The lowdown on why sugar isn’t good for you.
Most people are aware that sugar isn’t good for you, but the question is: Why?
And if sugar isn’t good for us, then what about the naturally occurring sugars in fruits, vegetables and grains?
WHY SUGAR ISN’T GOOD FOR YOU
Types of Sugar
The problem with sugar is it comes in many different forms – and some of them aren’t easily recognizable.
First, you have the sugars that naturally occur in fruit, vegetables and whole grains. If you are eating a healthy, balanced diet, you will be eating just the right amount of natural sugars.
These natural sugars are called fructose. Fructose is metabolized in the liver instead of the blood stream. This, plus the added fiber in whole foods, helps to minimize any blood sugar spikes.
Next, you have those sugars that are in processed foods. The most notorious of these is high fructose corn syrup. But sugar hides in processed foods under several different names such as sucrose, barley malt, maltose, rice syrup, and dextrose.
Sugars like sucrose contain no protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, or fiber. Therefore, when we consume sucrose, we are getting calories without any nutritious elements.
To identify added sugars, you need to read the nutritional labels of the foods you are purchasing. Check out my post on finding the hidden sugars and you can see how they lurk in products you would never suspect contain sugar.
Sugar in the Body
In order to understand why sugar isn’t good for us, we need to understand how it acts in the human body.
Let’s look at refined sugar. Refined sugar is also known as granulated sugar. You also know it as table sugar, white sugar, raw sugar, sanding sugar, or powdered sugar.
Refined sugar is pure sucrose. And sucrose is made up of glucose and fructose.
Glucose is vital and necessary for us to survive. Our cells burn glucose as fuel. When we ingest glucose, our bodies immediately set to work to convert it to energy.
But what happens to the body is you consume too much glucose?
If you consume more glucose than your body immediately needs, your body converts the excess glucose into fat to be stored for future energy. If you don’t ever use that future energy, you store that fat indefinitely.
Did you know that? It’s not fat that causes fat stores in the body. It’s excess sugar that causes fat stores in the body!
Ingesting too much glucose not only leads to fat stores, it also disrupts the blood sugar balance, setting off a vicious cycle of sugar cravings.
Blood Sugar Balance
Here’s how our blood sugar balance works:
When we consume too much glucose, our blood sugar spikes.When our blood sugar spikes, our pancreas begins to secrete insulin. Insulin helps our body to even out our blood sugar.
The trouble with insulin starts when our body produces becomes too much.
Too much insulin in the body equals sugar cravings.
In response to a sugar craving, our body signals that it wants more refined sugars because refined sugars will shoot our blood sugar levels up quickly.
Identifying the sugar craving cycle is the first step to beating it.
How can you beat those sugar cravings?
The first step is to know what triggers your desire for sweets. Sleep, lack of exercise and stress can all trigger your body’s desire for sweets.
When you experience a sugar craving, ask yourself what might be the trigger. Then look for a healthy way to ward off the craving.
My strategy to ditch the sugar craving is to use one of these 15 Things to Do Instead of Eating. They really work!
If sugar cravings have taken over your life, you may want to try a sugar detox. I did a 30 day sugar detox and it was life changing.
Will you be cutting back on sugar this year?