- Food and Cooking
The Other Side of Sugars
Sugar and Diet
The average person consumes an average of 25 kilos of sugar per year. Sugar and other sweeteners has become an integral part of the human diet that it is often assumed to be harmless and cause only problems to diabetecs. Few people know that consuming sugar poses several other risks to human health. Studies have proven that high consumption of sucrose and food with fructose may lead to acquiring complex diseases not limited to diabetes, dental decay, heart diseases, cancer and also obesity.
Benefits of Sugar
In earlier times, sugar used to be considered healthy and beneficial since refined sugar and sugar substitutes were not yet in existence. People back then used sugar in its raw and simple form, unlike the bleached and refined version that is often seen today.
Sugar in its simple natural form is referred to as simple sugars often found in fruits and vegetables. It is a big question when man shifted from the use of of this raw sugar to its bleached sister. Refined or white sugar, otherwise called sucrose, refers to sugar which is already treated with chemicals and stripped of natural fibers, vitamins and minerals that are most essential for the human body.
Raw and brown sugar is sometimes called 'unrefined' often leave a residue when used, has been subjected to chemical treatment in the same way as white sugar. The most natural category of sugar, are brown molasses which is deemed to be healthier for human consumption.
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Sugar and Health
To trick people into consuming vast amounts of sugar in their diets, manufacturers have come up with sugar substitutes that are labeled as 'safe' or 'healthier' than natural sugars. Hence, the surge in the popularity of corn syrup, fructose syrup and many other 'fake' sugars and artificial sweeteners. These substitutes are no different than the refined version since majority of them are simply made from chemicals.
These days, people are consuming vast amounts of useless substance on a daily basis. When these kinds of sugars are ingested, the body only stores them as fat in the different organs like the kidney and heart. This is one major reason why these refined sugar and other sugar substitutes are called 'empty' calories because that's what they really are. Consuming them does more harm than good.
Dr. Price, a research dentist conducted an investigation and compared the effects of primitive versus modern diet in different countries. His study reveals the conclusion that people living under primitive conditions have more excellent teeth and health. This is attributed to their consumption of natural and unrefined food, including natural sugars.
How sugar is absorbed in the body?
When a person consumes natural sugars often found in fruits or vegetables, the sugar is then converted into glucose. Glucose is the only form of sugar which can be utilized by the body. However, when refined sugar and artificial substitutes are consumed, it is not broken down into glucose in the mouth nor the intestines. It often goes directly to the blood stream in its original composition. In this state it is easier for the body to immediately store this sugar in the adipose tissue as body fat.
Moreover, when refined sugar is taken with protein, another different chemical reaction occurs. Once a substance is taken together with sugar, fermentation of decomposition instead commences. As a result, bacteria is produced in the body.
When Sugar Turns Bad and What Can be Done About It
Imagine consuming 1-2 tablespoons of sugar 3 times a day, if one drinks coffee on a regular basis. Then add to this the sugars that is incorporated in the juice drinks, colas, cakes, and other sweetened foods. No wonder the world is becoming very obese. Obesity has become the number one problem in many countries now and not just in developed countries.
The use of sugar can be regulated to protect ones health. Start using unbleached and raw sugar when you go to the supermarket. Rely on plant-based foods for your sugar needs and consume more fruits instead of processed foods containing artificial sugars.
More importantly, use of sugar itself can be reduced. It might be hard at first but try using less sugar each day and the taste buds will get used to it. Eventually, the body will benefit and symptoms associated with too much sugar, e.g. sluggishness, upset stomach will soon disappear.
Eating more whole foods and fruits can help curb the addiction to eating sweet foods that are sugar-laden. Learn to let go of your cola-drinking habit as well due to its high sugar content. Minimizing dependency on sugar can definitely do wonders for ones health.