Is sugar really the new “fat”?
Birthdays, weddings, anniversary, or your promotion– every event is inherently associated with sugary treats. We have unknowingly developed the tendency of celebrating happy occasions with sweet foods.
Sweet treats have a strange way of seducing us with their overly-colorful and attractive decorations. The first bite of these delicious treats gives us a brief glimpse of heaven.
We all love stuffing our faces with huge chunks of pastries. But is sugar really the sweet reward our body deserves?
Well, the answer is, largely and unmistakably, a NO!
It is commonplace to offer sweet treats at festivals and social gatherings.
Nevertheless, there are enough science-backed facts which reveal that with every spoonful of sugar that we consume, we put ourselves through a series of irreversible lifelong implications.
And yes, many of them are similar to how our body would react to lethal substance-abuse (read: alcohol and drugs).
Don’t believe it?
Read these shocking facts about sugar
1. Not so much a sweet-heart
An extra scoop of ice-cream might fill your heart with happiness.
But, it is actually increasing your chances of cardiovascular ailments. Until recently, avoiding fatty and salty stuff was the ultimate mantra for a healthy heart.
But recent research conducted on sugar reveals a whole new ballgame.
Not to mention,eating too much sugar will undoubtedly make you fatter.
People who receive more than 17-20% of their daily calorie intake through sugary items are 38% more likely to die of heart illness.
And this also includes edible items which don’t taste sweet but are still infused with a lot of “added sugars”. The subsequent build-up of fats and the resulting cholesterol levels are a danger to both the young and elderly alike.
The human body is evolved to safely digest 6-9 teaspoons on a daily basis. But do you know how much an average American consumes sugar throughout the day?
This equals to roughly 250+ empty calories consumed per day. These do nothing but add unhealthy weight to your body, straining your heart beyond safe limits.
2. Sugar and the pot-belly
The best way to define sugar is “a nutrition-less source of carbohydrates and empty calories”.
When we start consuming it on a daily basis, our body doesn’t know what to do with.
Our body starts accumulating glucose in the form of fats. The biggest evidence is the global obesity pandemic.
We are consuming much more amount of sugar than our ancestors did, especially since the past 50 years.
Our obesity rates have grown three times in the last 30 years.
In 2010, 3.4 million fatalities were associated with obesity and over-weight.
Around 13% of the entire adult population comprises of people who have a BMI equal to or more than 30 (that’s 600 million people!). Soon, we will be left with a staggering 1.12 billion obese people inhabiting the planet by 2030.
The silent culprit behind our off-the-charts level of abnormal weight is sugar.
Our food is indiscriminately laced with empty calories. These are finding a permanent settlement in our bodies. And these added flabs are pulling us closer and closer to lifelong ailments and even death.
3. Sugar tricks your brain
Leptin is a substance is released into our bodies, indicating that our stomach is fully-fed.
This alerts the brain and we immediately stop consuming more food.
Similarly, when we are hungry, ghrelin is produced in the stomach that tells the brain- it’s time to eat.
Both leptin and ghrelin form a regulatory feedback system that controls our hunger-and-satiation cycles.
Sugar, the sneaky trickster, messes up our with leptin-ghrelin cycle and makes us resistant to them.
This means that even if your body is producing enough leptin, our brains become inert to the leptin alerts (leptin resistance).
Meaning we stop feeling fully-fed.
As a result, we continue eating without any feedback system telling us – it’s time to stop.
Similarly, it throws the ghrelin levels out of whack meaning we feel more hungry, more frequently. The combined effect is that we gain more weight and, as mentioned earlier, pave a path for long-term diseases.
4. The shocking case of Sugar vs. Alcohol
Would you offer your 9-yr old a can of beer on a sweaty afternoon?
Or, a glass of the finest scotch on his/her birthday?
But you won’t bat an eyelid before happily giving them a can of soda to sip on. Or gladly handing them out a bottle of energy drink before soccer practice.
We all are guilty of feeding ourselves and our kids with sweet beverages every now and then without realizing that it is as poisonous, and sometimes even more than alcohol!
Alcohol and fructose have almost similar chemical structure.
