What does too much sugar does to your body In 2020
Maintaining a healthy level of sugar intake is one of the biggest challenges facing consumers today.
How Much Sugar Should We Consume?
The world health organization (WHO) has recently reduced the amount it recommends as a maximum ‘safe’ intake to mean 10% of total calories, with guidance that lowering the consumption to half of that offers even better health advantages.
What that means in terms we can all visualize is that total sugar intake should be no more than 50 grams a day for an average adult. Even better is a reduction to 25 grams.
So, for a real health benefit, stick to six teaspoons a day; even up to twelve teaspoons a day won’t offer significant health risks.
Recommendations from the United States are harder to pin down, with guidance varying depending on who it comes from. For this reason, along with the fact that it offers a global perspective, the WHO guidance is a more reliable source.
Figures from the US vary, recommending from between 5% and 15% of daily calorie intake. That is between six and eighteen teaspoons per day.
The old Mary Poppins’ line: ‘A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down’ is starting to look somewhat dated.
How Much Sugar Is in Our Food?
Of course, for Americans who want to control their sugar intake, some problems exist. And the biggest of these is that discovering the actual quantity of sugar in foods is tricky.
Packaging details can be misleading, often there is just a total amount of sugar per serving listed, rather than the types of sugar involved.
Sometimes, sugar goes by other names, so can be missed. Finally, manufacturers are skilled at promoting their foods as healthy, when in fact they can contain very much sugar.
For example, have a look at the sugar content of the following foods and drinks, and see whether the figures are what you might expect?
- A can of Red bull holds thirteen teaspoons of sugar. That is your entire sugar allowance in one go.
- Although the company now produces reduced sugar and sugar-free beverages, a traditional 330 ml can of Coca Cola has about 34g of the sweetener, representing over half of the ‘safe’ figure.
- A small, 120g flapjack holds nine teaspoons of sugar. Unless, of course, you make it yourself.
- A Big Tasty burger from McDonald’s contains 11 grams of sugar, which is reasonable, although the chain’s claim that this stood for13% of the recommended intake doesn’t fit with the WHO figures. A medium chocolate milk shake, however, uses up all but three grams of the WHO maximum recommended value, or just over half of suggested daily intake under the system McDonald’s employs.
- White bread comes in at three-quarters of a gram per slice, while the brown equivalent (in many cases) contains more, despite the held claims that brown bread is healthier than its poor white cousin.
- ‘Healthy’ cereal bars, those little snacks that make us feel worthy (if unfulfilled, calorie wise) can contain up to five teaspoons of sugar while a small chocolate bar, such as a two-finger Kit Kat, has only half of that amount.
- A hundred grams of Lucky Charms for your breakfast (or midnight snack) holds nine teaspoons of sugar.
One of the biggest problems facing a consumer is that the packaging of their foods contains information that is difficult to quantify. The information tends to be the total amount of sugar per serving.
These ‘servings’ quoted are often far less than a person would eat. Combined with the fact that the sugar figure is an overall one, while the consumer needs to see the types of sugar that are contained in the foodstuff, the information is difficult to evaluate.
One might almost think that manufacturers were trying to hide something. Perish the thought!
Some packages disguise the sugar content by describing it as something other than sugar. Watch out for words like syrup, glucose, fructose, and sucrose.
The amount of these ‘sugar substitutes’ the products contain have to be added together to gain an accurate picture.
Next, we will look at the types of sugars that might crop up in our food.
What Are the Different Kinds of Sugars?
By this, we do not mean the difference, say, between icing and caster sugar since these are merely the results of various production methods. We are talking about the three primary forms in which sugar appears.
These are sucrose, glucose, and fructose. They are carbohydrates, and are often referred to as ‘simple sugars. Some are found naturally in foodstuffs– for example, the sugars found in fruits seem not to harm the body – but are also added during the processing stage to help with flavor and to act as a preservative, thus prolonging the shelf life of the food.
