We all know that eating excess amounts of sugar can lead to health problems, but do you know exactly how sugar affects you?
Here are some of the things sugar does to your body, and why you should watch how much of it you eat.
It’s fine to enjoy most things in moderation, even “bad” things like sugar. However, humans may be biologically predisposed to crave sweet flavors. In fact, some experts think a preference for sugar might have given us an evolutionary advantage. The sweetness may have encouraged our ancestors to eat ripe fruit to get the calories they needed.
Most people don’t have physical withdrawal symptoms if they quit sugar, but the cravings can be hard to handle.
You already know sugar is bad for your teeth and can cause cavities, but did you know that your heart can be over-sweetened, too?
A 15-year study on sugar and heart disease found that participants who consumed 25 percent or more of their daily calories from sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease than people whose diets contained less than 10 percent added sugar.
The chances of someone dying from heart disease rose as the percentage of added dietary sugar increased, regardless of their age, gender, physical activity level, and body-mass index.
Calories from added sugar are “empty calories,” meaning sugar has no fiber, vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients. When you eat too much sugar, eating enough healthy, whole foods can be more difficult.
Perhaps surprisingly,sugar also has a negative impact on your liver.
Because added sugar is high in fructose, consuming too much can “overload” your liver. Our bodies have no biological need for fructose and cannot properly metabolize large quantities of it. The fructose then turns into fat, which can lead to fatty liver and other complications.
Too much fructose can also lower your “good” HDL cholesterol producing triglycerides, a type of fat that can move from your liver to your arteries and increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Negative health issues are from excess sugar consumption. You can still enjoy plenty of fruit, and refined sugar is okay in moderation. Also remember everyone is different — your personal tolerance for sugar could be higher or lower based on age, activity level, and more. As a guideline, the American Health Association recommends women consume no more than six teaspoons of sugar per day (approximately 100 calories) and men no more than nine teaspoons (150 calories).
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