With the holidays coming up you may be indulging in those sugary snacks and deserts a little more than usual. While it’s okay to keep our sanity and spoil ourselves every once in a while, it’s important to ask yourself, “Are you eating too much sugar?” Keeping track of your daily nutrients and staying away from consuming too much sugar is a significant thing to do in order to maintain a long and healthy life.
Sugar can cause many problems for your body including cavities, uncontrollable hunger, weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, liver failure, pancreatic cancer, high blood pressure, kidney and heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, and gout. Two major effects are obesity and diabetes, which has only been affecting more and more individuals as the years move forward.
The World Health Organization suggests giving no more than 5-10% of your daily calories to sugar. This is about 25 grams or six teaspoons of sugar to be precise. To put this in perspective, a can of pop usually contains 39 grams of sugar and a Starbucks Nonfat Pumpkin Spice Latte with no whip cream contains 49 grams. If you are drinking two to three soft drinks a day, along with other sugary foods, you are consuming too much sugar.
There are three different types of sugar: glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Glucose is a simple sugar that gives the body a good source of energy. You can find glucose in carbohydrates, such as bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes. Glucose is both helpful and harmful to the body because while it is used to give our bodies energy it can also be a danger if too much is consumed and your blood sugar levels fluctuate. Fructose is found in fruits and is actually sweeter than the other sugars, which is why it’s used in snacks, candy, and soft drinks. High-fructose corn syrup can be very dangerous to your health and cause cardiovascular disease. It’s important to keep fructose at a minimum, and even while fruits may seem healthy, you should still only eat them in moderation and keep to your daily intake of two to three servings. Sucrose is a combination of glucose and fructose which are your table sugars and sweeteners.
All of these sugars are metabolized differently in the body. For instance, the easiest sugar to metabolize is glucose, which is done in the blood stream and used for energy. When your body needs more energy it will use fructose, but only a small amount because it is absorbed in the liver. The rest of the fructose will be metabolized to fat synthesis. Sucrose is a combination of both and will be digested as necessary. An over consumption of all three can lead to a number of problems.
While our body metabolizes sugars differently, it’s important to keep our indulging to a minimum. If you’ve been dieting or you’re trying to lose weight and haven’t seen any results, it could be your sugar consumption. Sugar can do a lot to the body, and you may find it strange that sugar can cause addition, but it can. Many people who eat a lot of sugary foods have a hard time saying no when a desert or sugary snake is placed in front of them. Try your best to keep your sugar snacking to a minimum and always check to see which foods are high in fructose and sucrose. Remember it’s okay to eat sugar, but only in moderation. An overabundance of sugar in your diet can cause serious long-term effects on your body that can lead to disease and even death.