These ‘added’ sugars are usually the causes of the problems an over intake of sugar can create.
Most of us humans cannot differentiate the taste of glucose, sucrose, and fructose. But if we can’t taste the subtleties, our bodies certainly react in different ways to the various sugar forms. Sometimes, with serious consequences.
The sugar on your kitchen table that you sprinkle on your cereal or mound on your pancake is sucrose. The substance also occurs in fruits and vegetables. It is, of course, the reason that your grapes and plums taste so good.
The amount of sucrose in the assorted types of fruits and vegetables does vary.
A serving of gorgeous grapes comes in at a high 20 grams, although a large orange beats this with 23 grams (mind you, weight for weight, it will hold less sugar than the grapes.)
A juicy cantaloupe melon offers a meager 11 grams, under half that of a large apple.
Bananas sometimes get a bad name on the sugar front, but in fact contain just 17 grams for a typically sized example, fractionally above a large peach.
But if we want to eat fresh fruit and keep our sugars– even natural ones– low, then two fruits are especially appealing. A serving of pineapple contains just nine grams of sugar (does that mean its Pina Colada time?) while a serving of stupendous strawberries will set you back just seven grams of your daily allowance.
It is when sucrose enters our digestive system that the unusual events occur. Our body releases an enzyme which breaks down the sucrose into its constituent parts of glucose and fructose.
The glucose element is turned into energy, and only when that is exhausted will our internal juices turn their attentions to the fructose. If the sugar consumption has not been too high, then the fructose will also be burned off.
But if there is any excess fructose left behind, it will turn into fats and will use the insulin released by the glucose to do this. We will look later at the impact of sugars on insulin production. But, as you will know, diabetes is a result of problems with this hormone.
While this sugar form is also found naturally in many fruits and vegetables, it is also the substance often added to sodas and other artificially sweetened drinks.
Neither your brain nor your muscles are especially fond of fructose, so they do not convert it into energy they will use.
Thus, the body often contains excess amounts of fructose, which it turns into fats. If there is no glucose present, then fructose itself will not stimulate insulin release. As you can see, it is no surprise that the hormone gets confused about when to come out and when to stay at home, comfortable in your pancreas. It is this ‘confusion’ that might trigger diabetes.
The teacher’s pet of sugar is the favored energy source for the body to use as its energy supply. Indeed, our bodies convert most of the carbohydrates consumed into glucose. It is the form of sugar that usually enters our body’s cells, and handles the raising and lowering of blood sugar levels.
Glucose stimulates the release of insulin, and if there is too much glucose around, more insulin is released. This means more sugar enters our blood cells, leading to high blood sugar levels.
If it is not required, however, it turns into a fatty covering of the organ.
Having looked a little at the types of sugar, the amount found in some foods, and the recommended amounts we should consume, we can now move forward to look at the reasons why we need some sugar and the dangers of taking too much.
Why Do We Need Sugar?
Fuel for The Brain
Our brain is a pretty important organ, to say the least. It lives off glucose, and so to function properly, and at our best, we need to consume some sugar. It is a greedy beast, unfortunately.
The brain sends out ‘reward signals’ which trick the body into thinking it needs more sugar. So, overeating the sweet stuff isn’t our fault, it’s all down to our brain! We should feel a little less guilty now.
A Source of Energy
Carbohydrates give us energy, and as we saw in the earlier chapter, the body breaks most carbs down into sugars. Sugar also gives our cells the energy to regenerate when they die off.
Despite the statements above, many nutritionists, including those at the USDA, state that added sugars offer no nutritional value at all. We can get all the sugar we need from natural sources.
And that’s about it when it comes to alibis available for the poor, maligned sugar cube. The case for the prosecution is, as you will see, much stronger.
What Can Happen If We Consume Too Much?
Unfortunately, the answer to the question above is simple– lots. We will take just a brief tour through some of the problems associated with too much sugar intake since these are already well known to most.
