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What Effect Does Sugar Have On The Body?

Updated: Mar 8, 2021

Here we are, heading into the Christmas period with thoughts of Christmas cakes, sweets, Christmas puddings, and vino. I think the vast majority of people I know like sugary foods, they taste nice, seem to be comforting at times of stress (or when watching Bridget Jones Diary!) and appear to give us energy – well at least for a short period of time.

Unfortunately for the people who like to consume sweet and sugary foods, I have bad news. The human body is not constructed to eat excessive quantities of sugar, especially in the form of fructose. Fact is, your body metabolises fructose in a different way to sugar - it is classed as a Hepatotoxin (and we know that toxins are bad – don’t we?) which is generally metabolised straight into fat. This causes a huge amount of issues that have a significant impact upon your health - heart disease being the main and most potent one.

The World Health Organisation believe that reducing the intake of ‘free-sugars’ to less than 5% of the total daily energy intake would have a significant impact upon a person’s health - this isn't just guesswork, it's based on scientific evidence and analysis. The body can metabolise around six teaspoons of added sugar per day – approximately 30 grams – however, research has also shown that in most European countries, the intake is three times that amount. That is a scary thought!

So what happens to your body when you eat sugar?

Firstly sugar/fructose causes an insulin spike which in severe cases can cause Hypoglycaemia (this is especially dangerous if you suffer from Diabetes). In normal cases it gives you the ‘sugar-high then crash’ that I can guarantee you have regularly experienced – you know, that tired, lethargic, seems like I have a hangover feeling.

It doesn’t stop there – an excessive sugar intake can lead to chronic diseases including Type-2 Diabetes, weight-gain – especially abdominal obesity, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and heart and kidney disease. In worst-case scenarios, it can lead to a condition known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NFLD) and is the most common liver disorder in developed countries.

So how can you reduce your intake of sugar? Firstly, don’t add sugar to anything – especially coffee. Just think that three cups of coffee per day with 100 ml of low-fat milk is a total of 300 ml = 15 grams of sugar, then adding one spoon of sugar (around 5 grams) in every cup can add up to half of your daily intake!. Always look at food labels for sugar content – especially the ‘hidden’ sugars, don’t use shop-bought sauces or dressings with food, make your own, it's easy!. Buy unsweetened foods, and don’t use products with artificial sugars or sweeteners.

The key (as with most foods) is to ‘eat in moderation' – except sugar, your body doesn’t need it, so there isn't any need to eat it! Think of sugar as a drug (after all, it is addictive) and wean yourself off it, slowly but definitely, surely!

Why not contact us today to see how we can help you with your nutritional planning and ultimately, your 'lifestyle' change?

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