Can you imagine going through an entire day without a single taste of sugar in anything that you consume? This means no sugar in your coffee, no sweet cereals or oatmeal, no donuts at work, no ice cream for desert after dinner – no sugar at all whether it is added in by a manufacturer or by you. Our sweet tooth is hard to ignore, we almost have an ingrained need to satisfy our sweet cravings day after day, but too much sugar can have a huge impact on your overall health and well-being. At its simplest form, sugar is a simple carbohydrate that naturally occurs in certain foods and drinks, but it can also be found as an additive in other foods and drinks. Consuming too much sugar can lead to health problems like weight gain, diabetes, tooth decay and more.
But, don’t fruits and vegetables also have sugar in them? Yes – there are certain foods, like dairy products and certain fruits and vegetables that naturally contain sugars, which gives them a sweeter taste. These types of foods are important to include in your diet because they also provide a range of other vitamins and nutrients that offer very valuable health benefits. The type of sugar that you need to be aware of is the type that is added in by manufacturers to foods like cereal, cake, granola bars and drinks. Unlike food that has naturally occurring sugar, those with added sugar have zero nutritional value. Your body will digest added sugar very quickly, which makes them a horrible source of energy and will eventually cause many health problems over time. Here is a list of reasons why sugar is ruining your health and why you need to limit your intake of sugar in order to achieve your health and weight loss goals.
- Sugar is an empty calorie and when it is added to foods and drinks it can significantly increase the calorie content without adding any type of nutritional benefit. Products that contain natural sugars, like fruits and vegetables, are digested at a slower rate by your body, why makes them a lasting source of energy. Consuming empty calories can cause nutritional imbalances and undermine the health benefits of other food and drinks in your diet that are healthier and offer nutritional value.
- One of the main risks of consuming too much sugar is weight gain, because foods that have added sugar tend to be higher in calories. Even if you are following a weight loss program and exercising on a regular basis, if you are binging on cookies and soda you will continue to gain unhealthy weight. Because your body digests added sugar quickly, you’re also likely to feel hunger more often, which can lead to eating more throughout the day and a greater daily calorie intake.
- There is a strong link between regularly consuming sugary drinks and developing type 2 diabetes. Sugar by itself won’t cause diabetes, because any significant health challenge is the cause of many unhealthy habits, but diets that are high in sugar are typically also high in calories, and sugary drinks like sodas and sports drinks are especially problematic.
- When you were little did your parents ever tell you to brush the sugar bugs out of your teeth, so you don’t get cavities? Well, there’s something to that because sugar consumption may lead to the development of cavities. After eating sugar, the bacteria in your mouth will form a thin layer of plaque over your teeth, which reacts with sugar present in food and drink and will release an acid that is damaging to your teeth. Limiting your intake of food that is high in sugar is the best and most effective way to prevent dental issues like cavities.
- Last, but not least, a diet that is high in sugar can increase your risk for heart disease. A diet that is high in sugar and fat can decrease the amount of blood that flows to and from your heart and increase the risk of developing heart disease. Recent research suggests that sugary drinks may be especially problematic in this situation, so it’s important to stay hydrated with water instead of juice or soda.
As you work to change your lifestyle and be healthier, it’s important to check the contents and ingredients of food before you buy it so you can avoid added sugar. There are many names for sugar, including dextrose, sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup and others. To maintain a healthy diet, it’s best to consume no more than 25-35 grams of added sugar per day.