Harmful Effects Of Sugar On Your Health
Sugar is a guilty pleasure. It can be hard to resist when you’re served with your favorite decadent cakes coated with smooth icing, and garnished with a cherry on top. Let’s take a look at some red flags caused by a high-sugar diet. And at the end, we’ll find out if you should completely let go of your favorite desserts -- or if there’s a healthier alternative that you can try.
Is All Sugar Bad?
Sugar is found in cakes, gelatos, lollipops, parfaits, pudding, and waffles. But does all sugar pose serious problems for your health? This is a valid question since sugar can be found in other kitchen staples and essentials, such as breads, meats, and condiments (Worcestershire sauce and ketchup).
The body requires certain amounts of sugar to function. This raises the need to distinguish good sugar from bad sugar. The human body produces a type of sugar called glucose and is naturally found in cells. Glucose is essential for keeping yourself energized and functioning, but too low or too high levels can also lead to health concerns. Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, respectively, both have serious effects on your health if not managed immediately.
Another type of sugar is fructose, which is found in several food items today. It is a type of hepatotoxin that is converted into bad fats, which should be alright except for the fact that the liver can only process these components within a limited range. As with anything in life, too much of fructose can be a bad thing, and bring up different health conditions, such as insulin resistance, impaired fat regulation, and obesity.
When a food item mentions “added sugars”, this often refers to fructose and other types of refined sugars, such as sucrose and high fructose corn syrup.The bad thing about these is that they do not contain essential nutrients and instead are packed with empty calories. Unlike glucose, which is responsible for various roles in the body, these added sugars are best left outside the body.
Harmful Effects Of Refined Sugars
Affects the Liver’s Metabolism
It has already been established that the liver has a threshold when it comes to processing fats and sugar. Therefore, too much sugar may not be metabolized (at least not properly). This lead to weight gain and insulin resistance. It also affects your digestion negatively, elevates your blood sugar levels, and causes high blood pressure.
Causes Insulin Malfunction
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas and regulates glucose levels in the blood. Insulin is released to control sugar levels to maintain homeostasis and normal body functioning. But when too much sugar is ingested, it overpowers insulin. Constant high levels of sugar in the body causes insulin resistance, which means the hormone is not working as it normally should.
It will not be able to perform its functions such as suppressing ghrelin, the “hunger hormone” and stimulating the “satiety hormone” known as leptin. This means that even though you are already full, you feel like you are still hungry - and this will lead to overeating, which will further lead to a whole list of health problems.
Insulin Resistance Leads To Diabetes
When the body’s capability to produce insulin is suppressed, there will be no hormone to regulate blood sugar levels. As you consume more food high in sugar, insulin resistance is developed and causes diabetes. According to the International Diabetes Foundation, the disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, and occurs when insulin production is continuously suppressed.
Possibility for Addiction
Sugar induces the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also causes a pleasant feeling, so it is possible for the brain to gravitate towards the thing that causes this pleasant feeling, which is the foundation of all types of addiction. The same concept applies to sugar intake.
The Healthy Alternative
NatriSweet Stevia is a natural alternative to refined sugar. It’s 100% safe and healthy, and comes from the actual leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni plant. For centuries, this plant has been used in South America, where indigenous people used the leaves to sweeten their drinks or directly consumed it as a sweet treat.
Stevia contains stevioside, which has been found to promote normal insulin functioning. By doing so, the body is able to maintain lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure. This is a huge help for those with type 2 diabetes.
Aside from lowering blood glucose levels, steviosides are also responsible for the natural sweetness that stevia offers. Our stevia contains 90% steviosides, making it a perfect sugar substitute minus the health risks. It’s 200 times sweeter than refined sugar, too, so you don’t have to use as much!