Under normal circumstances, only a tablespoon of sugar is needed in the blood to circulate throughout the body at any given time. That’s 4g of sugar in about 1.2-1.5 gallons of blood (4.5-5litres).
And while USDA recommends a daily intake of 8 spoons, an average American consumes about 53 teaspoons daily, which translates to 212grams of sugar per day. Maybe this is why obesity is a pandemic in the United States and other parts of the world.
The effects of sugar on health cannot be emphasized enough, mainly because sugar is not limited to the white crystals of the sugarcane plant or beets. Refined carbohydrates and white flours are nothing but sugar. They have no nutritional benefits and all they can do is spike your blood glucose levels and those of insulin.
High fructose corn syrup, fructose, and sucrose, they all fall within the same category and should be avoided.
Here are the top 5 reasons to eliminate sugar from your diet.
- Sugar causes inflammation.
When the body experiences an attack or an invasion, it responds in a series of reactions to help protect itself. It’s these reactions that bring about inflammatory processes.
So acute inflammation is actually helpful to the body. However, sustained or chronic inflammation, often caused by a poor diet full of sugar and refined carbohydrates, may lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and liver problems.
- Sugar wipes out essential minerals from your body.
Apart from the fact that sugar has zero nutritional benefits, it causes leaching of essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium out of the body, predisposing you to osteoporosis, weaker bones, loose teeth, and tooth decay.
- It’s addictive.
There’s nothing as damaging as being addicted to the wrong stuff.
Sugar stimulates the release of a “feel good” chemical in the brain called dopamine. The more you consume sugar, the more the body creates dopamine receptors causing you to develop more cravings for sugar.
- Sugar can cause weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
Insulin is a hormone that carries excess glucose from the blood into the cells for energy.
On a high glucose diet, there is still glucose in the blood even after storage. This causes insulin to convert and store the remaining glucose as fat around your internal organs and your midsection. It’s this fat that increases the risk of developing lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.
- Sugar accelerates ageing.
Sugar attaches to proteins in the blood to produce free radicals that ruin your skin collagen and elasticity.
These radicals also shut down the natural protective antioxidant enzyme released by the body. Without the antioxidant protection, the skin is exposed to additional free radicals from the environment and other chemicals that can trigger oxidative stress resulting in premature ageing.
In today’s internet world, the word on the harmful effects of sugar is rapidly reaching the masses. However, you need to remember that sugar doesn’t necessarily mean the sugar crystals in their form. So many products out there have sugar added to them to enhance taste and keep you addicted. You should always read packages carefully and avoid all kinds of refined carbohydrates.
Joan C. is a Registered Medical Clinician, a content creator, and a health and wellness enthusiast. She’s all about educating clients on the power of plant-based nutrition, mindfulness, and lifestyle habits as a strategy to impact health and longevity.