So what is sugar, really? Sugar is a sweet, crystalline substance that is obtained from plants such as the sugar cane that consists of sucrose and is used in many foods and drinks to improve their taste. The three most common scientific names for sugar: Sucrose, fructose and glucose. Sucrose is the sugar that you are probably most familiar with. It's that white crystal sugar that you put in your coffee. Fructose is the sugar that is found naturally in fruits. Glucose, also known as blood sugar, is the sugar that is found circulating in the blood in your body.
Why Is Sugar Harmful To Your Body?
Sugar is high in "empty calories," which means means that these calories don't provide a lot, if any, nutrition to the body. Another reason is that people tend to replace healthier, more nutritious foods with sugar-filled foods. Aside from these two noticeable reasons, sugar affects the body in many more serious ways.
Sugar Raises Insulin Levels
Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the body that helps to store nutrients you get from the food you eat. Eating large amounts of sugar will cause your blood sugar levels to sky rocket, which causes your pancreas to release a lot of insulin. Your pancreas is a smart enough organ to get your insulin levels back down to normal after one time but if you are someone who consumes high amounts of sugar on a regular basis, your pancreas won't be able to catch up and sooner or later you are going to become a diabetic. Ever wonder why people who have diabetes need insulin shots? Because they have screwed up their pancreas to the point where it cannot release a normal amount of insulin to control the body's blood sugar levels. Diabetes is the result of too much sugar.
Sugar Suppresses The Immune System
The sole responsibility of the immune system is to ward off viruses and bacteria to prevent sickness. When you eat something with a lot of sugar, your immune system kind of goes into hibernation mode. This limits the immune system’s ability to fight bacteria entering the body. And this doesn't only last for a couple of minutes, it lasts several hours after. That means if you are eating foods high in sugar throughout the whole day, your immune system has a hard time returning to its normal function which can lead to illness.
The Effects -- Simplified
-- Sugar leads to weight gain.
-- Sugar can cause tooth decay.
-- Sugar speeds up the aging process causing wrinkles.
-- Sugar raises adrenaline levels leading to hyperactivity, anxiety, and concentration problems, especially in children.
Foods High In Sugar
You can probably think of a million foods that are high in sugar such as cookies, cakes, candies and so on. Many foods on your supermarket shelves and maybe even in your pantry in your kitchen are loaded with sugar. A lot of these foods may be surprising to you to see the sugar content. A lot of people do not look at the sugar content in their foods and this can be a serious problem down the road. Here are some foods that are surprisingly high in sugar that you probably eat weekly.
Cereal: Many cereal companies advertise how "healthy" their cereals are but are they really? Not so much. Many of the known “unhealthy” cereals such as Froot Loops, Reese’s Puffs, Trix, Captain Crunch and so on, are obviously loaded with sugar. But these ones that claim to be healthy pack in just as many grams of sugar as the unhealthy ones. Special K cereals, Kellogg's Oat Bran, and Mini Wheat’s all claim to be a good way to start off the day ... which really means starting the day by consuming on average 15 grams of sugar in only one serving of cereal. Be careful when it comes to eating cereal. It’s not always the best breakfast choice.
Spaghetti Sauce: Imagine putting a Pop Tart on top of your spaghetti rather than sauce. No one in their right mind would do that, but you might as well. Some bottled spaghetti sauces contain the same amount of sugar as a pop tart. It’s best to choose organic sauces or even make your own.
Yogurt: Yogurt can be a great snack or a diet trap. If you ever have walked down the dairy aisle, I’m sure you’ve noticed the very wide variety of yogurts that you can purchase. Many of the yogurts in that selection are just loaded with sugar, especially the yummy flavored ones like red velvet, strawberry banana, cheesecake, and so on. It's best to choose organic or Greek yogurt.
Juice Drinks: Many parents give their children all kinds of fruit juices such as apple juice, grape juice or orange juice. These juices are basically sugar water and should really be avoided. If you are going to drink juice drinks, they should be watered down and limited. Your best options are unsweetened teas, water or low fat milk.
Consuming packaged foods on a daily basis will definitely sky rocket your sugar intake and can lead to serious health problems. Be sure to choose natural, whole foods rather than packaged ones. Of course it's always OK to eat these foods in moderation. Some ice cream or a cookie here and there isn't going to kill you.
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