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Sugar and health: can they exist together?

Nutritionists usually separate the concepts of “good” and unhealthy sugar.

The good one is fructose, which is found in fruits, and lactose, that we get from milk and, to a lesser extent, from dairy products. With the use of the appropriate products, a person receives unprocessed and maximally useful sugar, as well as a huge amount of nutrients. But refined types, that is, sugar from the store in its pure form, as well as contained in juices, soda, sweets, processed foods, are considered harmful sugar and bring many health problems.

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Fructose tends to be broken down in cells into simpler carbohydrates, which form fat molecules. These are also reserves of energy, but more difficulty is available: for their activation in the body, a whole chain of chemical processes must occur.

Glucose is essential to the liver to function properly: it helps neutralize toxins (therefore, glucose injections may be prescribed in case of severe intoxication). Also, it is a component of sugar powder that is involved in the production of serotonin, a hormone that is responsible for a good mood and a stable emotional state. This is the "healthy" sugar, which has a positive effect on our well-being. 

Photo by Lena Myzovets on Unsplash

Why is sugar so harmful?

In recent years, conscious consumption has become widespread, which would seem that only the lazy does not know about the harmful effects of sugar on the human body. Nevertheless, in 86% of cases, knowledge does not entail action and change: the harm of sugar seems to be something remote, insignificant. After all, no one died from an extra spoonful in tea or an extra cake at dinner. Thus, day after day, we allow sugar to rampage in the body, to seriously jeopardize our health. Why is sugar harmful?

Sugar consumption becomes the appearance of excess weight. When we stimulate the body with sweets, it is deposited in the liver in the form of glycogen - this is a reserve source of energy. To synthesize glycogen all the amount of sugar consumed per day by the average person, so it begins to transform into fats. It will turn into extra centimeters most quickly. In addition, fast carbohydrates dramatically increase blood sugar levels, triggering a massive release of insulin, which converts the calories received into fat.

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Sugar is a powerful drug that affects all body systems like morphine or cocaine. The spike in glucose in the brain triggers the need for an additional dose, and this call for food does not distinguish the brain from real hunger. Beta endorphin receptors and dopamine production are activated. Sugar also contributes to the appearance of a feeling of comfort, security, relaxation: this reaction appears from childhood, due to addiction to natural sugar from mother's milk. 

Another curious fact: by constantly provoking the release of endorphins with sweets, we bring the body to the point that it stops producing them on its own. This means that mood swings, irritability, and aggressiveness will appear immediately, as soon as the body ceases to have enough sugar for the production of endorphins.

Sugar destroys health. B vitamins are washed out, the balance of phosphorus and calcium is disturbed, problems with the heart, kidneys and other vital organs arise. According to the latest research, the resistance of the immune system also directly depends on the level of sugar in the blood.

Photo by Isabella and Zsa Fischer on Unsplash

Sugar takes energy away from us. It seems that on the contrary - a chocolate bar for coffee helps to hold out until lunchtime, satisfies hunger and gives strength. In fact, this burst of energy is short-lived. In addition, due to sugar, there is a lack of vitamin B1, which in the future does not allow food to be absorbed normally, which means that the body does not receive many useful substances.

Most of the inflammatory processes are also caused by sugar. If you regularly suffer from headaches, lack of energy, sleep poorly, cannot get rid of rashes on the face, oily skin and hair problems - try, if not completely eliminate, then at least reduce the amount of sugar you consume and see how much the state of the body will change for the better. 

How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake?

- Try to minimize the dose of sugar per a day. Instead of 2 spoons of sugar add 1;

- Eat more protein food for breakfast;

- Don't snack on sweet bars;

- Drink water instead of cordials, soft drinks and juices;

- Avoid sugary desserts;

- Be careful with “healthy” processed snack foods;

- Get enough sleep.

Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash

Julia Stecher is an award-winning fitness model, professional nutritionist, and certified personal trainer who provides personal training services in Zurich and online.

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