If you're anything like us, you probably enjoy your daily dose of sweet treats. However, we've all heard that too much sugar can be bad for us. But what exactly does this mean? How much sugar is too much? And why should we care in the first place? Well, I'm glad you asked! Let's dive into some of the ways sugar can affect your body and how to reduce your sugar intake for better health.
If too much sugar is consumed, it can cause tooth decay.
Sugar is a carbohydrate, which means it's broken down into glucose. Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream and used for energy or stored as fat. When too much sugar is consumed, it can cause tooth decay because bacteria in your mouth convert sugars to acids that attack teeth.
On top of this, a high sugar intake also reduces the absorption of crucial vitamins and minerals, which in turn makes your teeth and bones weaker and more prone to damage!
Sugar increases blood sugar levels.
When you eat sugar, your body breaks down the carbohydrates into simple sugars. These sugars are used as energy, but if they aren't needed immediately, they're stored in the liver as glycogen. If you have too much glycogen stored in your liver, it can cause a condition known as insulin resistance. This means that your body has to produce more insulin than normal to get glucose out of the blood and into cells (where it can be used for energy).
The result? You've got high blood sugar levels and extra insulin floating around in your bloodstream—and all this excess makes you gain weight. If that's not bad enough, too much insulin can also lead to diabetes and heart disease!
It increases the temptation to overeat.
Excess sugar can lead to weight gain and obesity. It also increases the temptation to overeat because it triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good but also makes you crave more. And, like any other addiction, this can be harmful in the long run.
It's no secret that many processed foods are packed with added sugars—a whopping 20 grams or more in just one serving! That means that sugary processed foods are often calorie bombs; they're high in calories and low in nutrients like fiber, protein or healthy fats (all things your body needs). And even if you don't have an addiction problem yet, eating too much sugar may increase your risk of developing one down the road.
That's because over time frequent consumption of large amounts of added sweeteners can change how your brain responds to food cues—and make it harder for you to resist temptation later on. In fact, recent research has found evidence linking sugar consumption with addictive behaviors similar to those involved with alcohol dependence and cocaine addiction
Sugar spikes inflammation in the body.
Inflammation is a normal part of the immune system's response to injury or infection. It's important in helping your body heal, but if you're chronically inflamed due to poor dietary habits, then this may lead to several health problems, such as heart disease, depression, diabetes, liver disease and cancer.
So what’s the solution?
Keep an eye on the food labels.
Sugar can be found in many foods, including some that you may not expect:
- Condiments like ketchup, soy sauce, pasta sauce, barbecue sauce, salad dressings and mayonnaise.
- Processed carbohydrates such as bread, bagels, cereal and crackers.
- Low fat yogurt, some processed drinks such as frappuccinos, chocolate milk, dairy-free milk.
- Bottled smoothies.
- Refined peanut butter and other processed nut butters.
- Dried fruit can often contain added sugars in addition to the naturally occurring ones.
It’s also important to note that added sugar isn’t always easy to spot on food labels, and can be labelled under other alternative names such as dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose and syrups such as high fructose corn syrup.
Pay attention to serving sizes, especially when it comes to drinks
You might be surprised to learn that sugar is hiding in a lot of seemingly healthy drinks. Sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas and juices can have as much sugar as a candy bar, so you'll want to pay close attention when you're pouring yourself a glass (or bottle). Tea, coffee, and energy drinks also contain lots of sugar. Even if it doesn't taste sweet on your tongue, sugar can be added by the manufacturer during processing or added by you at home when you sweeten your tea or add a splash of milk in your morning latte.
Sugar isn't just found in sugary soft drinks like Coke; it's also hiding out in sports drinks—though this one may come as less of a surprise since these products are marketed toward athletes looking for an extra boost during exercise or competition (and after all those sugary snacks!). In fact, many people don't realize that even “flavored waters” contain large amounts of added sugars and calories—yet another reason why these “healthy” options aren't really healthy at all!
If you want to reduce your intake of added sugars but still enjoy something with flavor and mouthfeel (like milk), try opting for unsweetened almond milk over chocolate or vanilla versions that have more than 15 grams per 8 ounces!
Eat a minimally processed diet
By focusing your diet on whole-foods, it will make it far easier to keep track of how much sugar you consume on a daily basis, while ensuring that you’re getting enough vitamins, protein and minerals.
Raw Rev founder Alice Benedetto started creating her nutritious protein bars because she couldn't find a low-sugar snack for her two-year-old son, so she went into her kitchen and started making snacks herself.
By stocking up on healthy treat options like Raw Rev bars, and cooking meals from scratch, it can make a huge difference when it comes to avoiding highly processed & sugar laden foods.
Did you know that exercise can lower your blood sugar levels up to 24 hours or more after your workout?
When you do regular moderate exercise, such as walking, your muscles use more glucose, the sugar in your bloodstream. Over time, this can lower your blood sugar levels.
There are better ways to get your energy fix than with sugar.
So how do we get our energy fix without sugar? The answer is simple: Eat more protein, fat and fiber.
Eating more protein will help you feel fuller for longer and keep your blood sugar levels in check. Proteins also contain amino acids that are important for repairing tissue damage caused by exercise—which can help prevent injuries and speed up recovery time after them. Try to eat at least 20 grams of high-quality protein with every meal—that means aiming for at least 45 grams of total protein each day (10% of your total daily calories).
Fat is another key macronutrient that helps us stay full while also improving the quality of our food choices overall. Your body needs fat to absorb all the vitamins A through K2 (which helps prevent osteoporosis), D (important for strong bones) and E (a powerful antioxidant). In fact, many people get too much refined carbohydrate in their diets instead of enough healthy fats! Adding healthy sources like extra virgin olive oil or avocado to salads or smoothies can help balance out your intake without adding unwanted calories from processed foods like white breads or pastas which lack essential nutrients but have lots of empty carbohydrates that make us feel hungry soon after eating them anyway.
If your diet is particularly high in added sugars, going cold-turkey may be difficult and even counterproductive.
If your diet is particularly high in added sugars, going cold turkey may be difficult and even counterproductive. Instead, consider cutting back on sugar gradually over time.
If you need help with this process, you can seek advice from a nutritionist or therapist who will help make a plan for how to cut down on sugar. You can also consult your doctor about strategies for reducing sugar intake and learning more about healthful food choices.