For years we’ve been warned about fat and how bad it is for our health. Luckily, more and more people are realizing the “junk science” behind those accusations and focusing on the true culprit at hand: sugar.
Sugar is starting to replace fat as public enemy #1, and for a good reason: this sweet, savory substance is deadly. That’s no exaggeration. This stuff really is that bad for you.
But why is this seemingly harmless substance so sinister? Well, it goes beyond its natural ability to balloon your waistline. There are actually other reasons that are far more serious. But while we’re on the subject of weight, let’s examine that first.
For starters, it’s the epitome of the empty calorie. In other words, it provides you with energy (i.e. calories) but it lacks the vitamins and minerals your body desperately needs to function properly. Now, on the surface, that doesn’t seem so bad. After all, why can’t you just eat your candy and get your vitamins and minerals elsewhere?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. In fact, not only does sugar not contain those much-needed substances you need to survive, it actually depletes your body of them during the digestion process. Stated differently, it robs your body of vitamins and minerals every time you eat it. Not good – not good at all.
But it gets worse…
With a glycemic index of 65 (i.e. a food’s measure of its effect on your blood sugar) this “granular goodness” sends your insulin levels through the roof. You see, sugar is toxic. And if you have more than a teaspoon circulating in your bloodstream, it can actually kill you. That’s right: your entire circulatory system – a whopping 5+ liters – can only handle a measly tablespoon of sugar before you croak!
Luckily for you and I insulin comes to the rescue. Anytime we eat something, the pancreas secretes it to push the sugar out of the blood and into our tissues (e.g. liver, muscle, etc.). And while that’s a good thing, keep in mind that insulin also pushes fat into fat cells. Furthermore, when insulin levels are elevated (as they are on a high sugar diet) it won’t let your body burn it off. In short, sugar – with the help of insulin – causes stubborn weight gain that’s very difficult to lose.
Alright, so it packs on a few pounds. What’s the big deal?
Well, aside from weight gain, you have to take into account insulin’s other effects on the body. Without getting too scientific and boring you with details, insulin can cause:
- Elevated levels of cholesterol
- Elevated levels of triglycerides
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
And on, and on, and on… Still want that cupcake (or Swedish Fish)? Now, that’s a pretty bad list, but we’re not done yet. You see, sugar doesn’t need its partner in crime, insulin, to do damage. In fact, it’s perfectly capable of wreaking havoc on your health all on its own.
Sugar has the ability to combine with proteins in your body to form “advanced glycated end products”. These are also known as A.G.E.s and the acronym is quite fitting because that’s exactly what they do: they cause you to age.
More specifically, these sugar proteins start an inflammatory process in your body that eventually leads to their destruction. Of particular concern, is its effect on collagen – a crucial substance for the wall of your arteries, your joints and other areas of your body (e.g. your skin – sugar is great for giving you premature wrinkles).
Given these facts, it’s plain to see why sugar is bad for you. And this is just scratching the surface. Now, if this article has done its job, you’ll likely be limiting sweets in your future. However, keep in mind that sugar is everywhere – not just in candies, cakes, or your cup of coffee. In fact, almost every packaged and processed food contains the stuff (e.g. ketchup, salad dressing, many low-fat “foods”, etc.).
So, if you truly want to restrict it from your diet (as you should) do the following: start eating natural whole foods while avoiding processed junk. And from time to time when you get a craving, reach for that treat. After all, it’s not realistic to stop eating sugar entirely – but cutting down will go a long way in keeping you healthy throughout the years.