This blog covers sugar effects on health.
As of late, sugar consumption has been a hot topic in American news. As the general public has become more aware of sugar and its role in our lives, there have been more discussions surrounding it. Many of us know that sugar can have far reaching effects. Chronic diseases, energy levels and much more are affected by the amount of sugar we eat. However, there is one majorly overlooked aspect. This aspect is the type of sugar that we consume. All too often, there is little to no distinction between types. Anyone looking to make healthier food choices will find guidance in this article. Also, anybody simply seeking to be more informed about the topic should continue reading. Let us cover the differences between sugar that is naturally found in foods and processed sugars.
Americans' Relationship with Sugar
Let us take a look at the numbers. Today, the average American consumes 17 teaspoons of added sugar daily. This amounts to close to 60 lbs of sugar yearly. What a whopping amount! You may think that heavy sugar consumption has always been a part of American life. However, nearly nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, sugar consumption has seen a huge increase over the years. Back in the 19th century, the average American consumed only about 5 pounds of sugar per year. Yes, you read that correctly – 5 pounds! This drastic rise in sugar consumption is cause for concern. Excessive sugar intake has been linked to a myriad of health issues.
So, you might be wondering, how much sugar is actually recommended for daily consumption? Well, the American Heart Association suggests that men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day. Meanwhile, women should aim for no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day. This includes all the added sugars found in foods and beverages. It does not refer to natural sugars present in whole fruits and dairy products.
Natural vs. Processed Sugars. What's the difference?
Now, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of sugars. The natural sugars versus the processed sugars. You may have heard that sugars found in fruits and vegetables are different. However, many American don’t know the difference. Sugars added to candies, sodas and other processed foods are often lumped together with natural ones. Amongst health professionals, it is well known that they are not equal. But what exactly is the difference?
The sugar that’s naturally present in fruits is accompanied by essential nutrients and fiber. When you bite into a juicy apple or enjoy a handful of berries, yes you are getting the sweetness. On the other hand, you are benefiting from vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. These nutrients work in harmony with the sugar to provide a slow and steady release of energy. This teamwork keeps you feeling fuller for longer. It also helps maintain steady blood sugar levels.
On the flip side, processed sugars are added to foods during processing. On ingredient labels, they are often listed as high fructose corn syrup, sucrose or just “sugar,” These sugars are often stripped of any nutritional value and can lead to a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. This can result in a quick burst of energy, followed by a crash that leaves you feeling tired and sluggish. As you can see, sugar effects on health can vary widely. The gap between the two is largely due to the kind.
Sugar Effects on Health
But how do these different types of sugars actually impact our bodies? When we consume natural sugars found in whole foods, our bodies break them down gradually. This allows for a steady release of energy. On the other hand, processed sugars are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Rapid uptake causes a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. This can lead to insulin resistance over time. This is a common precursor to type 2 diabetes.
Hi, I’m Dr. Melita Tate with Grassroots Healthcare, and I’m here today to talk about the negative impacts of sugar on the body.
A Brief History About Sugar
We all know that back in the 1980s, or if you were in the 1980s with me, you’ll remember that the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association, and the government Department of the U.S Department of Agriculture all told us we needed to get fat out of our diets, and that was going to help heart disease. Well, what we saw was a skyrocketing of diabetes and heart disease, and today we know that that wasn’t really the culprit. It wasn’t the fats, but the sugars. So, as a medical doctor, I’ve seen quite a few of my patients drop their cholesterol levels like a stone just by eliminating sugar and processed food from their bodies. We have an obesity epidemic, especially here in Oklahoma. We also see this epidemic reaching down even into our six-month-olds. They’ve begun to put high fructose corn syrup, fructose, and other forms of sugar in all kinds of processed foods, candies, cakes, but not just things you would consider sweet; it’s in your processed food, it’s in your breads, it’s in everything. As Americans, we have increased our consumption of sugar astronomically over these past several decades, and as a result, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and all these things have skyrocketed. It’s obvious that the smoking gun is sugar. I used to tell my little kids that when they wanted a soda from the convenience store, I’m just going to have you light up a cigarette because it’s just as bad for you. They were like, “Mama, no!”
