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Why Refined Sugars Are Truly Bad For Our Health!

Why Refined Sugars Are Truly Bad For Our Health!





Do you know why refined sugar is bad for us? How does it harm our health? What is the risk of eating too much sugar? Does it raise blood sugar levels? What are the refined sugar alternatives?

Side Effects of Refined Sugars
refined sugars health effects

Yes! Today we discuss all of these and more about your health.

According to health experts, consuming sugar is the major cause of obesity and several metabolic diseases, like type-II diabetes.

Refined sugars are the artificial sweetening powders or syrups that are added to the processed foods, and beverages during industrial processing. They are also known as added sugar.

However, naturally occurring sugars are present in fruits, veggies, and milk. They are healthy because they present with other nutrients in the natural food sources.

On the other hand, added sugars are considered empty calories, because they do not contain any nutrients, such as fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. They only provide high calories.

Yes! Refined sugars are usually tasty, delicious, but cause various health issues. They are sweet poisons.

From the heart to the brain, liver to the kidney added sugars affects all the vital organs with sweetness.

Dietary guidelines suggest that calories from added sugar should not more than 10% per day. That means, if your daily diet consists of 2000 calories, then added sugars would be 50 gm, which provides 200 calories.

But in the USA, these sugars are responsible for up to 17% of the calorie intake of an adult individual.

From all aspects, these are very harmful. If you want to live healthier, and longer, stay away from refined sugars.



How to Spot Added Sugars


From cake to cookies, sauce to peanut butter, package juice to soda drinks, every processed food consists of refined sugars.

Even most unexpected products, like bread, crackers, ketchup also contain sugars.

You can find them on the ingredients label of processed foods. They have many different names, like dextrose, sucrose, cane sugar, malt sugar, raw sugar, invert sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HCFS), corn syrup, agave nectar, etc.

So, keep your eyes on the label before consuming them.

Side Effects of Refined Sugars
high sugary foods

Whatever their name, they are extremely harmful to us. So, the safest level of artificial sugar consumption is zero. However, some recommendations are present to consume.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the daily recommendation of consuming refined sugars in men is 37 gm (equivalent to 9 teaspoons) out of total sugar 72 gm per day.

In the case of women, the amount is 25 gm (equivalent to 6 teaspoons) out of total sugar 48 gm per day.

The general sources of added sugar are fizzy sugary drinks, desserts, candy, ready-to-eat foods, packaged fruit juices, tea, and coffee.

know more topic: Benefits of Drinking Coffee  


Harmful Effects of Eating Sugar


Whatever the taste, but the reputation of refined sugars are bitter when it comes to health.

They can cause several health problems. However, these sugars act like food additives and enhance the flavor as well as the shelf life of processed foods.

The side effects of refined sugar are:


1. Weight Gain & Obesity

The role of processed sugar in obesity is dangerous.

The rates of obesity are increasing worldwide, processed foods and sugary beverages are responsible for that.

Side Effects of Refined Sugars
refined sugars & obesity

Refined sugars are generally simple sugar, they instantly increase too much calorie intake, that does not burn completely through normal physical activities. Finally, the number of unused calories increased.

According to the research, every 7 units unused calories convert into 1 gm of body fat.

On the other hand, HFCS, and simple fructose increases obesity through another mechanism. They suppress the activity of leptin hormone*, increase food intake, and body weight.

Additionally, drinking a lot of fizzy, sugary beverages can increase belly fat.


*Leptin hormone secretes from adipose tissues and regulates the hunger center of the brain. When leptin is activated, it suppresses the brain's hunger center and reduces food intake.

In some obese individuals, the brain does not respond to this hormone, it is known as leptin resistance.


know more topic: Weight Loss Diet Chart

2. Fatty Liver Problem

Among various side effects of refined sugar, fatty liver is quite dangerous.

Excess consumption of simple carbs increases lipogenesis (fat production) in the liver. Fructose derivatives, such as HFCS induces lipogenesis more prominently than glucose.

Due to the excess lipogenesis, body fat increased gradually and creates an overload on the liver. It can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

A study of over 5900 adults showed that those who consumed sugary beverages regularly had a 55-56% higher chance of developing a fatty liver problem.

know more topic: Harmful Effects of Drinking Alcohol       


3. Risk of Diabetes

Diabetes is a well-known and dangerous metabolic disorder.

Refined sugars have a massive influence on inducing type-II diabetes. Sugar consumption through fast food and fizzy beverages promotes insulin resistance and increases the risk of diabetes.

On the other hand, the blood sugar elevation process of fructose is quite different from glucose. It has a negligible immediate effect on diabetes, but frequent consumption can raise blood sugar levels.

Side Effects of Refined Sugars
refined sugars & diabetes

Fructose and HFCS does not promote insulin resistance or blood sugar. They increase obesity as well as fatty liver, which are correlated to diabetes.

The excess lipogenesis creates stress in the liver, which leads to glucose metabolism imbalance, and raises blood sugar.

A study of over 175 countries found that the chances of developing diabetes grew by 1.1% for every 150 calories of added sugar per day.

Additionally, obesity due to the consumption of too many refined sugars is the potential risk factor for type-II diabetes.

know more topic: Top 10 Antioxidant-rich Foods


4. Heart Diseases

Another harmful effect of refined sugars is inducing various heart diseases.

A high sugar diet has been associated with negative impacts on cardiac health.

Excessive sugar intake increases lipogenesis and the fat particles come into the bloodstream as triglycerides.

Side Effects of Refined Sugars
refined sugars & heart diseases

So, the higher amounts of triglycerides in the blood raise the chance of fat deposition in the blood vessels. It leads to atherosclerosis.

A study over 30 thousand people showed that those who consumed 19-21% of calories derived from added sugars had a 38% higher chance of death from heart diseases.

