Make no mistake that Americans overindulge through the holidays. It is tradition, right? We bake cookies, cakes and all sorts of treats for the family. While this might seem like an innocent occasion, the truth is that we are doing a ton of damage to our bodies when we eat that much sugar.
The negative effects of consuming too much sugar are bountiful. It adds unwanted pounds to our frame, increases heart disease and more. The mindset with regard to sugar must change if you want a healthy functioning mind and body.
The worst part is that sugar can also be hiding in our everyday foods and you might not even be realizing it! One easy example is juice. A glass of fruit juice for breakfast in the morning will be loaded with extra sugar. Even if you diligently read the nutrition labels, sugar can be hidden and renamed with words ending in “ose,” like dextrose.
How does sugar affect inflammation of the body?
One negative effect on your body that sugar can produce is inflammation. You might not realize it, but sugar can cause inflammation issues in your joints and muscles. Consuming large amounts of sugar means that large amounts of insulin is released into your body as well. When this happens, so does a series of biochemical reactions that results in inflammation. By using a blood test called C-reactive protein (CRP) to measure inflammation, studies have shown that eating sugary foods cause CRP levels to increase. When your joints and muscles are inflamed, you will feel pain and ache.
How does sugar affect other parts of my body?
It is not just your joints and muscles that can be affected by consuming too much sugar. Other parts of your body can be greatly affected as well.
Teeth – Just by eating sugar, you are exposing your teeth to a huge risk. Sugar likes to stick to your teeth then breakdown your enamel. Eventually your teeth can decay. Brushing at least twice daily is great, but limiting sugar is even better.
Gum disease – Your gums can also be affected because sugar can change the pH balance of your saliva in your mouth. This directly relates to periodontal disease. Eventually, this all leads to gum disease which is directly related to heart disease.
Immune system – Even your immune system can be stunted by sugar. Consuming too much sugar can actually put your white blood cells in a temporary coma, thus allowing infections, viruses and diseases to infiltrate. When your immune system is down, your chance of fighting off illness is greatly reduced
Stress – Many people use sugar as a coping mechanism, but eating sugar while stressed out actually does the exact opposite of what we want it to do. In fact, sugar causes stress hormones to be released when your body starts crashing after the initial consumption. Opt for a walk over that sugary snack any day of the week.
Cancer – Carcinogenic cells just love sugar. Feed your body sugar and it will give that energy to cancer cells too.
What type of sugar should I avoid?
Most people have a tough time dumping sugar altogether. That’s ok. You can start reducing your sugar intake by limiting your quantities first. For some people, going cold turkey on sugar can very risky.
First, you should avoid any type of simple sugar with no fiber. This includes: white and brown sugar, molasses, honey, cane sugar, corn sugar, artificial sugar and fruit juices. It is true that some fruit juice like orange juice has loads of vitamin C, but it still has added sugar that will do you more harm than good. It is best to greatly limit or avoid fruit juices altogether.
What type of sugar is ok to eat?
Most people limit their sugar intake by using a sugar substitute. It is only natural to find an alternative. Changing your diet to follow a low glycemic food intake would be ideal. If you choose a sugary substance, your best bet will always be something that is more natural. While honey and stevia are still sugar, they are better options than aspartame or sucralose.
It might be tough, especially through the holidays, to give up sugar. Unfortunately there are a lot of dangers to consuming sugar. There are virtually zero benefits of eating sugar and obviously a ton of side effects. You might experience some withdrawal symptoms as you begin to clean up your diet, but it is worth it in the long run.
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