There is a lot of information and often conflicting messages and confusion about sugar and the role it plays in our diet. Are Some Sugars Better Than Some? Should you avoid all forms of sugar – even the one you find in fruit? Will eliminating sugar from your diet completely solve all your problems? Will you lose weight? Will your skin improve? Will your sleep improve?
Read below and decide if you need sugar or not and how you can (or can not) keep it in your diet.
First, let’s get acquainted (gain, obtain) with present-day techniques that came from Sugar. In its simplest form, sugar is a carbohydrate composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Carbohydrates or sugars are classified into monosaccharides, oligosaccharides or polysaccharides. Monosaccharides or simple sugars are all those that end in -oz, such as glucose, fructose, galactose, etc. These sugars are the foundation of carbohydrates and you can find them naturally in fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Disaccharides consist of two monosaccharides, including sucrose, maltose and lactose and are found in common sugar, beer and milk. Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates and are a multiple sugar with a chain structure of many monosaccharide units.
Sugar and digestion
While the process of digestion begins in the mouth, most of the process of digestion of sugar occurs in the intestine. When you consume monosaccharide, your body uses it almost immediately by absorbing it into your bloodstream through your circulatory system. But when you eat disaccharide or polysaccharide which are more complex forms, your body has to “break” it into monosaccharide (usually glucose) before using it as energy. When glucose reaches your bloodstream, it will be used immediately or stored in your body for later. If stored, your liver will somehow bind these glucose molecules, creating a larger structure that can break down more easily when energy is required. But if your liver already has enough stored energy, sugar is converted to fat and,
Blood sugar is a sugar that is carried by cells into the bloodstream for energy and its levels increase greatly when you eat meals that are rich in carbohydrates – especially simple carbohydrates that are quickly absorbed. Blood sugar levels also rise when you are stressed or ill while they decrease in the resting phase, after exercise and when you skip a meal.
Your body is in a constant process of adjusting and regulating blood sugar through your hormonal system. These levels are regulated by two main hormones – insulin and glucagon. When blood sugar is high, we have hyperglycemia and insulin is secreted by the pancreas to clear the sugar from the blood and transport it to the cells where it is stored. When the sugar is low we have hypoglycemia and glucagon is secreted and the stored sugar is broken down resulting in increased blood sugar levels. Constantly elevated blood sugar levels are the cause of obesity and type 2 diabetes. It can also cause damage and disease to your body.
Sugar and Health
The human body is biologically programmed to look for sugar. The sweet taste gives a sense of security while the bitter taste gives the signal of “poison” and danger. Sugar is broken down into glucose and fructose and stored in fat for starvation. Your ancestors often suffered from hunger and malnutrition, so they ate large amounts of carbohydrate-rich foods as soon as they were given the opportunity. Those who ate more sugar were more likely to survive. Simply put, the storage of sugar for fat is a mechanism for the evolution and survival of the human species from the depths of time.
Today, however, sugar is ubiquitous and we get it from multiple sources. And, we are still planning to look for it. This results in us getting more sugar than we really need for our simple survival or even our growth.
Continued sugar overconsumption has many negative effects on your health:
– The chances of memory impairment and risk of Alzheimer’s disease increase.
– Increases blood pressure and triglycerides that lead to cardiovascular disease.
– Has a negative effect on oral health.
– The chances of asthma increase.
– Saturates the hormones of satiety and hunger and causes overeating
– Stimulates insulin resistance and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
– Intestinal microbiome is disrupted and the immune system deteriorates.
Inflammation and cause for several chronic diseases.
Vitamin deficiency occurs as foods rich in vitamins and nutrients are often replaced by sugary foods high in sugar.
So while small amounts of sugar help increase your energy and keep you awake, a lot of sugar sharply raises your blood sugar levels and leads your body to a certain crash and, often, to generalized and serious health problems.
Natural sugars and added sugar
Natural sugars are found in fruits and vegetables and this to an increasing degree as they begin to rot. So while consuming sugar through them, you are also taking vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber and helping to reduce the sudden rises in glucose that accompany the consumption of sugar.
When processing many foods and beverages, sugar is added. Obviously these foods and drinks have a lot of calories while, unlike foods with natural sugars, they are low in nutrients, vitamins and fiber. The fibers are the ones that satisfy your hunger and fill you up. So since saturated fiber is missing, foods to which sugar has been added tend to be consumed in large quantities.
Additional sugar is often found in foods such as vegetable drinks, packaged meats (bacon, ham, turkey, prosciutto), spices and seasonings (mustard, ketchup, packaged sauces), packaged soups, packaged cereals bars, yogurts and even protein powders.
Useful tips to reduce sugar consumption
– Reduce caffeine consumption, which causes a strong craving for sugar.
– Drink more water. Many times the lust for something sweet hides dehydration.
– Eat fruits and sweet vegetables to deceive the strong desire for sweets.
Avoid chemical sweeteners and foods with added sugar and prefer natural sweeteners such as agave syrup, dried fruits, stevia, brown rice syrup or maple syrup.
– Put the movement in your life and stay active. In this way, you balance your blood sugar level, increase your energy, control your blood pressure and reduce your craving for sugar.
– Improve your sleep. It has been proven that when you lack sleep you tend to consume foods that will offer you a fast and abrupt form of energy such as sugar.
– Reduce food of animal origin. According to the yin-yang principles, an imbalance in the diet (eg many foods of animal origin) causes wrinkles.
– Completely remove from your diet packaged and artificial foods that hide large amounts of sugar to compensate for the lack of taste and aroma.
– Experiment with spices such as cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom that give a natural sweetness to your recipes.
– Try to calm down and put the sweetness in your life in other ways. Most of the time, cravings for something sweet have psychological causes and by making some changes in your lifestyle you can find the balance you are missing and improve your health. When life itself becomes sweet then sugar is left over.