Refined sugar often lurks in seemingly harmless treats. But recently, and quite rightly, it has earned a notorious reputation. While it may add a certain sweetness to our lives, the bitter truth is that refined sugar can wreak havoc on our health.
In this blog, I’m going to tell you about the awful effects of consuming too much refined sugar and why it’s so important to reduce the amount that we eat for the sake of our weight, health and wellbeing.
What does refined sugar do for us?
To be honest, not a lot, apart from it tasting nice. The following points will explain how bad sugar is for us.
- Empty Calories, No Nutrients: Refined sugar offers no nutritional value whatsoever. It’s just empty calories that unbalances our diet and doesn’t do anything for us. It’s far better to eat whole foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
- Blood Sugar Roller Coaster: When you consume refined sugar, your blood sugar levels spike rapidly. This triggers a surge of insulin to manage the sugar. This then leads to an energy crash shortly afterward. So you need something to pick you up so you have a sugary snack. Rinse & repeat. This roller coaster of high and low blood sugar levels can leave you feeling tired and miserable until the next sugar fix. Unchecked your sugar cravings will get out of control.
- Weight Gain and Obesity: Excessive sugar intake is closely linked to weight gain and obesity. The extra calories from sugar have nothing to do nutritionally so they are easily stored as fat. And not just any fat. They get stored as visceral fat which is the type that forms around our internal organs. This type of fat greatly increases the risk of various chronic diseases.
- Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Consistently high sugar consumption will lead to insulin resistance. This is a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance occurs when cells become less responsive to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar levels.
- Inflammation and Chronic Diseases: Refined sugar triggers inflammation in the body. This can contribute to the development of chronic conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and even certain types of cancer.
- Heart Health Problems: Too much sugar is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. High sugar intake can lead to high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and an overall higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Dental Health Woes: Sugar is a prime contributor to tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugar, producing acid that erodes tooth enamel and leads to cavities.
- Addictive Nature: Sugar is an addictive substance. It causes the brain to release a thing called dopamine, which is a “feel-good” neurotransmitter. This then creates a cycle of cravings and overconsumption, which makes it really hard to cut back on sugary foods.
- Skin Woes: Refined sugar consumption has been linked to skin issues such as acne and premature aging. A high sugar intake causes inflammation and a process called glycation, which damages collagen and elastin fibers so your skin will start to sag and look older prematurely.
While sugar and sweet treats might be hard to resist, it’s so important understand the damaging effects that refined sugar has on our health and wellbeing.
From weight gain to chronic disease, damaging blood sugar levels and poor dental health, sugar has such a lot to answer for. It’s genuinely bad for us all and it’s addictive. So cutting down on sugar, or better still cutting it out altogether can only be a good thing. Yes, sugary food tastes nice but, like anything, your tastebuds will get used being without it and your body will thank you for it.
By opting for real food instead of ultra processed foods we can go some way towards living a refined sugar free life.
Why not join my Eat Better Feel Great (lose weight) membership where you’ll be given loads of advice, healthy swaps and delicious recipes to optimise your health and cut out sugar without feeling deprived.
It’s available to anyone who want’s to eat better but doesn’t really know where to start. Why not come along and try it for a month? What have you got to lose?
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In the next blog I’ll explain a bit more about the types of sugar you need to look out for and how not all sugars are bad for us and why sugar substitutes are just as bad as actual sugar.
So until then, take care.