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SUGAR – To What Extent Is It The New Enemy? - Health - Nairaland

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SUGAR – To What Extent Is It The New Enemy? by healthbeautytip: 1:39am On Dec 09, 2017

Sugar first starts out as sugar cane – a healthy stalking plant. Used in its natural form, you can’t consume enough to make you ill. But when super-concentrated and processed, it develops into a drug. In fact, with lab rats, sugar outperformed cocaine as the drug of choice. One of the most obvious reasons why sugary foods and drinks are bad and can weaken your health is that they tend to be high in calories but not all that filling. That makes it easy to over-consume them, and the excess calories can cause you to gain weight.

Another way that sugar negatively impacts nutrition and health is that it substitutes other healthier foods. People often eat sweets instead of other foods that are more nutritious and, as a result, their overall nutrition suffers.

But it’s not just the empty calories that are the problem or even the excess calories. Because even if you’re getting all the nutrients you need and are only consuming enough calories to maintain a healthy weight, eating a lot of sugar is still bad for your health.

5 Reasons Sugar is Bad for You

1. Sugar quells the immune system.When you take in a dose of sugar, like from a bottle of Coke or a chocolate bar, you temporarily tamp down your immune system’s ability to respond to challenges. The effect lasts for several hours, so if you eat sweets several times a day, your immune system may be perpetually operating at a distinct disadvantage.

2. Sugar promotes inflammation. Inflammation, which is part of the immune response, is not considered a bad thing. But eating sugary foods can fuel excessive, inappropriate inflammation that serves no useful purpose and thus, promotes aging and disease.

3. Sugar suppresses the release of human growth hormone. If you want to slow down the aging process, you absolutely want to do what you can to naturally enhance your body’s production of human growth hormone. Avoiding foods that are high in sugar is a good way to do that. Exercising, going longer between meals, and avoiding undue stress also help.

4. Sugar promotes glycation.Glycation is the non-enzymatic reaction between reducing sugars, such as glucose, proteins, nucleic acids or lipids. Studies show a connection between glycation and skin aging. The more sugar you have in your bloodstream, the older you may look. These glycated molecules produce toxic compounds called advanced glycation end products, or, AGEs. And much of the damage done by AGEs is irreparable.

5. Sugar raises insulin levels. An influx of sugar into your body will certainly zoom up your blood sugar levels. Thereafter, your pancreas will release a bunch of insulin to help clear sugar from your blood into your cells. As blood sugar levels go down, insulin levels return to normal. But when you eat a lot of sugar, you’re constantly calling for insulin, and that can boomerang in several ways. Over time, it takes more and more insulin to get the job done. In the end, your pancreas may just stop responding to the call.

How Much Sugar is Safe?

What I have described above happens when your diet is persistently high in sugar. What counts as high? The World Health Organization suggests that you keep your sugar intake to no more than 10% of total calories. That should be about 50 grams of sugar or the amount in one 20 ounce bottle of soda.

If you’re overweight or have any other risk factors for heart disease or diabetes, it might be wise to keep it closer to 5%.

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