Negative Effects of Sugar
But really, sugar has a lot of negative effects, not just the typical cavities or the fact that you’re going to gain weight. It also has an effect on your inflammation, which leads to aging and increases the risk of heart disease. It decreases our sensitivity to insulin, leading to insulin resistance. With that comes the hunger-satiety hormone leptin, which will not respond when the insulin is so high that they can’t detect any change in your low versus high levels of insulin. So we don’t feel that need for satiety. The definition of any drug is something that can get into your bloodstream quickly, cross the blood-brain barrier, and give you pleasurable effects at supraphysiological levels. Sugar fits that category and has had profound effects on our health as a state in Oklahoma, as a country, and now we’re starting to see some of those effects even in other countries.
Grassroots Healthcare 21 Day Sugar Detox
Here at Grassroots Healthcare, we promote a sugar detox. We have a 21-day Sugar Detox, and many of our patients have found success with being able to get back control of their cravings and moods.
Patient Success Stories
One of my favorite stories about sugar and the sugar detox is when we had a couple of patients go through it. One of my patients had gained a lot of weight after a divorce, and he had tried everything to lose it but nothing worked. His weight just wasn’t coming off. So we put him on the sugar detox, along with a young mother who thought she had ADHD. She felt like she had trouble concentrating and remembering things. We really couldn’t put her on any medications, but we tried a sugar detox. She went off some other things as well. Both patients followed up with me after the detox. The young mother said she could concentrate better than ever, she wasn’t depressed anymore, and she left the office that day without a prescription, feeling so much better just from a lifestyle intervention, a dietary change. The same day, the fellow who had been struggling with weight loss came back and said, “Dr. Tate, this is amazing. I did not expect my depression to go away.” So sugar causes inflammation and dysbiosis in our gut health. Those gut bacteria produce the majority of our serotonin, so sugar can also play a huge role in our mood, depression, and attitude. My goal for my patients is to give them back control of what they eat. So if you’re interested, we’re going to put a link to the Sugar Detox below. Let us know if you have questions; we’d love to be supportive and helpful. Thank you.
How to Spot Natural and Processed Sugars in Food
Detecting processed or added sugars in your food can be a challenge. This is especially true when they’re disguised under different names. One useful tool is the Nutrition Facts Label on packaged foods. Look for the “Total Sugars” line. That line includes both natural and added sugars. Additionally, check the ingredients list for terms like “syrup,” “sweetener,” or anything ending in “-ose,”. These are often clues that added sugars are present.
Sugar Effects on Energy
Now, let’s talk about energy levels and exercise. Consuming foods high in processed sugars before a workout may provide a quick energy boost. However, that boost is likely to be short-lived. These sugars can cause a sudden spike in energy followed by a crash. Sugar crashes leave you fatigued mid-workout. On the other hand, opting for foods with natural sugars, such as a banana or a handful of grapes, can provide sustained energy for your exercise session.
How Natural and Processed Sugars Affect Diabetes
When it comes to medical conditions, the differences between natural and processed sugars become even more significant. Take diabetes, for instance. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes carefully monitor their carbohydrate intake, as carbohydrates directly affect blood sugar levels. While natural sugars found in whole fruits are accompanied by fiber and nutrients that slow down sugar absorption, processed sugars can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, making them less suitable for people with diabetes.
In conclusion, understanding the distinction between the sugars naturally present in foods and processed sugars is vital. It is crucial for making informed dietary choices. Natural sugars come with beneficial nutrients and fiber that contribute to overall health. Meanwhile, processed sugars can lead to energy negative impacts on health. Some of these sugar effects on health are crashes, weight gain, and a higher risk of chronic diseases like diabetes. By paying attention to labels, you can take control of your health. Choosing whole foods and being mindful of your sugar intake also supports your well-being. Remember, it’s not just about how much sugar you consume. The type of sugar you choose to fuel your body with has a huge impact as well. Your health is in your hands. Making smart sugar choices is a sweet step towards a healthier life.