||This is a contributed post that may contain affiliate links. For all PR and media inquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org||
Sugary can be found in all kinds of foods. On top of naturally sweet foods like fruit and honey, sugar is added to many snacks such as chocolate and cakes and juice. It’s also added to many foods we wouldn’t necessarily expect to contain sugar, such as children’s lunch meats and loaves of bread.
Our bodies need sugar to help give us energy. However, we can live without eating sugar – our body is able to convert regular carbohydrates into sugar when we don’t eat sweet foods. Were you to cut out sweet foods entirely from your diet, you’d still be healthy.
Of course, there’s no need to go to this extreme – a little bit of sugar won’t do us any harm. The problem starts when we begin eating over 25g of sugar a day (which is the equivalent of 6 teaspoons). There are times when we can go over this, such as when doing heavy exercise when we may need an extra kick of energy. Unhealthy sugar levels can cause all kinds of harm to our bodies. Here are just a few reasons to get your sweet tooth under control.
You’ll have healthier teeth
The most noticeable effect sugar has on us is tooth decay. The bacteria in our mouths loves sugar – when we eat lots of sugar this bacteria goes wild and starts eating away at our enamel. Hard sugary snacks aren’t as bad for our teeth – the biggest culprits are sugary drinks. This is because drinking coats more of our teeth in sugar. Soft drinks such as cola and lemonade and juices should be cut down. Alcoholic drinks are also full of sugar and are as equally bad for our teeth.
You can minimise the impact of sugary drinks on your teeth by drinking through a straw. There are also sugar-free alternatives to consider. All in all though, you’re best bet is to stick to water and milk through the day and make sugary drinks a treat (ideally no more than one of two glasses a day). This could help your enamel to repair itself and give you sparkly white teeth.
Your skin will age more gracefully
Sugar is also bad for your skin. This is because sugar spikes your insulin levels, which makes the body more susceptible to inflammation. Professors such as Dr Perricone describe this as a burst of inflammation throughout the body. When it comes to the skin this inflammation leads to spots and rashes.
Eating lots of sugar is thought to be linked to acne. This is itself a type of skin inflammation that can cause lifelong scarring if left untreated, on top of not looking particularly pretty. If you’re having problems with pimple outbreaks, you could find that cutting down sugar helps to get rid of these.
Too much sugar can also speed up the skin’s aging process. Insulin spikes caused by eating too much sugar result in the production of enzymes in our skin which break down chemicals like collagen and elastin. These chemicals are much needed for keeping our skin smooth and supple. All in all, every time we eat sugar we’re making our skin a little dryer and less stretchy, helping new wrinkles to form.
You’ll lose weight
When it comes to watching our waistline, sugar is just as bad for piling on the pounds as fat. This is due to a number of reasons.
Firstly, sugar’s effect on our insulin levels stops us from being able to break down fat. Insulin is an important chemical that controls our metabolism. When there’s too much sugar in our body and our insulin levels are high, our metabolism focuses on creating energy for our body rather than focusing on other digestion processes such as burning fat.
Secondly, any excess refined sugar that can’t be converted into energy ends up being turned into fat. Ordinarily when we eat too much of one food, we poop it out. However, our liver doesn’t understand what refined sugar is given that it’s not naturally occurring and so decides to send it to our fat reserves. Our body is little bit better at dealing with fructose (sugar found in fruit) due to our long history as humans eating fruit.
On top of this, messed up insulin levels caused by eating too much sugar can have a negative effect on our appetite. Eating sugar may cause us to feel hungrier afterwards, causing us to overeat.
By limiting your sugar intake, you could therefore speed up your ability to break down fat, avoid building as much fat and calm your sense of hunger.
You’ll recover from illnesses faster
Our immune system can also be harmed by our intake of sugar. Studies of animals have shown that sugar suppresses the immune system responses when exposed to bugs and viruses. The reason for this is unclear but it’s thought to be something to do with a reaction from bacteria. As discussed with tooth decay, bacteria thrives in sugary environments – perhaps too much sugar in our bodies can cause bacteria to go wild, demanding the attention of our immune system and potentially help infections to grow.
Many other studies have found that sugar can have a negative impact on recovery from various diseases. Dr Huber even found that sugar was la detriment to the recovery of patients with cancer. It’s even been linked to aggravating mental degenerative disease such as dementia.
Overall, if you’re feeling ill, don’t take this as an excuse to treat yourself to sugary foods as they could be delaying your recovery.
You’ll prevent type-2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a pancreatic disease that affects our body’s ability to create insulin. We need insulin to break down sugar and give us energy. Without insulin, sugar is left to circulate in the blood leading to excessive urination and dehydration, as the body does everything to get the sugar out. Without being able to turn this sugar into energy, our body also becomes tired making it difficult to do daily physical tasks without getting dizzy and exhausted.
One of the biggest causes of diabetes is eating too much sugar. It’s thought that because sugar causes an insulin spike, years of regularly overeating sugar can eventually wear out the pancreas and inhibit it’s ability to properly produce insulin.
Cutting down your sugar intake could dramatically lower your risk of developing this debilitating disease.
You’ll decrease the risk of heart disease
Too much sugar is also bad for the heart. As mentioned with the skin, the insulin created by consuming sugar leads to inflammation all around the body. Studies have found that this inflammation can also occur in and around the circulatory system. It’s believed that arteries that are inflamed may eventually block up leading to severe heart problems such as a heart attack or a stroke.
Other factors have been linked to heart disease such as smoking, drinking, lack of exercise, eating too much fat and stress. It’s worth cutting back on all these bad habits if you want to lower your risk of developing heart disease.
You’ll feel less stressed
Eating lots of sugar can also make us more stressed. Insulin isn’t the only hormone that is needed to regulate our blood sugar levels when we’ve eaten too much sugar – our adrenal glands also produce cortisol to help regulate these blood sugar levels. Some of you may know already that cortisol is the notorious ‘stress hormone’. This might be part of the reason people experience a sugar rush – you may simply feel more alert because cortisol in your body is actually getting you into stress mode.
Stress isn’t just caused by sugar consumption and can be triggered by multiple things. However, if you’re trying to calm yourself down after a long day, you may want to think twice about munching through a box of chocolates – whilst it might seem like a good way to relieve your stress it could just add to your stress levels.