Too much sugar can take a toll on your body.
Sugar gets a bad rap, but the truth is, it’s a vital source of energy and essential to our survival. Of course, not all sugars are the same. Fructose found in fruits and vegetables and lactose found in foods rich in dairy products are natural sugars and we don’t need to worry because these foods contain fiber and calcium. Added sugar is often found in processed foods, and many of us consume too much of it.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, the average American consumes 270 calories per day, or 17 teaspoons of added sugar.
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Added sugar is anything added to food to make it sweeter, including natural sugars like honey and maple syrup. “Although they’re healthier than table sugar and provide more calories, they’re not as rich in vitamins and minerals,” says Jessica Cording, a New York City-based health coach and author of The Little Playbook. Changers.
According to the University of California, San Francisco, sugar is mysterious and can hide under 61 different names. Despite your best efforts to make healthy food choices, you may be consuming more sugar than you think.
Negative effects of sugar in the body
According to Harvard Health Press, when we eat sugar, most of it is broken down and absorbed in the small intestine. Specialized enzymes attack the larger molecules and convert them into three simple sugars: glucose, galactose, and fructose. The liver and muscles store some of the glucose as glycogen, a molecule that is converted to glucose when your body needs it.
When glucose enters the bloodstream, blood glucose levels rise. In response, the pancreas secretes insulin to transport the glucose to where it is needed in your body. If you add a lot of sugar, your cells become insulin resistant, a risk factor for systemic inflammation, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.
A study published in the November 2016 issue of Nutrients found that excessive sugar consumption is associated with risk factors such as weight gain, obesity, heart disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and cancer.
“Excessive consumption of added sugars affects our energy, mood, weight, and risk of disease,” says Cording. “It affects our physical and mental well-being.”
“In order for us to function as smoothly and normally as possible, our blood sugar needs to be in the Goldilocks zone of energy,” says William W. Lee, MD, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based physician and author of Eat. overcome illness.
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Are you eating too much sugar?
Recommendations for limiting added sugars vary among industry groups. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recommends no more than 10 percent of calories from added sugars each day. For someone consuming 2,000 calories a day, that’s a maximum of 12 teaspoons.
However, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories for women and children and 150 calories for men each day. It will be 6 teaspoons for women and children and 9 teaspoons for men.
Both groups agree that infants and toddlers under 2 should not have added sugar.
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If you don’t get enough fruits and vegetables in your diet and don’t eat a balanced diet that includes fats, healthy fats, and unrefined carbohydrates, added sugars can replace other healthy foods. Not only are you missing out on vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but the added sugar can show up in other surprising ways.
Here are 12 signs you’re eating too much sugar.
- Hunger and weight gain
If you’re consuming more calories with added sugar, one of the first signs is increased hunger. “[Sugar] is satisfying to the taste buds, but it doesn’t satisfy or fill our stomachs,” says Keri Stoner-Davis, RDN, who works at Lemond Nutrition in Plano, Texas.
Without the protein, fiber, and healthy fats that most processed snacks and sugary treats lack, Cording says, the body burns sugar quickly and increases hunger, which can lead to mindless and even compulsive snacking.
Reviews and meta-analyses suggest that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages can lead to weight gain in adults and children.
But it is not only excess calories, but also weight gain.
According to an article published in the journal Cell in May 2016, the gut microbiome, an ecosystem of 39 trillion microorganisms, is the body’s self-defense system. A healthy gut helps our metabolism regulate blood glucose and insulin levels and, in part, allows our body to use fat and regulate cholesterol. “When you add sugar, it damages that ecosystem,” Dr. Lee said.
Good bacteria decrease and bad bacteria multiply, leading to dysbiosis (imbalance between these bacteria), metabolism, and inability to process lipids and cholesterol properly.
In addition, sugar may damage fat hormones such as leptin, which suppress hunger, Li believes. According to Lee, “High sugar disrupts metabolism and, in part, interferes with leptin.” “Eating sugar makes you want more sugar, which makes you hungrier.”