When both of these high-calorie drinks are consumed, they impact the liver.They are extremely hepatotoxic (poisonous to the liver). The liver responds by the rapid build-up of visceral fats (fats surrounding organs), resistance to insulin, and slowed metabolism.
The most baffling similarity between alcohol and sugar is that both these substances send our brain in a state of dopamine-rich “buzz”.
As a matter of fact,dopamine is the “feel-good” hormone. Additionally, we start building up higher tolerance levels to both and as a result need more of the substance to achieve the same state of “feel-good high”.
Not to mention,sweetened beverages and alcoholic drinks wreck a similar kind of havoc on our bodies. Both are equally detrimental to health.
The scary part is – one of them is largely controlled, taxed, and prohibited. While the other is freely served at kids birthday parties.
5. Sugar and other drugs
During an experiment to study the effects of sugar in comparison to other lethal drugs, scientists uncovered a terrible truth.
94% of the lab rats employed in the study, preferred sugar-water over cocaine!
That’s right, sugar was scientifically proven to be much more dreadfully addictive than the most dreadfully addictive drug known.
Just like nicotine, heroin, and cocaine, sugar prods the “reward center” in our brains. This means that it sends our brain and body in a state of upbeat euphoria.
This “high” makes us crave more and more sweet items. We start getting addicted to it. We begin building a tolerance level.
This implies that the more we eat, the more we want. And when we don’t find it, we start showing withdrawal symptoms, strangely similar to those of drug-addicts in a rehab center.
Our collective addiction and obsession with adding pounds of sugar borders eerily close to substance abuse.
6. Yes, these contain sugar too
Fancy a nice plateful of pasta for dinner? Or how about a quick protein bar for breakfast?
Sneak in a packet of crackers or frozen yogurt for those hunger pangs?
You might be putting yourself in a great medical risk because each of these is generously doused with added sugars.
Be it cereal bars or your beloved tomato ketchup- almost all packaged and processed food are lethal sources of this toxin.
Why lethal, you ask?
Because manufacturers are cunning enough to disguise sugar with a ton of fancy-sounding aliases.
There are roughly 60 different names by which sugar is mentioned in the list of ingredients.
The most commonly used aliases are agave nectar, rice malt, blackstrap molasses, cane-juice crystals, corn syrup solids, dextran, diastatic malt powder, malt-syrup, oat syrup, sorghum, treacle and many more.
Moreover,these are extensively found in fortified cereals, frozen dinners, junk food, alcohol, diabetic alternative foods, pasta sauce and even dietary supplements.
Hidden forms and names of sugar have stealthily sneaked into every form of food possible. But, remember – sugar by any other name would be just as catastrophic.
7. Sugar and kids’ health
Yes, we know it makes kids grow impatient and tantrum-y.
We are also quite aware of the fact that sweet tasting items are bad news to the dental health of the children.
But did you also know that increased consumption of this substance is slowly killing your child’s natural immunity?
Or that, it is increasing the likelihood of future cardiac issues in your child?
High consumption is directly linked to childhood obesity rates.
If you have been fed with more than required amount of sugar as a child, you are more likely to develop diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension as an adult.
And not during your 60s or 70s, but those can hit as early as during 20s and 30s.
Kids have a natural inclination towards sweet foods that transforms into a deadly addiction in no time. Excessive sugar consumption numbs a child’s taste buds.
They eventually start edging out natural and healthy foods from their diet.
Few more startling discoveries about how it ruins your body…
- Our body cannot distinguish between commercially-produced honey and sugar.
- Items which are made “low-fat” have dangerous levels of added sugar to make them palatable.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, irritability, mood-swings, persistent migraines, and even episodes of seizures – all linked to high sugar consumption.
- An average American adult consumes 22 tsp of sugar per day. A child consumes roughly 32.
- 74% of processed food contains high levels of sugar.
You needn’t be a rocket scientist to understand that our current lifestyle is deeply invaded by sugar.
But there is a good news.
There are smart ways of gradually moving out of this sugar epidemic. Read more to find out how you can detox your body from sugar.
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