Sugar Awareness Week
We all know that too much sugar is not good for the body and especially when on a weight loss / fat loss journey, but do you really know how sugar affects the body?
What is sugar?
Sugar is a carbohydrate in its simplest form. There are many types of sugars, from maple syrup to high fructose corn syrup. Regardless of the type, your body breaks down these sugars into glucose, your body's preferred form of energy.
There are two main sources of sugar: natural and processed.
- Natural sugar is found in whole, natural foods. You likely associate fruit as the food group closely linked to natural sugar, but vegetables such as carrots, beets, squash, zucchini, and onions also contain some natural sugar. Examples of natural sugar include the sugars found in dairy products, fruit, and vegetables.
- Processed sugar is sugar that's been tinkered with in some way and extracted from its natural source. Examples of processed sugar include white cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and agave.
Sugar is addictive and can cause all sorts of serious health issues, but what about those sneaky ailments that you may not realise are the results of your sugar intake?
Due to inflammatory nature sugar may be responsible for many of the pesky problems we are all faced with such as:
Period pain, be it from something as severe as endometriosis or simply a dull ache each month, is a result of inflammation in the uterine area.
PSORIASIS OR ECZEMA
Another example of inflammation in the body. For many who get Eczema, they also suffer from Asthma. All of these are considered inflammatory illnesses.
Whilst it tends to affect us as we get older, arthritis is inflammation of the joints. That said, younger people can suffer from this too.
PCOS (POLY CYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME)
Whilst it’s not technically ‘inflammatory’ it is in a round about way. PCOS could be considered inflammation presenting in the ovaries.
Most aches and pains boil down to inflammation. It’s important to consider if your headache has a specific trigger, be it hormonal (typically the same time each month) or food related (triggered by food like sugar).
Eating a diet high in sugar can cause a reaction in the body that triggers the “fight or flight” part of the nervous system, resulting in difficulty getting to and staying asleep.
From a Chinese medicine view point, acne is definitely ‘accumulation’ in the body, typically damp but sometimes combined with heat. Acne can definitely be inflamed by sugar and slow down the healing process.
Overconsumption of sugar feeds candida (yeast), leading to bloating, gas, and indigestion.
Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can cause problems in the body’s ability to maintain a stable temperature, so if you eat too closely to bedtime, or too much sugar you may find yourself experiencing night sweats.
Glucose is essential for energy production throughout the body, however, it is important to keep blood sugar levels balanced as opposed to experiencing the peaks and troughs that occur when we binge on sugary snacks. Following the consumption of sugar, the pancreas releases insulin to help transfer glucose to the cells, meaning we may experience a rush of energy. Once used up, we can experience a dip in energy as the body demands more sugar to start the cycle all over again.
You may want to skip the dessert on date night. Sugar may impact the chain of events needed for an erection.
WEAKENED IMMUNE SYSTEM
Did you know that 70% of our immune system is located in the gut, and supported by beneficial gut bacteria? It's therefore important to keep a balance of good bacteria. A diet high in sugar, however, will feed the less desirable bacteria and yeast and consequently affect how well the immune system functions.
MAKES YOUR ORGANS FAT
A diet high in sugar, and fructose, a common sugar-like food additive, triggers your liver to store fat, which can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
LINKED WITH ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
US research linking insulin resistance and high fat diets to Alzheimer’s portrays the condition as a metabolic disease where the brain’s ability to process glucose is damaged.
Apart from the fact it takes just 30 minutes to go from a sugar rush to a crash, long-term junk and sugary food consumers face an almost 40 per cent higher risk of developing depression than healthy eaters