A little sweetness occasionally is not bad, however there are several reasons to minimize sugar intake. For whatever reason you decide to cut back sugar— perhaps to improve your health and nutrition— deciding to reduce your sugar intake is no easy feat. This is due to the fact that they are present in a lot of beverages and food— even the supposed “healthy” ones.
Excessive sugar consumption can be harmful to your health— be it added or natural. Eating too much refined sugars in particular can place you at risk for certain health conditions. Think donuts, soda, juice, or even sweeteners for your tea or coffee. This is because your body absorbs them rapidly, but can’t process them quick enough.
Consuming too much sugar has been associated with a vast number of health related conditions. You are better minimizing your sugar intake in order to avoid its toxic effects. Some of them include:
- Contributes to type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Hardening of the arteries
- May harm liver
- Promotes obesity
- Causes inflammation
- Increase risk of hypertension
- Leads to acne formation
The Different Forms of Sugar You May Find in Your Diet!
Sugar is the broad term for sweet-tasting soluble carbohydrates that occur naturally in many foods. It is the simplest form of carbohydrate – they have a short chain and generally cyclic structure— others being fiber and starch, which have longer chain molecules.
Sugar can be either naturally occurring or added. Natural sugar is present in certain foods like fruits, vegetables, and diary. While added sugars (predominantly refined) is any sugar or caloric sweetener added to foods during the manufacturing process— white sugar, cookies, or even honey.
Although natural sugars are preferred over their added counterparts, both should be monitored, albeit in different ways. Refined or added sugars should be used in moderation or avoided if possible. While naturally-occurring sugars should be controlled by following portion recommendations.
Furthermore, sugar takes several different forms— for example glucose, fructose, and sucrose are all forms of sugar. Glucose is made up of one single unit of sugar and your body’s preferred carbohydrate source. Fructose is similarly a single unit of sugar known as ‘fruit sugar’. Sucrose however is a combination of glucose and fructose (it is also the scientific term for table sugar).
It’s possible to consume alarming amounts of sugar without knowing, especially, with hidden sugars going unnoticed in our food supply. These added sugars are particularly found in cocktails, sodas, syrups, pastries or baked goods— cookies, donuts and most processed foods.
Apart from the different forms of sugar, there are several other names for added sugar. This means sugar can be camouflaged as all kinds of product ingredients in supermarkets. Reducing your intake of these kinds of sugars can offer numerous health benefits. Be cautious of the following ingredients listed below. They include:
- Cane sugar
- Maple syrup
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
3 Significant Reasons to Minimize Sugar Intake
1. Leads to Certain Health Risks and Conditions
Individuals who consume refined sugars often— like sugar-sweetened beverages— risk of developing type 2 diabetes. When you consume excess sugar, your pancreas releases lots of insulin to keep up. For your body to process blood sugar, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin (it allows sugar to enter your cells). If this happens constantly over a period, your cells gradually stop responding to insulin and sugar builds up in the bloodstream. This is known as insulin resistance and it can eventually lead to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Sugar plays a prominent role in the development of Type 2 diabetes, irrespective of whether a person is obese or not.
Also, a high-sugar diet is linked to conditions such as obesity, inflammation, and high sugar and blood pressure levels. It is equally a major contributor to unhealthy LDL cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides and has been linked to atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by fatty, artery-clogging deposits.
Reducing your added sugar intake, exercising, and following a healthful diet will ensure your insulin levels are at an optimal level. This will not only regulate your blood sugar levels and decrease your risk for diabetes it will also assist in improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
2. Reasons to Minimize Sugar Intake: Contributes to Acne Formation
A diet high in refined carbs, such as sugary snacks and beverages can trigger the formation of acne. This is because foods high in sugar can spike blood sugar and insulin levels quickly, causing increased androgen secretion, oil production and inflammation. This can lead to a higher risk of developing acne. So, if you are battling acne, avoiding sugar is an effective way to help clear up your skin. You can switch to foods with a low glycemic index as they won’t spike up your blood sugar.
3. Assists Weight Management
Too much refined sugar in your diet can lead to weight gain and even obesity. Not only does it increase your insulin production, but your body converts excess sugar into fat, leading to weight gain. In addition, this kind of sugar is particularly associated with belly fat. Belly fat is also known as visceral fat and it wraps around your abdominal organs.
Furthermore, when you give up sugar it helps you cut back processed foods from your diet. This will encourage you to gravitate towards eating more healthy foods. These include fruit, nuts, grains, vegetables, seafood, eggs and meat, and also foods low in added sugar. They keep you feeling satisfied for longer and reduce cravings. This can reduce belly fat and help effectively manage your weight.
Additional Reasons to Minimize Sugar Intake!
Reducing sugar intake has a number of benefits for our overall health and well being. When trying to give up sugar completely, focusing on the reason you’re doing this is a good way to keep you dedicated to your goal. Below we outline some of the reasons why reducing sugar can benefit your overall health and well being.
- It can be highly addictive
- Less sugar will improve oral health, e.g. less cavities
- Can make you lethargic
- May lower your immunity
- Spike blood sugar
- Excessive consumption of sugar may harm your liver
- Improved mood and mental focus