How Sugar Affects Your Diet
Sugar is something that most of us eat on a daily basis, but have you ever stopped to think about how it impacts your body and diet? The type of sugars that most adults and children eat too much of each day are refined or “free” sugars, which are sugars that are added to food and drink products. Today we’re going to take a look into how sugar impacts your body and the good, bad, and ugly parts of our sugar consumption habit.
What Type of Sugars Should You Avoid Eating?
The type of sugar that many of us are guilty of overconsuming are sugars that are added to products instead of naturally occurring sugars. These include sugars that are added to cereals, soft drinks, yogurts, cookies, or candy, and they can either be added at home or by the manufacturer. On top of that, sugars that occur in honey, syrups, or unsweetened juices can become quite problematic when consumed in large quantities. While these sugars do naturally occur, when you drink or eat these products too often after working with our team at Braxton Gilbert Fitness, it can become more of an issue.
Sugars found naturally in fruit, vegetables, or milk don’t count in the category of bad sugars, although some people still find that they need to reduce their consumption of these for optimum health. They will still count towards your daily recommended sugar consumption, so ensure you are checking food labels to understand more about sugar content in foods. While we all need sugar as part of our diet, it’s the overconsumption of sugar that’s causing major issues for our population. In general, you’ll want to reduce added sugar to under 5% of the calories you consume each day, which usually equates to about 30g of added sugars. This amount needs to be reduced for younger children, and you’ll want to try and stop them from becoming too reliant on sugar from a young age.
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How Does Sugar Impact Our Body?
While you probably are aware of the impact of sugar on our teeth, you might be surprised to learn about the other areas it impacts. When you eat sugar, your brain receives a dose of dopamine, which is why many of us crave sugar in the afternoon. However, whole foods like vegetables and fruits don’t cause this dopamine rush, so you often still crave processed sugar to feel the same benefits. You might notice that sugar gives you an energy burst before working with different types of personal trainers, and that’s due to it raising your blood sugar levels quickly. However, once these levels drop when your cells absorb the sugar, you may notice that you start to feel anxious. In fact, studies show that sugar is linked to depression in adults, which is another reason to keep track of your sugar consumption.
If you struggle with joint pain, you might want to consider reducing your sugar consumption. Candy in particular is known for worsening joint pain as it increases inflammation in your body. Your skin is also heavily affected by sugar, and you may notice that you age faster if your sugar consumption is higher than average. When sugar attaches to the proteins in your bloodstream, it damages the elastin and collagen in your skin, which keeps your skin firm and youthful.
Heading down to your liver, added sugar in your diet can damage the liver due to the high amount of fructose. This can increase your chance of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease when an excess of fat builds up in the liver. The arteries all over your body can also be impacted, as their walls may become inflamed. Over time, they grow thicker and stiffer, increasing the chance of heart disease or heart failure.
Sugar and Your Body Weight
In general, the more sugar that you eat, the more weight you will start to gain, even when working out at gyms in Mobile. Research suggests that those who drink sugary drinks on a regular basis usually weigh more and are at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Sugar is one of the biggest causes of the worldwide obesity crisis, especially due to the consumption of fructose. In fact, fructose is likely to make you feel even hungrier and increase your desire for other foods. Fructose can also make your body more resistant to leptin. Leptin is the hormone that regulates hunger, and it tells your body when to stop eating. Instead of stopping you from feeling hungry, sugary drinks and foods make it easier to consume too many calories each day.
How to Cut Back on Sugar
Are you concerned about the amount of sugar you eat on a daily basis? If so, there are certain ways to curb your sugar cravings and start eating a more balanced diet. Instead of reaching for soft drinks and sodas, focus on drinking more water or no-sugar-added drinks. When it comes to the spreads and condiments you use on your meals, try to find reduced-sugar options or enjoy your food plain instead. If you enjoy cooking, try to minimize the amount of sugar you use in your recipes. As far as the food you select in stores, you’ll want to keep looking at the labels to increase your awareness about the amount of sugar you are consuming. By making yourself more aware of the number of grams of sugar you consume each day, you can stop when you realize you are close to your daily limit.
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While you don’t need to eliminate sugar completely from your diet to enjoy a balanced and healthy lifestyle, we recommend starting to keep an eye on how much you consume. Many of us aren’t aware of how much sugar we eat each day, which is why we overconsume processed foods and added sugar on a daily basis. By starting to monitor your food consumption more closely along with working out at our gym in Mobile, AL, you can make easy switches to start living a healthier life. Focus on consuming natural sugars that are found in fruits and vegetables, and you’ll also start to notice a big difference in the way in which your body and mind feel.