Type two diabetes is one of the most severe epidemics to hit the Western world in recent times. The condition is brought on, in part, by the consumption of too much sugar.
People with diabetes face all kinds of problems.
They are more likely to suffer heart problems, including heart failure, as their plaque filled blood requires ever more effort to squeeze through their restricted arteries. Diabetes causes earlier heart problems, and more dangerous ones.
It is one of the leading causes of blindness, and sufferers should have their eyesight checked at least annually. A specialist process is required, whereby the pupil is enlarged with drops, then photographed so clinicians can get a good view of the entire eye, including the back.
Circulation problems can develop, and diabetics are one of the leading groups of people to require amputations, especially of the lower leg and foot. Infections are more likely, and healing takes longer because of poor blood circulation. Painful sores and ulcers develop, which are slow to improve.
Type two diabetes occurs due to insulin resistance. This can be imagined as a parent’s battle with a belligerent teenager. Just as our moody teen might display ever more trying behavior that we try to deal with, our body releases more insulin to try to cope with the excess sugar in the body.
Sometimes, parents give up trying to modify their youngster’s mood swings, and the body certainly gives up on sugar and reduces its production of insulin. Therefore, the sugar remains as a grainy, messy brook flowing through your body, clogging arteries and causing blood plaque to develop.
While the good news is that even the most recalcitrant of teens eventually grow into a son or daughter to make us proud, sugar continues to cause serious problems unless it is eliminated from our bodies.
As well as the physical discomfort, the emotional stress, and the fatigue that being obese triggers for many, it is also a leading cause of heart disease and many types of cancer. It leads to problems with mobility, digestion, and inflammation.
Added sugars might be ‘empty’ calories, in that they offer nothing to the body, but they are still calories. And, as we all know form goairfryer.com, taking on too many calories makes you obese.
Yes, even the degenerative brain disorder sweeping like a tsunami across our most senior citizens has been linked to excess sugar intake. A high sugar diet can create earlier, more rapid, and more severe forms of the condition.
Here’s a frightening statistic. More than one in four under-fives suffer from tooth decay.
Pain, abscesses, tooth loss, unpleasant looking teeth, bad breath, the need for false teeth– the impacts of tooth decay are myriad.
However, even more seriously, studies are beginning to find links between tooth decay and far more life-threatening conditions, including strokes, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Anybody who has suffered from this condition knows how debilitating it can be. Agonizing stomach cramps hit unexpectedly. The need to go to the toilet instantly limits the way you can spend your day– any trip involves knowing where the nearest public conveniences are situated.
Explosive diarrhea can follow constipation. Once you have it, IBS can be triggered by certain foods, and so your diet becomes restricted.
Your skin is the world’s window into you. It reflects what is going on inside your body. Heavy sugar diets can lead to acne, rashes, blotches, and other kinds of skin disorders.
If too much fructose is consumed (other than from natural food sources), the liver cannot process it all. This can cause the liver to turn fatty, and fail in its function as one of the body’s essential cleansers. Putting it bluntly, if our liver fails, we die.
Numerous studies link the onset of cancer with excess sugar in the system. Scientists believe that this could be another unpleasant side effect of sugar’s impact on insulin production.
Sugar is addictive. It stimulates the release of a hormone called dopamine from the brain. This hormone is associated with pleasure. It is probably why we enjoy a nice bar of milk chocolate so much.
The point of addiction is this: whatever it is from, whether illegal drugs to nicotine to sugar, our bodies tell us we need increasingly more of it, and those messages are hard to turn away.
It is why people find it so difficult to give up smoking, and why we find it so tough to abandon sugar. In fact, as we have become more aware of the dangers of smoking, many scientists are finding sugar overindulgence as a bigger threat to life than even the nicotine habit.
Studies are beginning to see sugars, rather than saturated fats, as the leading cause of raised cholesterol, with its attendant risks of heart disease and stroke.
The case for the prosecution is, Your Honor, proved. Special thanks to Ryan Mahon.