Sugar has a terrible gripping hold on society. It seems ever-present, even added in to seemingly health products like whole wheat breads & pasta sauces. The article I found and reviewed listed ways sugars adversely affect each of these body functions/systems and how you can combat sugars nasty hold on me & you.
- Skin: Excess sugar intake may be one of the reasons your skin has become more prone to wrinkles and jowls. When sugar is digested, it bonds to collagen (what keeps your skin thick and “plump”) and impairs its function… a process called Glycation. High fructose corn syrup, often substituted due to it being cheaper to produce than sugar, causes 10 times more glycation than sugar! What can you do about it? Eat more lysine (found in fish, lean meats, and low-fat dairy) or use anti-wrinkle creams.
- Waistline: Fructose, another form of sugar mostly found naturally in fruits but added in to many food products like whole grain breads, causes energy levels to drop at the cellular level, which reduces your metabolic rate and increases fat storage. So, how to combat this situation? Start reading nutrition labels. Labels have to say how much sugar is ADDED versus what is in the product naturally. Trim out foods you eat with supplemented sugar. Remember, even fruit juices are very high in fructose sugars.
- Brain: You know food comas? Those are caused due to sugars hitting the stomach and plummeting the effects of Orexin, a neurotransmitter that triggers your wakefulness, and when it plummets it sends your brain in to a fog for up to 3 hours! But you can fight food coma! Eat protein as a staple of your meals, which will combat the drop in Orexin.
- Mood: Researchers have found that if you eat 24 grams of sugar in one sitting (easy to do as that is about the amount of an average size candy bar), you do get a quick burst of energy, but an hour later have lower energy level and more stressful mood. How to combat that? Don’t eat sugars during stressful times when you need to be focused because the sugar rush will end quickly and you’ll end up more stressed in the long run.
- Pancreas: So you enjoy a daily Coke, sports drink, or even Naked 100% fresh squeezed juice goodness? Harvard researchers have found that drinking one of those daily, even just one, increases your risk for developing Diabetes in the long run by 26%!! How to combat this? Avoid daily sugar filled drinks, and drink high electrolyte, unsweetened beverages like coconut or maple water.
- Heart: Eating sweets is tough to combat, as it is ingrained and pervasive in our society. But let me end with this strong point. People who get 25% or more of their calories from added sugars have a 275% higher chance of death from Heart Disease than those that get less than 10% of their calories from sugars. That’s right, sugar in excess causes heart issues and heart issues are the leading cause of death in America.
There is no easy solution for the sugar problem in America, but by reading nutrition labels more closely, watching your sugar intake and keeping it LOW, and exercising… you can live a longer, more joy-filled life. Isn’t that what we all want? Take care of yourself, my friend.
-Nate Berrios, P.A.-C