Health issues associated with the consumption of sugar are numerous. Since refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup are two simple forms that are the most common additives in food, it is helpful to know just how many health conditions one is risking by eating too much.
Naturally, one of the big health issues related to the consumption of sugar is obesity. Refined sugar, and those in simple carbohydrates like white flour bread, account for most of the weight gain people experience after reaching maturity. Especially since level of physical activity has decreased among many in the Western world, and the level of sugar consumption has increased, it is definitely a weapon that will result in excess weight.
Eating sugar has also been indicated in raising bad cholesterol while lowering good cholesterol. Weight gain is indicated in hardening of the arteries which directly contributes to heart disease. Further, sugar definitely plays a role in developing some types of diabetes.
Sugar, particularly that in fruit juice, is also known to cause tooth decay. Consumption may also make one more likely to suffer from gum disease. Thus vigorous brushing of the teeth should always follow consumption of sugar.
It is though that sugar plays a role in how we behave as well. It has been suggested that excess may cause depression. It may also result in hyperactivity or mood swings as one drops from sugar highs to lows.
Recent studies also suggest that too much sugar can lower the body’s natural immune response. People who consume a lot of this substance are more likely to get bacterial infections than are people who avoid it. Sugar is also indicated in digestive problems, because too much can cause higher acid amounts in the stomach. This can lead to diarrhea, particularly in those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.
Pregnant women who eat too much sugar raise their risks for developing preeclampsia. In fact, pregnant women have their urine levels monitored for high sugar levels as part of their routine prenatal care. Many pregnant women benefit from avoiding sweets as much as possible.
Some other health conditions in which sugar may play a role include:
- Liver and pancreatic disease
- Premature aging
- Kidney disease
- Poor absorption of minerals
With so many health risks associated with sugar, it helps to have a guide on how to avoid excess. A few things can help. Eat sweet treats only occasionally. Avoid simple carbohydrates like white rice and white flour. Do not eat packaged foods, especially cereals. Read labels on foods to see which contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Especially avoid regular soda, as this is like drinking liquid sugar.
Though we can’t always skip convenience food, cutting one’s use of packaged foods in half and avoiding soda would significantly decrease sugar intake for many people. Given the health risks, it would make good sense to try to keep intake to a minimum.