What Sugar Does to the Body and 10 of the Worst Foods for Added Sugar

Bill FlemingOct 26, 2017
What Sugar Does to the Body and 10 of the Worst Foods for Added Sugar

Have you ever wondered what sugar does to the body?

Sugar consumption leads to the release of hormones that your body loves!

The release of hormones leads you to want more sugar to continue to reward yourself.

Sugar has another challenge that is difficult to overcome.

It breaks down quickly in your small intestines and metabolizes into your bloodstream as glucose.

Excess sugar quickly becomes body fat. 

Your body needs glucose to survive.

However, just as too little sugar can negatively affect you, so can too much sugar.

Inconsistent glucose levels can affect your brain function and long-term cognition.

In addition, over time, too much sugar leads to metabolic disease, or even diabetes, that can cause many health problems and death.

Americans consume more sugar than any other country in the world!

How Much Sugar Do We Eat in the United States?

On average, Americans consume 94 grams of sugar each day.

That comes to more than 350 calories daily.

The average amount of sugar consumed by Americans reached it's highest level in 1999 when Americans averaged 111 grams daily.

In 1970, Americans averaged 87 grams of sugar per day.

That consumption is still much more than the recommended limit of 50 grams, or 200 calories, each day for a person on a 2,000-calorie daily diet.

The decline since the 1990s is a result of a reduction in the consumption of soda, but Americans continue to consume too much sugar above the daily recommended amount.

What Sugar Does to the Brain

The brain depends upon sugar to fuel its function.

Your brain allows you to think, remember and learn, and all of those functions are connected with glucose.

Your brain also regulates every process in your body with precision.

If you fail to consume enough glucose and end up with low glucose levels, or hypoglycemia, you can have difficulty paying attention and maintaining cognition.

Despite the fact that you need glucose, too much of it can lead to problems for the brain.

Too much glucose over time can lead to Type 2 diabetes and can affect your brain’s function.

High sugar levels can lead to vascular diseases that impact blood flow to the brain, ultimately affecting cognition, memory and even basic tasks.

What Sugar Does to the Body

As soon as a sweet taste hits your tongue, your brain receives an instant message from your taste buds that this stuff is delicious!

As a result, your brain initiates its reward system and releases dopamine into your bloodstream.

As that occurs, the sugar moves from your mouth into your stomach.

The body dilutes and digests sugar before it travels to your small intestine.

Once enzymes break down all of the sugar, it becomes two different molecules - fructose and glucose.

Nearly all added sugar originates from sugar cane or beets, which is equally fructose and glucose.

However, high-fructose corn syrup that is produced in a laboratory has higher amounts of fructose.

When ingested frequently, high-fructose corn syrup can be very tough on your body.

Sugar has replaced many other healthy parts of our diets in the United States.

The added sugar, fructose and high-fructose corn syrup turned into an increase in metabolic syndromes like Type 2 diabetes.

Sugar is one of the most dangerous substances for your health due to metabolic problems it causes.

What Diseases Sugar May Cause

The added sugar that Americans consume can lead to some serious metabolic diseases - many of which become debilitating conditions.

The effects of excess sugar includes several ailments and diseases.

1) Liver damage

When you ingest large amounts of sugar, it can have the same impact on your liver as if you drink too much alcohol.

Your liver is the only organ that can transport fructose.

When it is overloaded with too much sugar, your liver works overtime.

Eventually, this constant transport leads to liver damage.

2) Weight gain

High levels of sugar intake affects metabolism and your ability to control your appetite.

Your body fails to trigger the hormone that tells you to stop eating when you eat too much sugar, and that cause you to eat more and to develop a resistance to insulin.

3) Risk of gout

Too much sugar increases levels of uric acid.

High levels of uric acid can lead to gout, kidney disease and even heart disease.

Gout is a form of arthritis that affects your joints.

4) Metabolic syndrome

When you consistently consume too much sugar, it can cause metabolic problems like obesity, decreased HDL (good cholesterol), increased LDL (bad cholesterol) high blood sugar levels, high triglycerides and high blood pressure.

Diseases linked to metabolic syndrome include Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), lipid problems, heart disease, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and even vascular dementia.

Metabolic syndrome is by far the most dangerous outcome of eating too much sugar.

In addition to ongoing health problems, most metabolic diseases can lead to death if left untreated, and these deaths often happen early.

