Refined sugar (also known as added sugar) is hidden in many foods you may not expect, and may have negative impacts on your body. Americans have been continuously increasing the amount of sugar in their diets which is a contributing factor to unhealthy conditions such as obesity. Refined sugar is added to many foods, some of them that are even considered to be healthy options which makes it harder for Americans to see how much refined sugars they really are consuming. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends women consume no more than 100 calories (6 teaspoons) of sugar per day, and men 150 calories (9 teaspoons), the average American consumes about 355 calories (22 teaspoons). The amount of sugar being consumed should be noted, as our bodies do not need sugar to function and contain no nutrients.
Some common foods that are considered healthy, but really can contain high amounts of added sugar are bagels and cereals. They are also in processed foods and condiments such as ketchup, pasta sauces and salad dressings. Many people forget to account for the amount of sugar in their drink whether it’s a can of soda, glass of lemonade, smoothie, or in other drink options.
Excessive amounts of added sugar have been linked to several issues:
- High cholesterol: The researches of the AHA states that consuming increased amounts of added sugar may cause dyslipidemia, which is high triglycerides and low HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels.
- Tooth decay: Sugary foods is one of the main foods that cause tooth decay. Good bacteria in the mouth produce acid when it comes in contact with sugar, destroying tooth enamel. Added sugar in drinks have the worst effect.
- Obesity: Obesity has become an epidemic for years in America, is is steadily becoming worse. Added sugar in foods contain a lot more calories in small amounts, and overeating will cause a full feeling very quickly. Since refined sugars are carbohydrates, they are converted into glucose and unused glucose is stored as fat. This can be a gateway for diabetes.
- Depletion of vitamins and minerals: For refined sugars to be digested, minerals including salt, magnesium, potassium and calcium are taken from the body to regulate the pH of the blood and balance the intake of sugar.
- Depression, fatigue, and anxiety: This may be a result of depleted vitamins and minerals.nd minerals in the body. Mood disorders have also been caused by having high blood sugar and crashing later on.
- Addiction: Sugar, along with other processed foods can flood the brain with dopamine – a feel good chemical. This overtime causes addiction to those foods.
Avoiding foods with refined sugar or having sparingly is the recommended option – eat safely!