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SUGAR: IS IT GOOD OR BAD?

Most of us know it pretty well that sugar isn’t quite healthy or nutritious, but there still is a great deal of misinformation about how much should the quantity of your sweet intake can be- if at all.

There definitely is no doubt about the fact that a high-sugar diet has some quite damaging health risks. In fact, too much of added sweeteners is directly linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, hypertension, inflammation, high cholesterol, reduced “good” cholesterol, obesity and various cardiovascular disorders.

But what is all the more important to know, is the fact that not all types of sugar is bad for your health and you don’t really need to “delete” sweet delicacies completely from your diet.

Image result for eating sweets

Are NATURAL and ADDED sugars different?

Natural sugars are basically the ones found in whole, unprocessed foods. For example- fructose in banana or berries.

Foods with natural sweetening agents are not just low in calories and sodium but at the same time, also possess high water content, essential vitamins and minerals. In addition to that, fruits contain high fiber content which aids the digestive process of the body.

On the other hand, if we discuss about added sugars, these are quite harmful in nature, and can be found in soda drinks, candies, ice creams etc. Simply put, added sweeteners are the ones that are added to a food from outside, before consumption.

Is just not eating sweets or delicacies enough, in order to prevent excessive glucose intake? Well, the answer is a big NO.

Image result for sugar intake

As, not many people are aware of the fact that added sugars are found in a number of processed foods items like ketchup, instant oatmeal, baby food, protein bars, dry fruits and what not. Sugar alone goes by more than a 50 names, which is why most of us don’t recognize them on the nutrition labels.

How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body? 
  1. A high-glucose diet may lead to insulin resistance, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
  2. Steeply rising incidence of obesity worldwide is directly linked to having too much added sweeteners, especially from sugar-sweetened beverages.
  3. Cardiovascular disorders associated with highest number of deaths worldwide are in one way of other linked with having a high-sugar diet. It has been evidenced that high-sugar intake leads to inflammation, high triglyceride, blood sugar and blood pressure levels all of which are risk factors for heart disease and fatty liver
  4. It also affects the amount of androgen secretion of the body, oil production and inflammation, all of which can raise your risk of developing acne.
  5. Additionally sugary foods can increase the production of AGEs (Advanced glycation end products- bio-markers for ageing), which can accelerate skin aging and wrinkle formation.
Is complete omission of added sugars, the correct solution?

Image result for indian people eating sweets

Definitely not. In fact, it’s all about moderation.  Instead of completely ditching your “beloved” sweet treats, try having smaller portions. Keep an eye on packaged foods. Things like flavored yogurt, bread, cereal and ketchup can all have more added sugar than you might expect. Pay attention to nutrition labels and look for options that’ll help you stay within your limit for daily sugar intake.

Are sugar-free replacements a good alternative? 

We know it might be tempting to trade high sugar diet for the ones made with low or no calorie sweeteners like diet soda or sugar-free cookies but to be honest, doing so could easily backfire. Contrary to the belief, consumption of artificial sweeteners like saccharin, aspartame, and sucrose are linked to weight gain instead of weight loss. In fact these are linked with a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, heart attacks, and even stroke. Additionally they make it harder to keep your appetite in check, and even hamper your gut bacteria, thus increasing the burden of health problems further.

Final take

Sugar is certainly not something that can be termed healthy or nutritious but it also isn’t a “devil” that it sometimes is made out to be. However, the amount of  consumption should undoubtedly be reduced, but not completely omitted. Having it in moderation, or rather reducing the portions of sweet-laden food items, works perfectly well.

So, just go ahead and grab a bite of your favorite chocolate ice-cream, without feeling guilt ridden at the same time!

 

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