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How Sugar Affects Your Health & Body
Carbohydrates are essential for the proper functioning of our body since they are the main source of energy. More than 90% of the energy used by the brain and other vital organs comes from the metabolism of carbohydrates.
The liver and muscles store carbohydrates in the form of long chains of glucose called glycogen, which at the necessary time, is transformed into glucose for energy production. Carbohydrates provide 4kcal / g and are available in foods such as table sugar (sucrose), fruits (fructose), vegetables, cereals and legumes (starch), Dairy products (lactose), among others.
While the intake of carbohydrates is essential for an adequate body metabolism, high sugar intake is associated with various pathologies such as overweight, obesity, liver disorders, behavioral disorders, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver, some types of cancer and dental caries. In addition, the consumption of sugars can contribute to the development of psychological disorders such as hyperactivity, premenstrual syndrome and mental illness.
Benefits of Sugar Consumption
Carbohydrates facilitate the metabolism of fats and prevent oxidative degradation of body proteins. In addition, the balanced intake of carbohydrates reduces the absorption of cholesterol, causing a decrease in plasma levels of this lipid, which helps to reduce cardiovascular risk in people over 50 years.
Carbohydrates are involved in the regulation of various gastrointestinal functions such as the maintenance of an adequate gastrointestinal transit and the development of a favorable bacterial flora which prevents the intestinal proliferation of pathogenic microorganisms.
Carbohydrates have an important structural function since they are a fundamental part of the formation of DNA and RNA.
Effects of Excessive Consumption of Sugar
Insulin Resistance & Diabetes
There are several studies that show a clear relationship between excessive sugar and insulin resistance. High levels of blood sugar lead to an exaggerated secretion of insulin by the pancreas, if this situation is chronically controlled to reduce their sensitivity to insulin which prevents the entry of glucose into the cells leading to the elevation of plasma glucose. The consequent overstimulation of the pancreas leads to a reduction or suppression of insulin secretion favoring the development of diabetes mellitus.
Currently, the role of sugar intake in the development of obesity is attracting considerable interest in the global scientific community. Several studies have shown that the excessive caloric intake due to a high intake of sugar leads to the storage of this energy molecule in the liver as glycogen if the glycogen reserves are saturated the ingested sugars are stored in the form of fat which promotes weight gain and development of obesity.
Anxiety & Depression
A trial published by University College London in the United Kingdom found that people who maintained high sugar intake are more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety. This is because sweet foods raise blood sugar very quickly but it also drops almost immediately. This sudden change generates stress in our body which responds by secreting hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can produce anxiety or depression over time.
Fatty liver is characterized by the accumulation of free fatty acids and triglycerides in the liver tissue, one of the main etiological factors related to this pathology is excessive alcohol consumption. However, in recent years, several studies have found that the maintenance of an unhealthy diet (rich in fats and sugars) is the main risk factor for developing non-alcoholic fatty liver.
Recommendations to Reduce Sugar Consumption
Adequate intake of sugar is essential to maintain a healthy life. For this, it is essential to determine the proportion of daily sugar that should be consumed in the framework of a balanced and healthy diet.
To this end, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends reducing energy intake from added sugars to 100-150 kcal/day, expressed in grams of sugar, corresponding to 25 to 37.5 grams per day (no more than six teaspoons per day).
Below are some recommendations to reduce daily sugar consumption.
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