is sugar bad for you

Is Sugar Bad For You?

Do you usually eat a lot of sugar, and are you worried about its impacts on your health? There are several myths surrounding sugar consumption, and many people do not know the science behind it.

Thus, in today’s article, we will explain what types of sugars are, the recommended daily consumption, and the impacts of excessive consumption of sweet foods.

Read other health articles below:

What Happens When We Eat Sugar?

During the digestive process, almost all the sugar is transformed into glucose (glycemia), which is the primary energy source for the human body. When the glycemic index rises, your pancreas releases insulin, the hormone responsible for delivering glucose from the blood to the cells.

Why do We Gain Weight when We Eat Sugar?

In short, insulin production is proportional to blood glucose levels, but there is a limit. When we overeat sugar, the body cannot produce enough insulin, and as a result, it cannot process all the sugar. This surplus can be stored in your liver, muscles, and fat cells until you need more energy.

This imbalance in blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) may still be responsible for causing heart diseases, besides blood, nerve and kidney conditions.

In contrast, hypoglycemia, or a drop in blood sugar levels, can cause confusion, weakness, dizziness, tremor, and coma and death in more severe cases.

How Much Sugar can I Eat Daily?

According to the American Heart Association, men should consume a maximum of 9 teaspoons (36g or 150kcal) of sugar per day. For women, a recommendation is 6 teaspoons per day – 25g or 100 kcal).

What are Simple and Complex Carbohydrates?

Now that you know the impacts of a lack or excess of sugar, you must understand how to classify them to know what to eat and what not to eat. Sugars are carbs, and carbohydrates are classified according to their chemical composition:

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple (or refined) carbohydrates present one or two sugar molecules – monosaccharides and disaccharides. One of its main characteristics is quick digestion and a rapid release of sugar in the blood.

Some examples of monosaccharides are:

Glucose: It is present in foods such as fruits, rice and potatoes.

Galactose: It’s a simple sugar that can be found in milk.

Fructose: It is the natural sugar of fruits. However, it is constantly used in concentrated juices and soft drinks due to its high sweetening power.

Sucrose: Also known as table sugar, it can be found in fruits, sugar cane and beets.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates, or polysaccharides, are usually high in fibre and can be made up of several simple sugar chains. The more complex (the more chains it has), the slower its digestion. This slower digestion causes the body to gradually release sugar into the bloodstream, providing energy in a balanced way throughout the day.

This factor makes complex carbohydrates less likely to be turned into fat, in addition to keeping you satiated for longer. Some examples are whole grain pasta, lentils, whole grain bread, sweet potatoes and oats.

Two examples of polysaccharides are:

Cellulose: This is mainly present in vegetables such as leaves, vegetables, fruits and so on.

Starch: It is also found in vegetables and grains, such as corn, wheat, potatoes, carrots and rice.

What Types of Sugar Should I Avoid?

First, it is essential to mention that healthy foods can have simple carbohydrates, just as some unhealthy foods have complex carbohydrates.

Therefore, simple carbohydrates that should be avoided are normally present in foods with low nutritional value – usually processed foods or foods with added sugar. In other words, sweets, desserts, sodas, some baked goods and cereal.

What Types of Sugar Should I Eat?

An excellent strategy is to consume more complex carbohydrate foods with high nutritional value. In this sense, wholegrain foods are a great option, as they are rich in fibre, vitamins and healthy fats. Some of them are brown rice, barley, buckwheat and oats. Other fresh food options are beans and fibre-rich fruits and vegetables, such as apples, bananas, broccoli, carrots and leafy greens.

Remember that you can also eat refined grains, such as white rice, white bread and white flour, but keep an eye on the calories of these foods. White bread and pasta usually contain sugar, salt and oil, and because they are refined, they are less nutritious and less satiating.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *