Sugar is a slow poison. I promise I am not going to sugarcoat the impacts of taking excess sugar.

If you have a sweet tooth like I do, you must go through this article in full. You will get to know that how sugar undermines your health. I hope this article will motivate you to keep your sugar jar lid tight, and also to stay away from chocolates and sweets. Knowing the harmful effects of consuming too much sugar might motivate you to take care of your health and reduce its intake.

There are two types of sugar: Complex and Simple.

Complex sugar is what we get from natural carbohydrates s.a. fruits and whole grains.

Human body takes a longer duration to break down the complex sugar and this type of sugar is healthier for human body.

On the other hand, Simple sugar is what we get from refined and processed table sugar. This sugar is added while making sweets. The simple sugar is broken down by human body quickly and causes energy levels to go up and down. Consuming an excess of simple sugar causes numerous health problems.

Reasons you should watchout your sugar intake!

Weight Gain

Sugary foods are quite high in calories even in a small amount. That makes it easy to over-consume them, and the excess calories can cause you to gain weight. Sugar is added to many foods to boost the flavor and preserve their shelf life. One teaspoon of sugar contains approx. 15 calories, which can add extra calories to your daily caloric intake. You should avoid soda and other sugary/aerated drinks as these drinks do not provide any protein or fiber. These drinks do not fill up the stomach and do not satisfy the hunger. As a result, you tend to overeat, thereby increasing the overall calorie intake, thus, leading to weight gain. Studies in both adults and children have demonstrated a link between beverages with high sugar content (colas) and weight gain.

Suppressed Immune System

An excess of sugar hampers human immune system to function properly and diminishes the ability of white blood cells to protect against viruses and bacteria. Studies have shown that excess sugar reduces your immune system’s ability to fight germs by 40 percent. Research shows that switching to a high sugar diet can alter the composition of gut flora within 24 hours. This imbalance in gut flora can weaken immunity, increase inflammation and disturb digestion. In contrast, complex carbohydrates do not have these effects.

Increased Blood Pressure and Risk of Heart Disease

Studies have shown that an excess of table sugar can lead to high blood pressure. Normal nitric oxide levels keep blood vessels healthy and open. Eating excess sugary foods decreases nitric oxide levels. Increased levels of nitric oxide causes blood vessels to become narrow. Narrow blood vessels cause high blood pressure, thus, increased risk of heart disease. A study in 2014 reported that those individuals who consumed 25% of their calories in the form of sugar were found to have double the risk of heart disease as compared to those whose intake was 7%. Increased sugar consumption increases amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol, decreases amount of HDL (good) cholesterol, increases the ratio of LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol, and increases levels of triglycerides (blood fats). The increased levels of blood fats clog up arteries and blood vessels, and hence lead to heart disease.

Tooth Decay

Sugar badly affects your dental health. When the sugar mixes with dental plaque, it creates an acid that can cause tooth decay over time. To reduce the risk, it is recommended to brush the teeth twice a day. Naturally occurring complex sugar in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, supplies the vitamins and minerals required for good health of teeth and gums. However, sugary drinks and foods do not supply these nutrients. Bacteria present in Plaque react with the consumed sugars and produce acids. These acids destroy the protective enamel on the teeth, resulting in cavities and tooth decay. The more amount of sugar you consume, the more likely is the dental decay.

Higher Insulin Level, Diabetes and Aging

Excess sugar intake zooms up blood sugar level in the body. This causes pancreas to release insulin to clear sugar from your blood into your cells. Too much sugar in liver cells causes inflammation and scarring, which eventually causes liver cirrhosis.

When blood sugar level drops, insulin level returns to normal. However, when you eat excess sugar, insulin is constantly released by pancreas. This constant release of insulin by pancreas can backfire in a number of ways. Over time, more and more insulin is released to clear the sugar level in blood. Eventually, pancreas may stop responding to the stimulus. In this situation, sugar can not get into the cells and becomes “stuck” in the body. This stuck sugar produces toxic effects that lead to obesity and diabetes. Diabetics age faster than other people.

Increased Risk of Cancer

Sugar consumption has been linked to increased risk of esophageal cancer, endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer.

Now that I have scared the hell out of you, let me tell you that a small serving of sugar or the occasional sweet treat is not going to result in weight gain, tooth decay or higher insulin levels. All these happen with excessive intake of table sugar or products made up using excess table sugar.

Now what is an excess sugar intake?

WHO suggests that sugar intake that is greater than 10% of your total calories intake is what should be called excess sugar intake. For most persons, that amounts to 50 grams of sugar. If you’re overweight, diabetic or have heart disease, it it is recommended to keep the sugar intake close 5% of total calories intake.

I hope this article will make you think and let you watchout your sugar intake.

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