Among the many things that are a part of today’s modern diet, added sugar has to be one of the most detrimental. On top of natural sources, the majority of processed foods include an additional dosage. Most people underestimate or are unaware of the amount of sugar they consume per day, inhaling up to 80-100 grams. Many studies link it to leading killers such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. The low-fat diet fad didn’t help either. Manufacturers removed the fat, and added more sugar instead to compensate the taste. Even products that are endorsed by major health organisations contain more than necessary. Next time you pick up your favorite cereal, energy bar or fruit flavored yogurt, take a glance at the label. Most contain 12 grams or more per serving. Added sugar can actually harm your metabolism. It contains no essential nutrients and derives a large amount of fructose, a simple sugar, which is metabolized largely by the liver. The unused sugar turns into fat in the liver, which, in the long run causes insulin resistance and can lead to further metabolic problems such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Don’t confuse fructose with glucose. Glucose is a form of energy that’s in every living cell, and our body can actually produce it. Fructose, on the other hand has no beneficial effects and isn’t produced in any significant amounts by our bodies. Fructose is also responsible for the buildup of visceral fat that lodges itself in the liver and around your organs, which secretes pro-inflammatory hormones into your bloodstream, kicking of a chain reaction of health problems, including many chronic diseases. Many sugary drinks that also contain high fructose corn syrup even inhibits your hunger hormone, ghrelin. Did you notice that you tend to eat more when having soda with your meals? The fructose and sugar makes you eat more, craving more food, because unlike glucose, fructose doesn’t lower your ghrelin level as much. Sugar is actually highly addictive, much like dopamine, the more you have the more you crave. It’s a vicious cycle. It is actually the leading cause of obesity in both adults and kids. It also increases abdominal fat in as little as 10 weeks.
Fitness tips: Look at your labels! A good rule of thumb is to shoot for no more then 4 grams of sugar (per serving). If the sugar is high, stay away from it. This pertains particularly to processed foods that add additional sugars.
We all have a sweet tooth, I understand. But be smart about your “fix”. Fruits are a great source, and if you must have some sugar in your coffee, avoid the artificial sweeteners. Use our previous fitness tips and go the natural way, truvia, stevia, honey, or even brown or raw sugar is better. A few empty calories are not worth your health. Viktoria