The truth about sugar and weight-loss.
There is a lot of confusion about sugar in the weight loss community. Some like to believe it’s some evil entity that leads to excessive weight gain, others claim there are “good” sugars and “bad” sugars. The reality of sugar is more complex.
Historically, sugar has been very difficult to obtain. Cane sugar first appeared in Polynesia and expanded to India before 510 BC. Sugar didn’t make its way to the Western world until the 11th century when crusaders discovered the new spice. As Europe continued to trade with the East, sugar began to be imported. It was very much a luxury in the developing Western world until only recently.
Sugar is a very efficient source of fuel for humans and other living organisms. Since it was so difficult to obtain naturally, our bodies naturally have a very positive response to sugar which releases dopamine in our brains. After exposing your body to increased levels of sugar over time, you open the door to increased cravings and increased tolerance to sugar.
Is your sweet tooth holding you back from your health goals?
A lot of people nowadays describe themselves as having a “sweet tooth,” but how deep does this run? There are a lot of negative side effects to indulging too much when it comes to sugar. One of the most common issues is developing cavities in your teeth. These can be easily fixed with routine dental treatments, but not all side effects can be so easily rectified.
Sugar is often stored as fat in our bodies. This means that after some time, sugar creates more weight gain and even obesity if left unchecked. Consuming too much sugar can lead to diabetes and heart disease as well as a weakened immune system.
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Because sugar is a necessary part of a balanced diet, people struggle to enjoy the right amount. Your body only needs a small amount of sugar to function properly, and you can even go days without consuming sugar without any negative side effects. Only 5-10% of your daily calorie intake should be from sugar, but most people consume over 35% sugar daily.
There is also a powerful difference between natural and processed sugars. Natural sugars are found in things like fruits and vegetables. There are two main types of natural sugars: glucose and fructose. Glucose is known as “simple” sugars and they’re usually found in carbohydrate-rich foods like mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes. These sugars are easy to break down by your body and they’re a great source of natural energy.
The second type of natural sugar, fructose, is also a “simple” sugar. You might also hear this called fruit sugar since it’s mainly found in fruits. This type of sugar isn’t as easy to break down but is still a natural source of energy.
Natural sugars are a great addition to your diet and should be consumed regularly. The problem comes from refined or processed sugars. These sugars, though once natural, have been modified. White sugar is a refined sugar. You’ll hear processed sugar go by names like sucrose or similar combinations. This type of sugar does not contain that same list of nutrients and benefits of the natural sugar.
Refined sugars are difficult for your body to break down effectively, which leads to it being stored as fat. Refined sugars can also negatively affect your blood sugar levels and leave your body feeling overwhelmed.
Recognizing the realities of the sugar you consume is the first step in achieving a healthy lifestyle. There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to consume refined sugar on occasion, but it should be just that: an occasion. There are so many ways to include natural sugar in your diet, your body doesn’t have any need for the processed versions.
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