Why does something that tastes so good have to be so bad for you? So hard to avoid and resist. Let’s take a look at some of the studies on the effects of sugar on the human body. It definitely has a special effect on the brain and has been shown to have addictive properties. According to brain scans, sugar is as addictive as cocaine. It causes a euphoric effect that triggers dopamine, the chemical that controls pleasure in the brain. The thought of something sweet can make people do crazy things to satisfy this craving. This is why I have to remove it from my home. Just knowing it is there is enough to get me out of bed to start rummaging through the pantry looking for it.
Here is a sobering statement. You can die from making it a significant component of your daily diet – just 17% of your calories in a day. Four calories in one gram of sugar. This translates to 340 calories (85 grams) in a 2000 calorie a day diet. Or 255 calories (64 grams) in a 1500 calorie per day diet. A 12 ounce can of soda has an average of 33 grams of sugar which translates to 132 calories. Two of these or 24 ounces and you have met the 17% impact level.
Consuming sugar in your diet can directly relate to dying from cardiovascular disease even if you are not overweight. These results are reported in a study in the JAMA Internal Medicine. The results indicate participants who consumed approximately 17% to 21% of calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of cardiovascular disease-related mortality. This relative risk was more than double for those who consumed 21% or more of calories from added sugar. Added sugar can be found in sugar-sweetened drinks, desserts, processed foods, condiments, seasonings, flavorings, etc. As sugar consumption increases, the risk of mortality increased. Even if you eat a relatively healthy diet the study showed that these findings were true regardless of a person’s age, sex, physical activity level, dietary preferences and body-mass index (a measure of weight).
What other effects does the consumption of sugar have on your body?
By eating processed sugar you are feeding your body empty calories with no nutritional value. Your body has no way of limiting the amount of processed sugar you consume – there are no natural triggers or fullness indicators. It is a dangerous slope to go down especially since many products don’t just have processed sugar in them but also fats and other additives. The calories quickly add up and this will cause an increase in body fat and body weight. By limiting the amount of processed sugar you consume and by adding natural sugars found in fruits you will automatically be on your way to a healthier lifestyle. Your body will thank you for it.
This is why it is so important to read all labels carefully so that you know what you are putting into your body.
Here are some of the commonly used terms for sugar that you can find in many processed food products. Some are worse culprits than others like high-fructose corn syrup and some are pretty healthy like date paste and date sugar as long as they are made with whole natural foods and no additives are added. Read labels carefully so you know what you are buying and consuming.
Terms for sugar:
agave nectar, barley malt, beet sugar, brown sugar, brown rice sugar, buttered syrup, cane (juice) crystals, cane juice, cane sugar, caramel, carob syrup, castor sugar, coconut water (50% sugar), coconut sugar, confectioners powdered sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystalline fructose, date paste, date sugar, date syrup, demerara sugar, dextran, dextrose, diastase, diastatic malt, dried cane syrup, ethyl maltol, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate(s), galactose, glucose, glucose solids, golden sugar, golden syrup, grape sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, icing sugar, invert sugar (syrup), lactose, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, muscovado sugar, panocha, raw sugar, refiner’s syrup, rice syrup, sorghum syrup, sucanat, sugar alcohols (erythritol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol), sucrose, sugar, syrup, treacle, turbinado sugar, yellow sugar
And finally – YOU are now empowered to make your own decisions in the products you choose to buy! Put your superhero cape on and hit the grocery store!