Sugar and the effects of sugar on health

Sugar is often considered malignant due to the many chronic health problems it causes, especially heart disease. Eating too much sugar not only inhibits weight loss, but can also speed up the excretion of nutrient-rich foods. Despite warnings, many still overdo it with sugar. The average daily consumption of sugar in some places is already 73 grams or 17.4 tablespoons, which has decreased slightly in recent years, but still significantly exceeds the optimal level.

It is helpful to know exactly what sugar is doing in the body – right from the first bite – to create healthier habits and perfect your dietary goals.

How the body breaks down sugar

When you eat cake, ice cream, candy, or any other dessert, your body breaks down the added sugar that these foods contain into glucose and fructose. Glucose is treated differently in the body than fructose. Glucose is a simple sugar or monosaccharide and is an integral part of carbohydrates, which is the most suitable source of energy in the body. Glucose is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and used as energy.

On the other hand, fructose (often called fruit sugar) is processed in the liver where it needs to be converted to glucose so that it can be used as energy. This is usually not a problem if you eat fruit, for example, because fiber and nutrients help slow absorption and maintain a stable blood sugar level. However, fructose is often found in processed foods and when eaten in large quantities, the liver converts it into fat. This can negatively affect triglyceride levels (a type of fat in the blood) and cause cardiovascular disease.

Why your body craves “more sugar”

Thanks to the rise in blood sugar and its further drop, it is very likely that you will need some more candy from the “office bowl” to feel good again. The process often translates into a drop in mood and energy levels, depending on the person and the amount of sugar consumed. Sugar is often considered an addictive, as the brain adapts to dopamine (substances that make us feel good), which is released every time you ingest sugar. This means that you will need more sugar to achieve the same sugar level. Often, the need for sugar is carried over to the next few days.

Long-term health problems

We usually focus on how excessive consumption of processed foods that contain excess sugar can lead to weight gain or severe weight loss, but the side effects are even greater. Excess sugar leads to increased pancreatic function (which can lead to diabetes) and affects the thickening of the coronary arteries (increases the risk of heart disease). It also raises blood pressure and lowers “good” HDL cholesterol. Research shows that too much sugar can change the chemistry of your brain and cause a higher risk of depression.

It is important to keep in mind that not all sugars are the same. Sugar is a natural ingredient in foods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products and grains. When you eat this food, you also get a lot of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, fats and moisturizing water. You also get fiber to help slow down digestion and alleviate the release of sugar into the bloodstream.