’d love to see more analyses of the staple ingredients in the modern diet and how they affect the body like this!

  8. im an addict of sugar myself and the highs and lows are so bad ive been going less in sugar but i feel bad i know its sad but who knew grewing up all the sugar in all the food are family gave us now i love it but working hard on my taste for sugary things

  9. So, your favorite soda can is actually the opposite of an elixir of youth. It affects and strains almost every part of our organism, which cannot pump all the oversaturated blood through blood vessels. Organs such as the kidneys, brain, eyes, and heart are usually the first to be affected by this siege that is what i learned and id like to see more post on what we all eat like what sugary things we should stay from i was informed alot on this so i think your writing is perfect

    1. Sugary drinks are indeed bad for your health Carol. Interestingly a study conducted in 2015 by the Foods Standards Agency proved that Aspartame, an artificial sweetener found in carbonated drinks and one that is often quoted as causing health problems, actually causes no harm to your body. However, the other negative effects of sugary drinks including, to your dental health are still prevalent.

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