Contrary to what our taste buds lead us to believe, the consumption of sugar does far more harm than it does good. From ketchup to bread, sugar is often found in even the most unexpected products that we consume on a day to day basis. Most people rely on quick and easy meals and snacks that are ideal for a busy life, which typically contain excessive amounts of sugar, and thus accounts for a large portion of daily calorie intake. Consuming high amounts of sugar has been normalized and the unnecessary addition of processed sugar to most products is not even questioned or talked about. Yet, what we don’t know about sugar can hurt us.
Not only can a high sugar diet contribute to weight gain, but can also lead to increased sickness and risk for disease. Quickly after sugar is absorbed into the body, the immune system is weakened and struggles to fight off the bacteria that it is almost constantly exposed to, making the possibility of contracting a sickness and disease that much easier. The main type of sugar that is generally found in processed foods, is fructose, which suppresses the bodies production of leptin, the hormone responsible for regulating the feeling of hunger and satiety. Leptin works by sending signals to the brain, telling the body when to eat and when to stop eating (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4443321), but with a low production of leptin, the brain doesn’t have the proper resources needed to tell the body when it is full. As a result, the body will have an unsatisfiable feeling of hunger, leading to increased eating, and in turn, weight gain. Additionally, high sugar diets cause inflammation as well as high blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides, all of which are the leading causes of heart disease. Likewise, sugar feeds the cancer cells that naturally live within the body, increasing the risk of all types of cancer.
Aside from the detrimental effects that sugar has on the bodies physical health, the effects that it has on ones mental health are arguably just as damaging. Although consuming a sweet treat quickly raises endorphins in the moment, it leads to decreased energy and an increased risk of depression, as blood sugar rises quickly and drops substantially.
Though the occasional consumption of sugar will not cause immediate death, excessive sugar intake will certainly cause a rapid decline on both the bodies physical and mental health.
Decreasing the consumption of sugar in a high sugar diet is not an easy task, but should be attempted whenever possible.
To do so:
• Focus on eating more home cooked meals rather than fast food.
•Choose meals high in protein and vegetables and low in carbs.
•Substitute soda for water, herbal teas, and seltzer water.
•Try using stevia in place of white sugar.
•Replace candy with frozen fruit or trail mix.
•Choose dark chocolate sweetened with stevia instead of milk chocolate (Lily’s has the BEST stevia sweetened chocolate chips and chocolate bars).
•Use oil and vinegar in place of sugary salad dressings.
•BE DETERMINED TO DISCOVER A HEALTHIER YOU