Sugar is everywhere, but it’s not always a healthy choice. While some sugar is okay in moderation, too much can have detrimental effects on your health. Here’s what you need to know about the sweet stuff and your health.
What Is Sugar?
Before we get into the details of sugar and health, it’s important to understand what sugar is. Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that is found naturally in many fruits, vegetables, and grains. It’s also added to packaged and processed foods, such as cookies, candies, and cereals.
Sugar is composed of two molecules: glucose and fructose. Glucose is the form of sugar that is used by the body for energy. Fructose is not used for energy and is stored in the liver.
Types of Sugar
There are many different types of sugar, including:
Table sugar: Also known as sucrose, this is the most common type of sugar. It’s made up of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose.
Brown sugar: Brown sugar is made up of small crystals of sucrose. It has a slightly richer flavor than white sugar and is often used in baking.
High fructose corn syrup: This is a sweetener made from corn syrup. It’s widely used in processed foods and has a high fructose content.
Honey: Honey is a natural sweetener made by bees. It’s composed of fructose, glucose, and other sugars.
Maple syrup: Maple syrup is a natural sweetener made from the sap of maple trees. It’s composed of sucrose, fructose, and glucose.
Sugar and Health
Now that you know what sugar is and the different types, let’s take a look at
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how it impacts your health.
Weight Gain: Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain. This is because sugar is high in calories and provides no nutritional value. Eating too much sugar can also lead to a decrease in the feeling of fullness, which can encourage overeating.
Diabetes: Eating too much sugar can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. This is because consuming too much sugar can cause the body to become resistant to insulin, the hormone that helps the body regulate blood sugar.
Heart Disease: Eating too much sugar can increase your risk of heart disease. This is because sugar can increase the levels of “bad” cholesterol in the body, which can lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
Tooth Decay: Eating too much sugar can also lead to tooth decay. This is because sugar can feed the bacteria in the mouth, leading to the formation of cavities.
How Much Sugar Is Too Much?
The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day, and women consume no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day. Keep in mind that this does not include natural sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Sugar is everywhere, but it’s important to be mindful of how much you’re consuming. Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay. Stick to the recommended daily intake of added sugars and be sure to choose natural, unprocessed foods whenever possible.