October ushers in the holiday season with Halloween. It is usually at this time that we begin to relax our diets and indulge in more treats; we can hide the harmful effects with bulky sweaters, right? Maybe, but weight gain isn’t the only ill-effect of sugar consumption. There are many ways that added sugar affects your body, none of which are good.
- Sugar lacks nutrients. While it may provide fast fuel for your body, but it lacks proteins, essential fats, fiber…almost everything your body needs to function properly. This is why sugar is considered “empty calories.”
- Sugar harms your liver. When your liver is overloaded with fructose, it turns the fructose to fat. You can actually get non-alcoholic fatty liver disease from eating too much sugar!
- Sugar causes insulin resistance. When your body becomes resistant to insulin, it is unable to burn calories efficiently. Moreover, insulin resistance is linked to obesity, heart disease, and type II diabetes.
- Sugar is addictive. When we eat sugar, dopamine is released, giving us that “feel good” sensation. This is one of the reasons so many people stress eat; when they indulge in foods with added sugars (including pastas and other “comfort foods”), they actually do feel better. The effects are temporary, however, and just like any other addict, sugar addicts will seek more and more of what makes them feel good.
- Sugar is inflammatory. Inflammation is what causes disease. When you eat inflammatory foods such as sugar, white flour, and fried dishes, your body goes and stays on high-alert. With no “off” button, inflammation can lead to IBS, depression, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases, among others.
All of the above apply to added sugars. Sugar that occurs naturally in fruits are less harmful because they are accompanied by fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are delivered by each juicy bite. If you stick to natural sugars and avoid the added sugar and processed products, your body will thank you.