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Top 10 Reasons to Avoid Added and Refined Sugar

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Sugar is taking over the spotlight as one of the most unhealthy foods in diets today. Today, the over-consumption of sugar is the number one cause of weight gain and obesity. In a recent report, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee quoted sugar as one of our crucial health concerns and recommended that sugar make up 10 percent or less of our daily calorie intake. The American Heart Association recommends that not more than half of your daily calories come from added sugars (about 6 teaspoons or 100 calories for women, and 9 teaspoons or 150 calories for men). But we’re eating way more sugary sweet stuff than this.
In its natural state, sugar is relatively less harmful, even the necessary carbohydrate that our body needs to function. Natural sugar is found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy in the form of fructose or lactose. The problem is when sugar is added processed foods for added flavor, texture, or color. Added or refined sugars increase your insulin levels, disturb your metabolism, and causes those empty calories to turn into belly fat. Eating too many of these empty calories has many side-effects, the most evident being major weight gain. Below are top 10 legit reasons to tame that sweet tooth for good.

1. Sugar is as Addictive as Drugs

Sugar stimulates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter found in the brain. As we intake sugar, our body creates more dopamine receptors which in turn make us crave for more sugar, resulting in a ruthless cycle of sugar consumption.

2. Sugar Compromises Your Immune System

Sugar lowers the efficiency of white blood cells after for a long hours after its consumption thereby lowering our immunity levels and making it difficult for us to fight disease and infection.

3. Sugar Takes Away Your Body’s Essential Minerals

Besides being empty calories with no health value, sugar actually steals your body’s essential minerals which can weaken the bones and teeth, causing diseases like osteoporosis and tooth decay.

4. Sugar can Increase the Risk of Cancer

“Cancer loves sugar.” Consuming excess sugar stimulates our body to produce excess amounts of insulin, which promotes the growth of cells, it’s a good thing for healthy cells, but not cancerous cells. Excessive consumption of sugar has been linked to increased risk for pancreatic, colon, breast, colorectal, and endometrial cancer.

5. Consumption of Sugar Damages Liver

Refined sugar is half fructose and half glucose. The liver is the only organ in the body that can metabolize fructose. When excessive fructose enters the liver, it gets converted into fat that can build up over time and eventually lead to disease.

6. Sugar is Linked to Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Weight Gain

Insulin triggers glucose into cells from the bloodstream. Increased levels of blood glucose are toxic, so when too much amount of glucose cannot be used efficiently the pancreas begins to secrete insulin in order to remove it from the bloodstream, making the body to become insulin resistant. When the body becomes insulin resistant, the pancreas stops doing working properly, which is contributes to type II diabetes. Insulin also signals the body to store fat, which leads to weight gain and obesity.

7. Sugar Causes Premature Cellular Aging

Sugar can bind to proteins in the bloodstream, resulting in AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products) that impairs collagen and elastin production, which are responsible for supporting skin’s elasticity.

8. Sugar Leads to Chronic Fatigue, Irritability, Anxiety, Depression and Mood Swings

Sugar consumption leads to an increase in both blood sugar and serotonin levels in the brain. When we remove sugar from our system, we experience a “crash” leading to cycles of craving and bingeing in our mind and body and can lead to fatigue, depression, anxiety, irritability or mood swings.

9. Sugar Boosts Hyperactivity in Children

Refined sugars enter the bloodstream quickly, producing fast changes in blood glucose levels that stimulate adrenaline and make children more active.

10. Sugar can Affect Your Cholesterol Levels

Increased sugar intake lowers the levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol and has been shown to increase the levels of triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood that leads to an increased risk for heart disease.

Take Home Message

Artificial sweeteners, though they are not made from sugar, should also be avoided at all costs. These sweeteners are made from a large number of chemicals, have no nutrition value, and have a large number of harmful side effects of their own. If you get rid of the sugar, you’re more likely to be satiated up on nourishing foods, leaving you feeling fuller and perhaps less likely to wake up for that sweet midnight cravings. Opt for smarter snack choices with whole foods that won’t increase your blood sugar.

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