Till some years ago, the mantra of many nutritionists was to say no to carbohydrates. However, these days the emphasis on no-carbs has reduced. And sugar has become the new forbidden food. Supermarkets offer sugar-free products and sweet shops and patisseries offer sugar-free dessert options. So is sugar really this bad for our health? But our ancestors always had sugar, didn’t they? So what went wrong…..or may we say what changed over the years?
Sugar is not poison but too much of anything is never good for you. We must treat sugar like a treat rather than an everyday necessity.
We can control the sugar we consume on a daily basis consciously. But many times we tend to eat sugar without even realising it. Packaged food is one such culprit which makes us do this. All processed food and food at fast food chains contains high amounts of sugar. Surprisingly, the things you assume will be loaded with sugar do not cause much harm. An original glazed doughnut from a popular donut chain contains only 10gms of sugar as compared to a chocolate chip cookie which is 19 gms. And both of these are much less than a glass of packaged orange juice, which has 25 gms of sugar.
Even when you think you are going to indulge in a sugary treat, you may end up consuming less sugar than you realise. A serving of high quality ice-cream has only 16 gms of sugar. But if you decide to order a fancy coffee you might end up having 58 gms of sugar. We are highly mistaken that savoury foods are free of sugar. Canned baked beans usually contain vast amounts of sugar. So do the so called healthy salads at restaurants – some are loaded with 45 gms of sugar.
The best way to watch sugar intake is to eat fresh and local. Say no to indulgent coffees and avoid eating at fast food outlets. Cooking simple meals at home is much healthier than depending on store bought canned, processed or packaged foods. And if cooking at home is an issue, there are many options available now a days to order healthy homemade tiffin meals.
How foods with added sugar are harmful:
- Added sugar contains no essential nutrients. It is also very bad for the teeth, because it provides easily digestible energy for the bad bacteria in the mouth.
- For people who are inactive and eat a western diet, large amounts of fructose from added sugars get turned into fat in the liver and may cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- When people eat a lot of sugar, it can cause resistance to the hormone insulin, which may contribute to many diseases.
- Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is characterized by uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells. There is considerable evidence that sugar, due to its harmful effects on metabolism, can contribute to cancer.
- As sugar causes a large release of dopamine in the brain, it can cause addiction in a lot of people.
- The way sugar affects hormones and the brain is a recipe for fat gain disaster. because of the effects of sugar on hormones and the brain, sugar dramatically increases the risk of becoming overweight or obese.
It is always good to keep a check on your sugar intake for a healthy self. Do avail of KDAH’s Executive Health checkups to keep a track on your health.