Before we dive into the health effects of sugar, we first need to understand exactly what sugar is. If we want to get really nerdy, sugar has a very technical definition: “any of the class of soluble, crystalline, typically sweet-tasting carbohydrates found in living tissues and exemplified by glucose and sucrose.”
Now, let’s look at many of the reasons sugar is thought to be bad for you. Some people say it’s one of the worst things you can introduce to your system, even above fat.
- Your Immune System – If you consume too much processed sugar you can reduce your ability to kill germs inside your body. It doesn’t take much, either. Just two sodas can stop the ability to fight off that flu bug and lead to falling ill. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get vaccines if you don’t eat sugar, but when it comes to health, including dental health, avoiding added sugar can boost your immunity exponentially.
- Mineral Balance – If you have trouble sleeping at night, are constipated and having other problems, you could be having trouble with your mineral balance. If you eat a lot of sugar, you are likely depleting your magnesium stores to process all of it. Plus, you will lose more chromium through your urine if you eat a lot of sugar.
- Behavior Problems – Every parent on the planet will tell you that sugar and lack of sugar can affect their child’s behavior. If a child is hungry and their blood sugar is low, they will be sleepy and grumpy. If a child has an overdose of sugar, they will become agitated and animated. The key to better behavior is blood sugar balance.
- Empty Calories – The fact is, processed sugar has no health benefits whatsoever. Therefore, when you eat sugary meals, you’re eating empty calories that will cause weight gain. The fact that sugar is often combined with fat and salt will make the effects even worse. It’s better to avoid added sugar when you can.
- Elevated Insulin Responses – When your insulin response is healthy, your cells will release the right amount of insulin. But, if you regularly consume sugar, especially in “overdose” amounts, your body will become confused about when to release insulin and when not to.
- Damages Cells and Tissues – The tissue in your eyes, kidneys, nerves and more seem to carry sugar a lot longer than other organs. This means that the body can suffer damage from that remaining sugar because it damages small blood vessels.
- Causes High Blood Triglyceride Levels – There are no symptoms for high blood triglyceride levels. The only way to know if you have high triglycerides is by getting a blood test. It’s usually part of your overall cholesterol test.
- Contributes to Hyperactivity – There are studies that show both results. Sugar does cause hyperactivity and sugar doesn’t cause it. You must remember that any drug can affect one human one way, and another human another way. But, parents often report problems with hyperactivity in their child after consuming too much sugar. You can’t ignore the possibility.
- Anxiety – Refined sugars enter the blood stream quickly, and leave the blood stream quickly. This process can manifest in more anxiety overall. Even though often people who are addicted to sugar eat to suppress anxiety, it’s just making the problem much worse. It’s best to avoid added sugars in the first place.
- Poor Concentration – Again, the reason sugar may affect concentration is because of the speed by which processed sugar can invade blood cells and then leave them. You need a balanced level of glucose to feed your brain, not short bursts of sugar such as in the form of soft drinks or cereal.
- Feeds Some Cancers – The fact is, cancer cells love sugar. That’s because like most living things they need sugar to grow. But, not all sugars are created equal. Cancer cells love white sugar, white flour, and high fructose corn syrup. The good thing is that if you simply reduce your consumption of processed sugar, you can cut your cancer risks.
- Hypoglycemia – Low blood sugar happens in people who have a condition called hypoglycemia. This can be a condition on its own, but it can also happen in people who have diabetes and take medications like insulin because their bodies don’t produce enough on their own.
- Poor Digestion – Processed sugar is very acidic. The more alkaline you can make your body, the healthier you’ll become. If you have an acidic stomach you’ll suffer from heartburn, GERD, and other digestion problems.
Each person is affected differently. It’s best to look at your own symptoms and health issues and if you have any of these problems, try eliminating processed sugar first to see if you notice any changes in your health.
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