We all know that sweet white powder called sugar, contained in all the sweets and cakes we like. However, sugar is much more than that. It is a sweet carbohydrate. When the body takes sugar in, it breaks down its components into simple sugars -like glucose- so it can be easily consumed.
Today, the heavy consumption of sugars can become a real problem, since many people rely on processed foods without taking into account the presence of sugar in it, increasing this calorie intake around 14% to 17% (depending on the age). Contrarily, doctors recommend to limit this carbohydrate under 10%. Otherwise, the consequences are diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases, which are every time more present in the international rates.
Nonetheless, this is just one of all the existing sugars. Besides adding it to a wide range of products, there are many foods that contain it naturally. Sugars can present themselves in many shapes and colors, from white to brown and from honey to syrup.
Types of sugar
Lots of foods contain sugar naturally, even if they are not sweet. The body reacts differently to each one of them and they all come from different sources. They are:
Glucose: Although this is probably the most important fuel in human cells, its excessive concentration in blood can lead to sickness and diseases. It can be found in fruits and plant juices, but some carbohydrates are converted to glucose during the digestion process.
Fructose: It can be found naturally in fruits, cane sugar, honey and some root vegetables. It is the sweetest of sugars and it is a component of the so-called table sugar.
Galactose: This type of sugar is not usually found in free state. It is certainly not as sweet as glucose but, it is a component of the disaccharide lactose, also known as milk sugar.
Maltose: The germination of certain grains can lead to its formation, being the most notable barley, converted into malt (the source of the sugar). It is formed by the combination of two glucose molecules. During the digestion of starch, it can be formed and broken down again.
Lactose: This is the natural sugar contained in milk. It is formed by the combination of a galactose and glucose molecule.
Sucrose: This sugar is found mainly in sugarcane and sugar beet roots. As it is formed from the combination of fructose with glucose, it can be found in specific fruits and roots.
Some Reasons NOT to take it
The excessive consumption of sugars can lead to health problems, not only the already mentioned diabetes and obesity, but also the following:
Several studies prove that there is an association between high-sugar diets and coronary diseases. The research bases its work on the fact that sugars can lead to high blood sugar, triglyceride and blood pressure levels, all three are risk factors for heart diseases.
There have been studies in which the consumption of sugar was in fact associated with esophageal and pleural cancer , as well as cancer in the small intestine. Another study found that women who consumed cookies and sweet buns more than three times a week were at higher risk of getting endometrial cancer.
Researches have proved that inflammation, blood sugar swings and neurotransmitter dysregulation are all reasons enough to negatively impact the mental health, which leads to the association of sugar consumption with the probabilities of developing depression.
If you are one of those who are always searching best meal replacement shakes for weight loss reviews, this is probably your way out of sugar for good. Sugary drinks are usually sweetened with fructose, a simple sugar that increases the cravings for starchy foods and resistance to leptin, a hormone that regulates hunger and satiety.
It is no secret that consuming high amounts of sugar increases insulin resistance, the hormone that regulates the blood sugar levels. If this hormone becomes defective, the risk of getting diabetes is strongly raised.
In addition, obesity or too much weight gained is the main cause of diabetes. In that sense, there is a double risk of getting the chronical disease when including too much sugar in your diet.
And much more
The elevated consumption of sugar can lead to many more problems, including but not limited to gout, skin aging process acceleration, fatty liver, kidney diseases, cellular aging increase, cognitive decline, bad dental health, among many others.
Sugar is necessary for our bodies. However, it is important to be aware of the sugar consumption to avoid problems on the long-term. There are many reasons not to take too much sweet. In addition, there are processed foods and products that contain sugar and you probably did not know, be aware of it. Try to measure your sugar intake throughout the day so it does not become a problem later.