The Dangers of Sugar - Deepstash
The Dangers of Sugar

The Dangers of Sugar

According to experts, too much added sugar can be one of the greatest threats to cardiovascular disease. Complications arise when you consume too much added sugar — that is, sugar that food manufacturers add to products to increase flavor or extend shelf life.

"The effects of added sugar intake — higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease — are all linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke," says Dr. Hu.

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Natural Sugar is Good Sugar

The good sugar or natural sugar is produced naturally in all organic foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy. Consuming whole foods that contain natural sugar is okay. Plant foods also have high amounts of fiber, essential minerals, and antioxidants.

Since your body digests these foods slowly, the sugar in them offers a steady supply of energy to your cells. A high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains also has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

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In a study published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine, Dr. Hu and his colleagues found an association between a high-sugar diet and a greater risk of dying from heart disease.

Over the course of the 15-year study, people who got 17% to 21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with those who consumed 8% of their calories as added sugar.

"Basically, the higher the intake of added sugar, the higher the risk for heart disease,"

~says Dr. Hu.

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Sources of Added Sugar ( harmful)

To write simply, the added sugar is the artificial sugar that manufacturers use on their food products and they are often known as processed foods.

In the western diet , the top sources are soft drinks, fruit drinks, flavored yogurts, cereals, cookies, cakes, candy, and most processed foods. But added sugar is also present in items that you may not think of as sweetened, like soups, bread, cured meats, and ketchup.

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If 24 teaspoons of added sugar per day is too much, then what is the right amount? It's hard to say, since sugar is not a required nutrient in your diet. The Institute of Medicine, which sets Recommended Dietary Allowances, or RDAs, has not issued a formal number for sugar.

However, the American Heart Association suggests that men consume no more than 150 calories (about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams) of added sugar per day. That is close to the amount in a 12-ounce can of soda.

Again, if the consumption of added sugar is stopped completely, it is fine and even better for the health.

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Natural Sugar and Added Sugar

Natural sugar can be found in most nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables, and if you're looking for added sugar, it goes by 61 different names and it's quite hard to memorize them all.

The two most common sources for processed food sugars are sugarcane and sugar beets, but the cheapest to produce is corn syrup. Due to the desire for sweet-tasting food, there is now an overproduction of corn to satisfy the need for cheap sweets.

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Added Sugar vs. Natural Sugar
  • Added sugar is unfriendly to our health. It can be found in most food products we come across. It is absorbed by the body quicker unlike natural sugar.
  • Processed food is digested quickly as soon as it enters out intestine while fiber-rich foods break down slowly and travel farther down the digestive track making us feel fuller.
  • Foods containing natural sugar and fiber allow the body to feed the healthy bacteria in our gut and supports the health of our own microbiome.

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Sugar creates intense cravings

Sugar activates the brain's reward system that releases feel-good hormones. Too much sugar too frequently will hijack this reward system and will cause a loss of control, cravings and increased tolerance to sugar.

Research revealed that obese children have an elevated food reward response, predisposing them to a lifetime of sugar cravings.

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