Dangers of Sugar
Halloween is around the corner and you know what that means—candy! During this time of year, we go into food and drug stores and are immediately met with aisles full of large bags of candy. Halloween is one of the holidays where consuming a large amount of candy is “ok.” When in reality, this is not the case. Consuming large amounts of candy, or sugar in general, is extremely bad for our health. Now, while it tastes good, the effects that sugar has on our body is dangerous for our health.
In this week’s blog we are going to cover all the topics surrounding sugar; what is does to the body, good versus bad sugars, conditions that can develop from overconsumption of sugar, and more.
What sugar does to the body
Sugar, while it tastes amazing, leads to a ton of inflammation in the body. Consuming certain sugars can lead the cells of the body to undergo “stress” which triggers inflammation. This inflammation can lead to high blood pressure, stiffness, migraines, pain, and even an increase to other symptoms of chronic conditions that you may have. Sugar also likes to become tacky and stick to the arteries in the body, which in turn increases blood pressure and can lead to additional complications.
Good versus bad sugar
There are good forms of sugar. These are the sugars that are found naturally in foods and fruits. It is the added and refined sugars that become the problem. These sugars are the ones that bring in the inflammation, mood changes, and chronic disease complications. There are additional factors that you want to look at when choosing the best food option, but a good rule of thumb is to stick to the naturally occurring sugars. These are the sugars that are not added to the food, rather than already being composed of them.
Conditions that can develop from over consuming sugar
The two most common conditions that can develop with an overconsumption of sugars are Type 2 diabetes and obesity. When you over consume sugar that the body does not need, it will start to store it. This continuous storage leads to the buildup of fat, which can become the fat that we see on our bodies or the fat that lines our arteries. Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body produces insulin, but the cells are not as receptive to it. Type 2 diabetes is developed due to a person’s habitual choices and it can, luckily, be reversed if that individual chooses to change. More often than not, changing your diet and exercising can lead to the reversal or the decrease in the severity of Type 2 diabetes.
Alternatives to sugar
Artificial sugars are not the best option when it comes to a sweet treat.
There are plenty of additional options other than artificial sugars. You can go for the natural occurring sugars instead, fruits, veggies, and certain carbohydrates. You can also start to reach for the no sugar added options that way you don’t have to eliminate certain foods, just instead make them healthier. You can also use local honey instead of sugar. Another way to reduce your sugar intake is to simply cut back. It is a known fact that sugar is addictive and removing it completely from the diet can lead to some temporary effects. Therefore, reducing sugar intake day by day can lead to an overall detox of the chemical, making it more healthy for the body and less stressful for the mind.
How to combat the effects of sugar
The best way to combat the effects that sugar has on the body is to start eliminating it. However, additional ways to combat effects are to improve other areas of your diet and begin exercising. The long term goal is to experience weight loss. By losing weight you can begin to reduce the sugar and fat build up in the vessels, therefore decreasing blood pressure, improving mood, reducing inflammation, and maybe even reversing Type 2 diabetes.
These are just a few aspects of health surrounding the consumption of sugar. There are other studies that show the effects that sugar has on sleep, education, mood and more. However, the important thing to understand is that sugar is not ideal for our body or our mind.
Halloween does not have to be unhealthy, there are plenty of other snacks and “sweets” that can be given out during the holiday. Instead of purchasing large bags of candy, maybe try giving out fruit snacks. These snacks will still provide the children with a sweet treat, but just without the unhealthy sugars. Giving out these snacks can help them start making healthier choices early on. The future health of the children lies on the habits that we create and enforce- good or bad. Set them up for success with healthy habits for life.