Worst Offenders (Foods and How Much Sugar Is in Them)

Most of us realize it when products contain sugar, but you may be surprised by how much sugar appears in everyday food products.

Manufacturers add sugar to make the taste of their products more appealing, and ultimately to sell more.

Take a look at 10 of the worst offenders of excess and added sugar.

1) Cereal

In some cases, sugary breakfast cereals are almost half sugar.

A lot of these cereals target children.

Pay attention to the sugar content of cereals, and take note of brands that have reduced sugar content.

2) Granola

Consumers perceive granola as healthy.

Many people use it as an alternative to breakfast cereal.

Surprisingly, granola has more sugar than a 12-ounce soda.

3) Protein bars

Again, many consumers may perceive protein bars as being very healthy, yet protein bars contain a lot of sugar.

In fact, some have nearly 30 grams of sugar - that’s more than half of your recommended daily value.

Often, protein bars are too good to be true, so pay attention to the nutritional information.

4) Soup

You would never think a can of salty, vegetable soup would include sugar.

However, a can of tomato soup includes more than one-fifth of your daily value.

Tomato Soup: 5g of sugar per 100g serving

5) Salad dressings

Salad is a staple of healthy diets, but all of your success can quickly disappear thanks to a salad dressing full of sugar.

Even light dressings like vinaigrettes can have large amounts of sugar.

Pay attention to your salad dressing’s sugar content, or make your own dressing with oil, vinegar and citrus.

6) Bottled iced tea and enhanced water

Bottled iced tea and enhanced water's are delicious, and companies often tout the health benefits of these products.

You may find green tea or vitamin water with labels that say they are healthy alternatives to caffeinated beverages.

Unfortunately, if you don’t look closely to the nutritional label, you may find that many bottles of tea or vitamin water include more than two-thirds of your daily recommended value of sugar.

Consider unsweetened tea or plain tea without any flavors in it.

Avoid flavored waters.

Instead of grabbing a bottle of tea or infused water, make your own tea or infused water concoction at home.

7) Yogurt

There are definitely healthy options for yogurt, but the truth is that most yogurts contain a lot of sugar.

Varieties that include a fruit mixture can contain up to 30 grams of sugar per serving.

That’s a lot of sugar for a small cup of yogurt!

8) Baby formula

For moms who are unable to breastfeed, formula is a lifesaver.

Unfortunately, formula is one of the worst culprits of hidden sugars.

The nutritional value of formula is presented differently, but you must examine the ingredients.

On the label, you may see that corn syrup solids could appear as the first ingredient in baby formula, and some even have more added sugars.

If you choose to use it, pay attention to the order of ingredients in infant formula.

9) TV dinners

Frozen dinners are very convenient, but they are frequently filled with added sugar to make them taste better.

Even “lean” varieties can include large amounts of sugar, some of them contain up to half of your daily recommended value.

10) Canned fruit and fruit juices

Fruit alone is a healthy form of sugar.

However, when manufacturers process and package fruit, companies will add significant amounts of high fructose corn syrup.

Fruit juice may frequently contain more than or an equal amount of sugar compared to soda.

Canned fruit often includes more sugar since it comes in cans with syrup as a preservative.

When possible, choose no-added sugar fruit juice options and fruit that is canned in water.

Ways to Limit Sugar Consumption

Sugar is not bad all the time.

Like most foods, you should just enjoy sugar in moderation.

The best way to limit sugar is to avoid food and beverages that are high in added sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Choose water over sports drinks, soda or fruit juices.

Increase your consumption of healthy fats like olive oil, avocado and fish.

Add foods that support digestive health, like yogurt.

Identifying Sugar on Labels

As you aim to reduce your sugar intake and live a healthier life, it is vital that you read nutrition labels properly.

In addition to the reported grams in products, sugar also has many alternative names like corn syrup, maltodextrin, dextrose, maltose, and even fruit juice concentrate.

Look out for ingredients that end in “-ose” on your food labels.

Is Sugar Bad for the Body?

Too much sugar consumption has some serious implications on your health.
Once you introduce large amounts of added sugar, your body continues to crave it.

It can lead to weight gain, and even worse, long-term health effects that may result in an early death.

Sugar addiction is just as bad as smoking or alcohol.

Added sugar is harmful to your diet and overall health.

Take steps to avoid these empty calories and live a more healthy life.

Consider pureLYFT as an alternative to sugar.

Just add a bit to your water and it’s go time!

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