Unless you’ve been living under a stone for the last few years, you can’t have failed to notice that sugar is really bad for you. Seriously. Step-away-from-the-cupcakes-or-risk-your-life-kind of dangerous. Well, almost. It’s certainly been conclusively proven to be the single thing that’s going to make you fat. Not fat, as we’d always been told. Sugar. Eat too much sugar and you will get fat. Simple.
There's more bad news...
HERE’S HOW THAT SUGAR THING WORKS
It’s all to do with blood sugar balance. Keep your blood sugar stable and your weight stays stable. Blood sugar that see-saws because you’re eating too much sugar leads to weight gain.
In a nutshell, many foods (like potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, snacks, cakes and biscuits, fruit and vegetables, etc.) are broken down into sugars so that the body can use them as fuel. Refined carbs (like sugary foods and snacks) and starchy veg and other carbs (like potatoes, white rice, white pasta, etc.) are broken down to release a lot of sugar very quickly into your blood. Your body only needs about a teaspoon of sugar at any one time, so it tells your liver to release a hormone called insulin to take the excess sugar away and store it for future use. It stores this excess sugar as fat. That’s right, the more refined, sugary or starchy foods you eat, the more your body stores fat because it simply can’t cope with all that sugar circulating in your blood. Put simply, the more your body is required to keep pumping out the insulin, the more weight you are going to put on.
The double whammy here is that there’s also evidence to suggest that fructose (the kind of sugar found in soft drinks, yoghurts and some cereals and cereal bars, and condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise) doesn’t make your brain register it’s full in the same way it does with other foods. So you end up eating more and more to get that fuller feeling. You see where we’re going with this…
BUT WAIT, THERE’S SOME GOOD NEWS…
Actually, there isn’t, I’m afraid. Sorry to burst that bubble. Sugar is the only foodstuff with no upside. There are no essential nutrients hidden inside. No proteins, fats, vitamins or minerals. Just empty calories.
And there’s more bad news. Because, when you eat a lot of sugar, your body is required to keep on pumping out the hormone insulin to keep your blood sugar stable, you can soon end up with insulin resistance, the stepping-stone to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. What happens is the body’s cells lose the ability to recognise insulin, forcing your pancreas to make more and more insulin until – guess what – the pancreas gets so overworked it just can’t do the job properly any more. Hello, diabetes.
SUGAR & CANCER
Hold onto your trousers because there’s yet more bad news. Scientists now believe sugar is implicated in the development and spread of cancer. That’s because constantly elevated insulin levels may contribute to the development of cancer and this hormone may also fuel its growth. Further studies show that the inflammation that eating too much sugar causes, may also fan the fires.
SUGAR & YOUR LIVER
Eating a lot of sugar (in the form of fructose, the kind found in soft drinks, yoghurts and some cereals and cereal bars, and condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise) can also damage your liver. That’s because the liver is the organ that has to process the fructose, and too much fructose overloads the liver, forcing it to store it as fat.
SUGAR & HEART DISEASE
Eating fat has historically been blamed for causing heart disease but now scientists believe the real culprit may be sugar. Studies show large amounts of sugar (in the form of fructose) can raise triglycerides (fats) and LDL cholesterol (aka bad cholesterol) in the blood as well as oxidizing LDL cholesterol (and that’s really bad news). All this on top of the fact it pushes up blood glucose and insulin levels and makes you gain weight – and all of these factors are linked to heart disease in their own right. Women who have gone through the menopause are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease so, if you fall into this category, take care.
SUGAR & TEETH
The dentist was right; sugar is bad for your teeth, providing energy for the bad bacteria in your mouth.
TAKEAWAY POINTS Sugar is sure to knock your hormones out of balance, which is disastrous for women whatever your age. Suddenly that jam doughnut is not looking so tasty…
Sorry about that folks...
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