Is it time to quit sugar?
Here are some of the most commonly reported symptoms of a high-sugar diet. Recognize some of these in yourself? It might be time to quit sugar and start looking after your body.
If you find it hard to quit sugar, you’re not alone. A study supports that the unstoppable desire to eat sugar is similar to drug addiction. Addiction works in a cycle of reward and craving. When you eat sugar, your brain rewards you with pleasure, but you are able to feel that pleasure again only by eating sugar. The more you eat, the more you crave and the cycle continues.
Sugar affects the quality of collagen and elastin, two proteins that give strength and elasticity to your skin. Sugar kick-starts a process called glycation which happens when glucose and fructose, two sugar molecules, bond to other proteins and lipids. The contact between these sugars and these proteins is what ages your skin, and high amounts of sugar in your body can quicken the process. Sugar also links collagen molecules together, which makes it harder for them to repair if they get damaged.
Sugar also impacts the storage of fat in your body, especially around your middle and internal organs. A study divided participants in 4 groups and assigned one type of drink to each group, including regular cola sweetened with sugar, diet cola sweetened with aspartame, semiskim milk, and water. The participants drank their assigned drink daily for 6 months and the researchers measured the changes in the participants’ body fat after 3 and 6 months. The regular cola group had more visceral, liver, and skeletal muscle fat, and higher triglyceride and cholesterol levels than all the other groups.
Tooth decay occurs because the bacteria that live in your mouth feed off sugar. These bacteria produce acids that break down two layers of your teeth, enamel and dentin, and cause decay and cavities. Old studies estimated that people shouldn’t get more than 10% of their energy from sugar, but recent studies conducted on a global scale found that the amount of daily sugar intake should actually be less than 2-3%.
A study found that children between the ages of 2 and 9 whose diet was full of refined sugar and processed foods were more at risk of developing chronic inflammation later in life than children whose diet was rich in fruits and vegetables. Another study showed that prolonged consumption of beverages with high-fructose content, such as soda and packaged orange juice, can contribute to gout, an inflammatory arthritis condition, in women.
Sugar-induced inflammation can also affect your digestive system
Sugar can prevent your digestive system from functioning properly. Fructose can contribute to leaky gut, a condition that allows substances to pass through the small intestine and enter the bloodstream. Fructose can cause inflammation in the liver by releasing inflammatory factors and has even been associated with colon, pancreas, and liver cancer. Sugar also affects your gut flora, the living organisms that reside in your intestines. Sugar can cause an imbalance in your intestines and damage your gut flora which causes inflammation and insulin resistance.