Is Sugar Killing You and Your Weight Loss Efforts?
Today, we hear it over and over again, from many different sources.
Sugar is bad for you. Sugar will make you fat. Sugar has all the ingredients that cause people to get sick. Some people are still in denial about its damaging effects, or choose to ignore it.
Even if we choose to cut out sugar, it can be a battle defining a diet that is low in sugar.
We can stop adding sugar to our food and drinks, but sugar is present (often the main ingredient) in a lot of the foods we regularly consume and can seem to be simply unavoidable.
Sugar gets digested very easily into glucose, which is used for energy needs. BUT, our body can only utilize glucose for energy when it arrives in small metered amounts.
Most of the foods that contain sugar deliver glucose too much and too fast.
Excessive amounts of glucose mostly get stored as fat, which explains why eating too many sweets leads inevitably to weight gain, as unwanted body fat.
Weight Loss Plateau
One of the biggest issues for dieters is snacks.
Many people can change their eating behaviours enough to prevent further weight gain but have great trouble in losing what they already have, and not understanding why.
Here is why:
You may have been faithfully dieting and avoiding the simple carbs, including sugar, that most contribute to fat accumulation.
If you have been doing this for more than a few days, your body is likely breaking down fat stores to use for energy requirements, through a process called ketosis.
However, if you have even one sugary snack, or eat a high-GI food, your blood sugar goes up, and your body switches from fat usage mode to fat accumulation mode.
That’s all it takes. High blood sugar, even for a short time, triggers insulin release, and ketosis stops.
Sadly, it doesn’t switch back on as quickly as it switches off. It can take another couple of days of low-carb before ketosis resumes.
It’s cruel, but fat storage mode is the body’s preferred state, as it evolved to deal with starvation and not excess.
Other Health Problems Caused by Excess Sugar Consumption
However, weight gain is not the only effect of consuming too much sugar.
Several studies have noted that sugar in excessive amounts also causes or contributes to the following conditions:
The American Optometric Association states that high blood sugar leads to swelling of the eye’s lens, which puts a person at a greater risk of developing cataracts.
Additionally, the narrowing of the eyes’ blood vessels also leads to glaucoma. Eventually, cataracts and glaucoma may, unfortunately, lead to blindness if left untreated.
The most likely effect of too much sugar in the body is inflammation, and it is not just felt in one part of the body, but in several areas from the brain and organs, to limbs and feet.
Chronic inflammation causes painful joints through arthritis.
Excessive inflammation can lead to mental and psychological disorders that can manifest as depression. Excess sugar may disrupt your natural hormone production which also affects mental health.
Reducing sugar through a healthier diet can lead to a dramatic improvement in mood. It can help ease feelings of anxiety/depression or prevent it from further escalating into a full-blown mental disorder.
However, this will not be instant and take a couple of weeks before any improvent is felt.
During that time, moods may worsen, as hormones rebalance during the detox stage. The severity will depend on the degree of addiction to sugar.
Insulin is mainly responsible for moving sugar from your blood to your cells.
Consistent, high amounts of sugar in your bloodstream can force the pancreas to keep producing increasingly larger volumes of insulin. Eventually, the body turns insulin-resistant while blood sugar levels remain very high.
A persistently high blood sugar level can develop into type-2 diabetes. A lifestyle disorder, type-2 diabetes may have to be managed with medications, if a major lifestyle change is not undertaken.
Decreased Brain Function
Persistently excessive amounts of sugar in your system also leads to decreased brain function, and no amount of brain-stimulating apps will be enough to counter this.
Too much sugar is a risk factor for dementia and can damage your brain long-term. The best way to care for your brain and prevent this is a clean, healthy and nutritious diet.
Unfortunately, eating too much sugar can be damaging to your heart health. It can put you at a greater risk of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, which further leads to stroke or can cause kidney failure.
None of these conditions are easily manageable once they manifest. As with all things relating to health, prevention is much better than cure.
Inability to Quit Sugar
When people think of addiction, they often think of illicit drugs or maybe alcohol. Think again. Sugar addiction is real and taking in excessive amounts of sugar can cause a dependency that is hard to break.
A study reported in Scientific American stresses that the brain’s natural reaction to sugar is similar to taking cocaine or engaging in gambling – which means it is highly addictive.