It will come as no surprise to many of us that sugar is something that’s found in many of the foods that we eat. In fact, it’s become the one thing that we are being told to watch in our diets.
Sugar can be found in many of the foods that we eat such as fruit, dairy and vegetables and in in these food sources it is relatively safe and in some aspects it’s even something that our bodies need. The issue with sugar is more to do with when it is added to foods to provide colour, texture or flavour and unfortunately this happens a lot more than it should.
Sugar that’s added to food has many negative side effects with the most common issues being weight gain. It’s not just weight gain that’s an issue as there are many other health reasons why we should reduce sugar. We will now take a look at some of these:
So, we have covered this above but let’s take a look at this in more detail. If you reduce sugar intake you will lose weight. Naturally, foods that contain sugar tend to be higher in calories too and these foods don’t offer your body any nutritional benefits. When we eat sugary foods, out sugar are affected and this means we end up feely hungrier. Rather than heading for sugar when you feel peckish you need to look for foods that are high in protein and fibre as these will give your body the nutrients that it needs to function, as well as to feel its best so you can get fit.
If you want to have a mouth full of beautiful teeth then you need to avoid sugar. When we eat sugary foods, it becomes something that bacteria in our mouth can use to develop. Additionally, sugar can cause plaque which affects the enamel of the tooth. This can then lead to gum disease as well as tooth cavities.
When our bodies have a rise and fall in sugar we cause unnecessary stress on it. This can therefore make our skin look dull and we can suffer with spots. Sugar is a cause of under eye circles and dehydrates your skin. To keep skin looking at its best, avoid sugar and foods and drinks such as espresso coffee and opt for a glass of water and choose more nutritious foods.
Stabilises Energy Levels
Our bodies experience an up and down feeling after we eat sugar. Initially we feel on a high but it’s not long before our blood sugars drop and we begin to feel moody, hungry or even shaky. In order to level our energy levels, you need to eat nutritious foods which stabilise your energy levels across the day so that you feel alert and at your best more often.
Improves Mental Health
Although sugar does not directly cause mental health related issues, it can exacerbate them. For example, people with depression have a low level of a hormone known as BDNF. It is believed that sugar reduces this hormone. Additionally, its believed that a body that’s used to a lot of sugar struggles to cope with stress and therefore you are more likely to have issues related to anxiety.
Those that eat a lot of sugar are more likely to have higher levels of bad cholesterol and blood fats and lower levels of good cholesterol. Elevated levels of bad cholesterol and blood fats mean that our blood vessels and arteries become more clogged and therefore we are more at risk of heart disease.
Reduces Risk of Some Cancers
Some reach has suggested that sugar may be a cause of some cancers i.e. pancreatic cancer.
Improves Brain Function
It’s been said that an increased amount of sugar consumption can affect our cognitive abilities such as memory and learning new concepts. Its best to try and eat food that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, for example, healthy oils, seeds and nuts.
Reduces Blood Pressure
When we eat too much sugar we are more likely to become obese. Obesity is one of the major causes of blood pressure and not just wine! It’s now also believed that sugar can increases blood pressure and it is blood pressure than can lead to stroke, artery disease, kidney disease, heart disease and heart attacks as well as other severe health conditions. You can now continue to buy wine knowing that it’s okay to drink on moderation and it’s not the only big factor when it comes to blood pressure.
Reduces the Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s
As we mentioned above, a diet high in sugar reduces the hormone BDNF. This hormone is linked to how we remember and our memories. Levels of BDNF are believed to be linked to Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Reduces Link of Diabetes
Your chance of developing type 2 diabetes increases by 26% if you drink one or two sugary drinks a day. When we increase sugar intake our body we end up with a high blood sugar level, this can then lead to type 2 diabetes.
Reduced Risk of Asthma or COPD
It’s believed than a diet of high sugar increases the chance of developing asthma or COPD.
Helps to Prevent Fatty Liver Disease
If you have a diet that’s high in sugar you can make fatty liver disease worse. When we eat sugar, our insulin rises and this then makes any fat head for our liver cells which causes scarring and inflammation. If you develop fatty liver disease you are then at risk of having a heart attack, developing diabetes or even cancer.
When we overeat sugar, we produce a hormone known as ‘ghrelin.’ This hormone has the job of telling your body that it is hungry. If you reduce your sugar intake, in turn you will reduce hunger pangs.
It’s clear to see that low sugar diets do work for reducing weight as well as providing us with many other health benefits.