Why Sugar Is Bad for You
Why You Need to Cut Out Sugar
The average American consumes about 77 grams (or 19 teaspoons!) of refined sugar every day. That’s more than double the American Heart Association’s recommended maximum of 37.5 grams (9 teaspoons) for men and 25 grams (6 teaspoons) for women.
It’s the equivalent of about 61 pounds a year, and Halloween candy accounts for at least two pounds of that.
So why is sugar bad for you? It’s really added sugar that’s bad. Sugar that occurs naturally in foods like fruits, vegetables, and grains comes with fiber, vitamins, and minerals that your body needs. As your body slowly digests those foods, the sugar supplies a steady source of energy.
Added sugar, on the other hand, spikes your blood sugar, leaving you tired when you crash from the sugar rush and can lead to weight gain, inflammation, and diseases.
Why You Crave Sugar
If sugar is so bad for you, why do you crave it?
Eating refined sugar creates a blood sugar imbalance. First, your blood sugar spikes, triggering the release of insulin to lower it. But if your body releases too much insulin, your blood sugar becomes too low, leaving you tired. So you crave more sugar for an energy boost. And the cycle continues.
Any time you’re tired, whether it's because of low blood sugar or inadequate sleep, you’ll seek an energy boost. Sugar offers a quick fix. But remember that it will cause that blood sugar spike and crash cycle.
Stress is another reason you crave sugar. When you’re stressed, your cortisol levels rise, causing your liver to release glucose, which raises your blood sugar. This imbalance leads to sugar cravings.
Effects of Excess Sugar
Too much added sugar increases the inflammation in your body. Inflammation and autoimmune disorders go hand-in-hand. If you have an autoimmune disorder, it’s important to reduce inflammation as part of disease management.
There’s a clear connection between excess sugar and weight gain. Foods that contain a lot of added sugar are usually high in calories and low in nutrients, making it easy to eat too many calories. They don’t fill you up, and they leave you craving more. This is especially true with sweetened drinks, like juice and soft drinks.
Too much sugar is also linked to heart disease and diabetes. The increased inflammation, the rise in blood pressure, and the accumulation of fat that sugar causes all put you at greater risk of developing these and other diseases.
How To Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Here are some tips to keep your blood sugar more balanced and avoid the sugar spike and the dreaded crash cycle:
- Start your day by eating a high-protein breakfast that includes healthy fats.
- Prioritize sleep so you're not reaching for a sugary snack to get an energy boost.
- Read labels so you don’t accidentally consume more sugar than you want – sugar sometimes sneaks into foods unexpectedly.
- Stay hydrated so you don’t mistake thirst for hunger.
- If you can’t kick the cravings, try indulging your sweet tooth with something naturally sweet, like fruit.
Added sugar is bad for you. Reduce your sugar intake and you can reduce your inflammation, your weight, and your risk for disease.
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The content on heartroothealth.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.