According to health experts, high sugar diet linked to obesity, high blood sugar, inflammation, which further leads to high blood pressure also.


5. Risk of Cancer

Frequent consumption of too many sugars can increase the risk of certain cancers.

High sugar diet leads to obesity and inflammation in the body, which further increases cancer risk.

A study over more than 4 lakhs people found that refined sugar intake was positively linked to an increased chance of intestinal, esophageal, and pleural cancer.

Another study concluded that women who consumed sweet junk food, like cookies, buns, doughnuts more than 3 times a week more likely to develop uterine cancer than those who did not.

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6. Effects on Mental Health

Processed sugar can hijack the pleasure center in the brain, and create harmful effects on mental health.

Sugary beverages and processed foods are full of refined sugars, they usually tasty. But they cause a massive spike in the dopamine level. This neurotransmitter involves pleasure and boosting mood.

Side Effects of Refined Sugars
refined sugars & mental health

Too much sugar content stimulates the release of more dopamine and produces addiction to sugary, processed, junk foods.

On the other hand, high sugar diet leads to neurotransmitter dysregulation, and inflammation in the brain results in depression, anxiety, mood swings, etc.

According to a study over 8000 people found that men who consumed 65-67 gm of sugar in a day had a 23% higher chance of developing depression.

Chronic inflammation in the brain due to the consumption of refined sugars can lead to dementia.

So, keep in mind the side effects of refined sugar, and take a healthy diet, which can improve your mental health.

know more topic: Top 10 Brain Foods


7. Sugar Ages Us

Too much sugar in the diet accelerates the aging process.

Processed foods and sugary beverages promote skin aging and make the signs of aging more noticeable.

The reaction between excess sugar and the body protein forms a compound, called Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs).

AGEs damage natural collagen, elastin (both are responsible for maintaining a youthful appearance) in the body, and affect our skin health.

Side Effects of Refined Sugars
refined sugar ages us

As the result of collagen, and elastin damage, the skin losses its firmness as well as become dull, and sag.

On the other hand, refined sugars are responsible for cellular aging also.

Telomeres are the protective cap of a chromosome, which prevents deterioration and fusing of chromosomes.

The shortening of telomeres is a common fact of the cell division and normal aging process.

But high sugar diet accelerates breakdown as well as shortening of telomere and speeds up aging on the cellular level.

A study over more than 5 thousand adult individuals found that regular consumption of fizzy, sugary beverages was associated with shortening of telomere length and premature cellular aging.

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8. Cavities

Another harmful effect of refined sugar is cavities or tooth decay.

A High sugar diet produces small sugar particles, they settle in the teeth, which favorable for bacterial growth in the mouth.

Side Effects of Refined Sugars
refined sugars & dental cavity

These bacterial colonies lead to mouth infections, such as dental cavities, plaque, and gum diseases.

On the other hand, infectious bacteria react with sugary food content and triggers the release of an acid, which responsible for teeth damage.


9. Drains Your Energy

Foods with higher amounts of refined sugars quickly spike energy levels.

But, due to a lack of protein, dietary fiber, minerals, the empty calorie-rich sugary foods quickly follow a sharp drop in energy levels.

Side Effects of Refined Sugars
refined sugars drain our energy levels

The energy provided by a high sugar diet is less stable and leads to major fluctuation in the overall energy of the body.

To avoid this energy-draining cycle, always choose food sources that high in fiber, protein, antioxidants, etc.


know more topic: Top 11 Zinc-rich Foods 

How to Reduce Sugar Intake


As we know, refined sugars are really harmful to us from all aspects.

So, we need to reduce the processed sugar from the diet as much as possible.

If we can focus on a healthy, unprocessed, nutritious diet, then sugar consumption will automatically decrease.

There are some tips on how to reduce sugar intake:

i) As a soft drink, always consume unsweetened lemon water, seltzer instead of fizzy sugary beverages, energy drinks, packaged juices, etc.

ii) Try to consume whole fresh fruits instead of smoothies, and processed fruit juices with too many refined sugars.

iii) Try to reduce candies, ice cream, cookies, cakes, and other sugary junk foods. Also limit sauces, ketchup in the diet.

Side Effects of Refined Sugars
avoid refined sugars

iv) When you are on a weight loss goal, sweeten your oatmeal, breakfast cereals, yogurt with berries, instead of added sugar.

v) Try to stick with refined sugar alternatives, such as honey, maple syrup, molasses, erythritol, xylitol, and stevia.

know more topic: Health Benefits of Berries 


Refined Sugar vs. Natural Sugar


Making the distinction between harmful refined sugars, and relatively safe natural sugars is very important.

Sugars that occur from natural food sources, such as fruits, and veggies are healthy. Because they are not empty calories. They also provide fiber, micronutrients, water with sweetness.

So, the sugar content that occurs from natural sources is absolutely fine as well as healthy compared to added sugars.

If you want to lose weight, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, improve heart, liver, and brain functions, then try to stick with natural sugars.

know more topic: Health Benefits of Pomegranate  


Now, The Conclusion


Refined sugars create negative health impacts.

They can lead to overweight, type-II diabetes, heart diseases, dental cavities, and more dangerous health issues.

Consistently high blood sugar due to excessive added sugar consumption also damages the delicate blood vessels of the kidney.

According to some health experts, refined sugars raise uric acid, and may develop gout.

A high sugar diet can accelerate cognitive decline and impaired memory.

On the other hand, a hike in the blood sugar level increases androgen secretion, inflammation, and oil production, which further leads to acne development.

Added sugars spike calories, and fall again as quickly. The major fluctuations in energy levels lead to energy draining.

So, it is very important for our overall health, and long lives to limit sugar intake as well as processed foods, and beverages.


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