Have you ever tracked how much sugar you’ve consumed in a day? The answer may surprise you. Just because you’re not consuming cakes, candies, and chocolates all day long doesn’t mean that a lot of sugar isn’t still making its way into your diet.
Yes, there are some healthy foods out there that can contribute to some of your daily sugar intakes, such as vegetables, fruits, dairy, and grains, but these also offer several other health benefits that can help cancel out any negative effects. The real problem contributing to a high sugar intake is added sugar.
You probably already know that added sugar is bad for you (sugar, in general, isn’t exactly known as health food!), but did you know that it isn’t just found in desserts and snack foods such as chocolates, cookies, cakes, and candies? You could be consuming a ton of added sugar without even knowing it, thereby increasing your risk for certain health problems at the same time.
Looking to reduce your added sugar intake and reclaim your health? Read on for more about the impact of added sugar on your body.
What is Added Sugar?
Added sugars are those that companies add to their foods and beverages during the manufacturing process to extend shelf life, increase calories, or enhance flavour. You can find it in all sorts of products, from salad dressings to soups to cured meats to cereals.
You may be thinking, “I always check food labels and rarely see sugar listed in these kinds of products!” That’s because added sugar can show up under many different names. Look for the following next time you’re reading the labels:
Fruit juice concentrate
Dextrose, glucose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, etc.
What Does Added Sugar Do to Your Body?
Added sugar can impact your health in several ways.
It Causes Your Body to Store Belly Fat
When your liver gets hit with a lot of fructose, it responds by producing fatty deposits called triglycerides, which tell your body to store abdominal fat. Therefore, if you’re trying to shed some pounds, stay away from the added sugar.
It’s Linked to Diabetes
A high added sugar intake can increase your risk of developing diabetes. While diabetes is a manageable condition for some people you can die from it, so it’s best not to take any chances.
It’s Bad for Your Brain
One study found that when you have high levels of glucose in your blood, you tend to have reduced levels of BDNF, which is a compound that helps with brain cell communication. Low BDNF levels have been linked to Alzheimer’s and depression, which are both highly undesirable brain-related conditions.
It Increases Your Risk of Dying from Heart Disease
Researchers have shown that those who get at least a quarter of their daily calories from added sugar are over twice as likely to die from heart disease when compared to those who consume less than 10%. This may be because a lot of added sugar in the diet can increase blood pressure and chronic inflammation, both of which are related to heart disease.