Sugar is present in many of the foods that we eat — some of which may surprise you.
Pasta sauce, BBQ sauce, fruit juice, granola, cereal, and more common foods are loaded with sugar.
And, at the same time, some high-sugar foods — like granola bars and low-fat yogurt — are sold under the guise of being healthy.
Because of this, it can be easy to consume too much sugar, which can have many negative effects on your body.
At the Mindful Healing Clinic, we can consult with you to provide natural diet tips to help reduce your sugar intake.
How does sugar affect your body?
Keep reading to find out.
Why Do We Love Sugar?
Sugar makes up a hefty portion of the average diet — added sugar accounts for up to 11% of adult diets and 17% of children’s diets.
However, dietary guidelines recommend 10% or less of your diet consisting of added sugar, while many healthcare professionals advocate for even less, or zero.
Added sugar is not beneficial to a healthy diet since it is composed of “empty calories” – that is, calories with no essential nutrients.
So why do we eat so much sugar?
Our predisposition to consume sugar may be evolutionary — an evolutionary biologist at Harvard suggested that apes once survived on sugar-rich fruit because it had more energy.
The belief that sugar is addictive is controversial, but whether or not sugar is proven scientifically to be addictive, we do know that it is present in many foods and drinks.
Soft drinks are one of the main sources of sugar for many people – their consumption has increased by an estimated 500% over the last 70 years.
A recent study found that a 1% increase in soft drink consumption is associated with a 4.8% increase in obese adults per capita and 0.3% increase in diabetes in adults per capita.
Health Risks Of Sugar
Some sugar in your diet from natural sources, such as fruit, can be healthy.
But there are health risks associated with diets high in sugar.
1. Increased risk of heart disease
A recent study found a correlation between an increased percentage of calories composed of sugar and an increased risk of dying from heart disease.
In addition, diets high in sugar promote insulin resistance and diabetes, and patients with diabetes have higher rates of coronary atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries.
2. Increased risk of obesity
Rates of obesity are continuously on the rise, and sugar — especially when found in sugary drinks, which are high in fructose — are considered a main culprit.
Drinking beverages high in sugar can cause:
● Increased desire for glucose due to consumption of fructose
● Resistance to leptin, a hormone which regulates hunger
● Accumulation of visceral fat, which is associated with heart disease and diabetes
Sugary food and drinks are filled with “empty” calories, so they do not make you feel full when consumed – instead, they leave you hungry just an hour or two after eating them.
3. Makes you age more quickly
AGEs – or advanced glycation end products – are formed when sugar and protein in your body react.
Diets high in sugar have been linked to an increased production of AGEs.
These AGEs damage collagen and elastin, losing firmness in the skin, worsening wrinkles, and speeding up skin’s aging process.
4. Causes you to experience low energy
When we consume sugar, our blood sugar and insulin levels increase, giving us a burst of energy.
But it doesn’t last long before blood sugar sharply drops, causing a “crash”.
Eating healthier fats can keep your energy levels stable.
5. It can impair your memory
Diets high in sugar can lead to memory impairment and accelerated cognitive decline.
Furthermore, there is an association between glucose levels and dementia risk, although further research is required to determine exactly why.
Contact The Mindful Healing Clinic
There are natural diet solutions available that are low in sugar.
If you would like to reduce your sugar consumption levels, contact me, Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, at the Mindful Healing Clinic.
During your initial appointment, you’ll get a chance to sit down with me where we can talk about your diet and any other health concerns you may have.
From there, we’ll create a treatment plan based on your unique health needs.
Contact the Mindful Healing Clinic to book your FREE 15-minute introductory session today.
Until next time,
Dr. Maria Cavallazzi is a medical doctor from Colombia where she practiced as a family physician for 8 years until she moved to Canada 16 years ago and became a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga.