It’s not the occasional teaspoon of sugar in your tea or even that scoop of ice cream you sneak before bed that’s doing the great damage. Instead, it’s the steady onslaught of sugar day in and day out. Over time, that excessive amount of sugar adds up-and can do real damage to your body. Here’s how.
Your body converts the carbs and sugars in the food you eat into glucose. Insulin is then released, which allows your body to absorb the sugar and use it for energy. When you eat a healthy diet, the demand for insulin is even and your pancreas can easily keep up.
Symptoms of insulin resistance include:
- Brain fog
- High blood pressure
- Excess weight around the waist
Sugar-sweetened beverages are a leading cause of weight gain and diabetes. This is especially true in women, according to one study. Women who consumed the most sugar-sweetened beverages-this includes sweetened iced tea, fruit punch, soda and energy drinks-were more likely to gain weight and develop type 2 diabetes.
Excess sugar consumption is one of the most significant risk factors for weight problems. Reducing the amount of sugar you eat in a day, as well as the total calories you consume, can help you lose weight.
High blood pressure
Butter, fatty meats and fried foods may get the brunt of blame for high blood pressure, but research suggests sugar is just as at fault as its savory counterparts.
Chronic overconsumption of sugar can lead to a condition called leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that tells your brain when you’ve had enough to eat. Your body is sensitive to that hormone and shuts off hunger cues when the leptin is released.
Is all sugar bad?
Fruit contains naturally occurring sugar, but it also comes with a bounty of other nutrients and fiber, making it different from added fructose from soda or sugar-sweetened cookies and cakes. Sugar-sweetened foods often lack any important nutrients. Eating naturally occurring sugar is healthier and safer, but even some people, like people with diabetes, may need to limit their intake of this type of sugar as well.
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