Sugar is everywhere in our food supply. It can be found in processed foods, packaged snacks, fast food, sugary drinks, and even some “healthy” snacks. You may not be aware, but the average adult consumes 17 teaspoons of sugar per day or about 270 calories which is way more than recommended. Although sugar can provide a quick burst of energy, too much of it can lead to serious health risks. Here are the reasons sugar is dangerous and what you should know about reducing your intake.
The Health Risks of Too Much Sugar
Excess amounts of sugar have been linked to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and an increased risk for certain types of cancer like colorectal cancer. Studies have also shown that too much added sugar can damage the liver and increase the risk of stroke. In addition to these health risks, research has also suggested that high levels of sugar consumption can cause depression, mood swings, and fatigue.
Have you ever felt like you crashed after eating a sugary snack or a sweetened beverage? This is your body’s reaction to the sudden spike in blood sugar. Due to the spike in blood sugar, you may also experience headaches that can leave you feeling drained and disoriented.
Too much consumption of sweets also leads to tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth convert sugar into acids, which can erode the enamel of your teeth, leading to cavities and other oral problems like gum disease. Gum or periodontal disease has been linked to heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. Tooth loss is also one of the consequences of severe tooth decay due to excessive sugar consumption.
What Is Added Sugar?
There are two types of sugar: naturally occurring sugars (like those found in fruit) and added sugars (like those found in processed foods). Added sugars are not naturally present in foods or drinks. These are added during processing or preparation; this includes white table sugar and other sweeteners like corn syrup or honey. It is important to note that labels may not always list added sugars as “added sugar.” They may be listed under other names like maltose or dextrose.
An innocent “healthy” protein bar you grab on the go may contain more added sugar than you think. One 100-gram bar contains around 27 grams of sugar. That’s more than six teaspoons of sugar. Not because a food or drink doesn’t taste sweet doesn’t mean it isn’t high in added sugar. Cereals, condiments, yogurt, and seemingly healthy snacks can have hidden sugars. And your favorite ketchup? Yes, it can contain up to 22 grams of sugar per 100 grams. Sugar is everywhere, and if you don’t read the label, it can be easy to overdo it.
Repairing the Damage
If you have enjoyed sugar for years and have developed complications, there is still some good news. Research has shown that lifestyle changes can help improve the symptoms associated with chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and cancer. While these changes are only for managing the symptoms, they can still help improve your quality of life.
If there has been damage to your dental health, like loss of teeth due to gum disease, all-on-4 dental implants will reconstruct your teeth and improve your oral health. The all-on-4 dental implants are designed to replace all the teeth in a single arch, with four strategically placed titanium posts supporting an entire bridge. With these implants, you can regain your smile, speech, and chewing ability.
Unfortunately, if the consequence extends to liver damage, it may be permanent. Taking measures to reduce sugar intake and eating a healthy, balanced diet can help keep the liver functioning properly and help slow down any further damage.
Reducing Your Sugar Intake
The good news is that reducing sugar intake can drastically reduce the risk of developing these health issues. You can start with the will to change and commit to a healthier lifestyle. Recognize that there is a problem and that you are ready to change. Commit to these changes and follow these tips to reduce or eliminate sugar in your diet:
- Avoid processed food items.
- Choose unsweetened products or use a natural sweetener like honey or stevia.
- Choose carbs wisely: opt for complex carbohydrates like oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, and lentils instead of refined sugars.
- Limit your intake of sugary drinks: choose water or herbal teas instead.
- Check nutrition labels to understand the amount of added sugar in your food.
- Maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and other whole foods
- Brush your teeth after every meal to help reduce sugar cravings
By making these small changes, you can drastically improve your oral and overall health. A healthier diet will help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and aid in reversing any damage already done. So start reducing your sugar intake today!