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Why is Sugar so Bad for You?

How can something so good… be so bad? In all honesty, sugar itself is not really that bad. However, we tend to consume it in excess and in place of healthier options, and that is what makes it bad. This includes artificial substitutes.

Sugars are the body’s primary source of energy, and they exist in two different forms:

1) Simple carbohydrates, such as table sugar, corn syrup, honey, molasses – even fresh fruits contain simple
sugars. On food labels, sugars are often listed as ‘-oses’ (glucose, sucrose, fructose, maltose,
dextrose, etc.).
2) Complex carbohydrates, which are found in cereals, whole grains, and starchy vegetables.

All carbohydrates are metabolized into simple sugars. These are absorbed into the blood stream, triggering the release of the hormone insulin. The insulin instructs our cells to convert the sugars to energy.The difference between simple and complex carbohydrates is that simple sugars are absorbed rapidly, causing blood sugar levels to spike. Complex carbohydrates take much longer to digest, making it easier for the body to regulate their absorption.

First, when we eat sugar, we eat too much. This does not simply apply to the those addicted to soda and candy bars. In general, most people get more than 22 teaspoons a day of added sugar, in other words, 355 calories. That would be 1/2 cup a day and far more than what is recommended by the USDA. Most people are unaware of how much sugar is in the foods they eat. The down side is that an excess of sugar can lead to skyrocketing blood sugar, heart disease, diabetes, cavities or—and this is almost a guarantee—weight gain.

Secondly, when we eat sugar, we aren’t eating healthy foods. Not only is soda, specialty drinks and fruit juice (which has high sugar content) bad for you, but many of you consume them instead of water or other nutritious options like green tea. Eating too few healthy foods is another cause of weight gain: your body isn’t getting the energy-packed, muscle-building, metabolism-boosting nutrients it needs. Next time you’re craving a cola, try reaching for a protein or meal replacement shake instead.

Finally, We trade sugar for equally unhealthy alternatives. Counterfeit substances tend to come with their own drawbacks, but people also misinterpret “sugar-free” as a green light to suck up soda, coffee drinks and other goodies like they’re going out of style. These “sugar-free” foods often have plenty of other unhealthy and calorie-laden ingredients. And the chemically-processed artificial sweeteners can be bad for you, too.

The most common sugar alternatives are NutraSweet and Equal (Aspartame), Sweet n’ Low (Saccharin) and Splenda (Sucralose)—and being FDA-approved does not mean they’re good for you. For one, your body doesn’t really know how to process them, whereas it can turn natural sugar into energy. There are other side effects, too. Natural substitutes like agave and stevia may be better for you.

In totality, natural sugar is not bad for you, as long as it is in moderation. Avoid over-processed foods and know that if you eat healthy, a tablespoon of sugar here and there is not going to harm you.

Sources: http://www.healthremedies.com; http://www.askafitnesscoach.com

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