Most people are aware of how bad sugar is in a general sense, as it commonly contributes to weight gain and obesity rates throughout the United States. However, because added sugars are found in almost every food product made today, added sugars have become one of the largest health risks over the past 20 years. For many, sugar is a sweet habit that’s addictive and hard to avoid, and for physicians, it is a terrible ingredient that’s causing more harm than good. We’re here to help you learn about the risks of eating too much sugar and help you find ways to curb your sugar cravings if you intend on dieting and eating healthier.
All The Sweet Dangers Of Added Sugar
One of the most frequent misconceptions about sugar is that all sugar is bad, but the relationship between sugar and our bodies is more complex than that. Natural sugars are often found in foods that contain carbohydrates, such as vegetables and fruits, and when it comes to the benefits these food groups have, whole foods that contain natural sugars are considered okay for our health. This is because fruits and vegetables also contain high amounts of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that our bodies need to sustain us.
However, it is when added sugars are present in our foods that trouble begins. Added sugars are mostly added to processed foods and are often found in food items we’d least expect, including bread, soups, and cured meats. On average, a person eats about 24 teaspoons of sugar each day, causing a huge impact on our bodies, causing long-term consequences that include:
- Heart Disease: Eating foods high in added sugar has been linked to high blood pressure and high amounts of inflammation throughout the blood vessels. It also has been linked to higher triglycerides, and thus has been connected to heart disease, which increases the risk of heart attacks.
- Type II Diabetes: When it comes to type II diabetes, added sugars have been known to increase insulin resistance, one of the primary indicators for this disease, causing blood sugar levels to rise and become unmanageable.
- Depression: Diets that are high in added sugars often lead to increased levels of dopamine throughout the system, and eating large amounts of processed foods has been associated with a higher risk of depression and mood swings.
- Obesity: Added sugars contribute to weight gain due to how these sugars influence our hormones. The hormones that regulate hunger increase, while the hormones that regulate satiation decrease, causing the body to store more energy eaten as fat than used by the body’s metabolism.
- Cancer: Some studies have shown that added sugars in high-fat diets have been linked to cancer because of their connection to inflammation throughout the body.
How To Limit Your Added Sugar Consumption
According to the American Heart Association, the organization recommends a minimum of 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and a minimum of 9 teaspoons per day for men. While most foods today contain added sugars, some of the best ways to avoid added sugars is through drinking water instead of sugary drinks, reducing the amount of sugar in your morning beverage, checking your nutrition labels when picking out foods, and choosing unsweetened options for your favorite foods. For more information about eating a healthier diet, visiting your primary doctor for tips is the best place to begin enjoying your life healthier and happier.