Why Sugar Is Bad for You
It should come as no surprise that most people like sugar. However, what may come as a surprise is how sugar can negatively affect your body. As a result, it’s important to learn more about what you’re eating and how it impacts your health. Here’s what you need to know:
Is Sugar Really That Bad for You?
It seems like everything is “bad” for you these days for one reason or another. But is this really the case with sugar? The truth is it depends. There are natural sugars that your body needs in order to properly function. For instance, most fruits contain natural sugars. At the same time, a majority of food items contain added sugars — which is where sugar starts to become problematic.
Let’s go back to the fruit example. You should be eating fruits on a daily basis as part of a healthy diet. On the other hand, people often consume things like fruit juices, canned fruit, and even gummies to get their fruit for the day. However, these items likely contain added and artificial sugars that are doing more harm than good.
But Why Is Sugar Bad for You?
There are so many reasons why sugar is bad for you, however, it all comes down to how it affects different bodily systems and organs. Here’s a quick breakdown to help give you a better understanding of how sugar can affect different areas of your body:
- Brain: Sugar activates the dopamine signals in your brain — making you feel good when you eat it and also contributing to poor eating habits since healthy fruits and veggies don’t make you feel the same way
- Mood: Sugar gives you a quick burst of energy that doesn’t last for long. Once the sugar has run its course in your body, you will likely experience a sugar crash — feeling jittery and anxious as a result.
- Teeth: Sugar can lead to dental problems since the bacteria that cause cavities love to eat it as much as you do! In addition to cavities, sugar can also contribute to gum disease and eventual tooth loss if you’re not careful.
- Skin: Sugar doesn’t just affect the inside of your body, but it also affects the outside through your skin. Sugar can damage collagen and elastin proteins in your skin that keep your skin healthy and youthful — potentially contributing to signs of premature aging like fine lines and wrinkles.
- Heart: Sugar can eventually end up blocking your arteries over time. This can then lead to heart disease which can cause things like heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and heart failure.
- Liver: Sugars like fructose are processed in the liver — large amounts of which can build up into fat and damage the liver through non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD.
- Pancreas: Sugar can eventually cause your pancreas to break down and stop producing insulin properly — leading to type 2 diabetes.
- Weight: Sugar can lead to weight gain since it inflames fat cells in the body and causes them to release chemicals that increase your weight.
How to Check for Sugar in Your Food
Reading nutrition labels on food products can be confusing if you don’t know what to look for. This is especially true when it comes to sugar since it often comes with a lot of different names that may not even sound like sugar! To avoid getting duped by food companies looking to hide sugar in their products, here are some of the different names and ingredients to be on the lookout for when buying food:
- Syrup sugar molecules ending in “ose,” for example dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, and sucrose
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Corn syrup
- Corn sweetener
- Fruit juice concentrates
When reading nutrition labels, you also need to pay close attention to the amounts of sugars in the food products. Oftentimes, sugar content is listed in grams, which can be hard to visualize. This is especially true when you take serving sizes into account. While a food item may only have a few grams of sugar per serving, the serving size might be incredibly small — making it likely that you will actually consume two to three times that amount.
Healthy Alternatives to Sugar
Now that you know why sugar is bad for you, you’re probably wondering if there are any healthy alternatives out there to help satisfy your sweet tooth without harming your body in the process. At the same time, it's important not to go “cold turkey” when it comes to sugar since this approach isn’t sustainable and is really just setting you up for failure. The good news is that there are healthy sugar alternatives out there to help you indulge in sweet treats in moderation.
When it comes to sugar substitutes, there are four different kinds: artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, novel sweeteners, and natural sweeteners.
- Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes that pack a lot of flavor in a small package.
- Sugar alcohols occur naturally in certain fruits and have zero glycemic impact
- Novel sweeteners are generally derived from natural sources but are highly refined during the production process.
- Natural sweeteners are naturally occurring substances that may taste even better than sugar although they may also be high in calories
Here are some examples of some different variations of each:
- Artificial sweeteners include Splenda (sucralose), Sweet One (acesulfame K), and Sweet N’Low (saccharin)
- Sugar alcohols include xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol, maltitol, and mannitol
- Novel sweeteners include monk fruit extracts and stevia extracts
- Natural sweeteners include maple syrup, date paste, honey, and agave nectar
Wrap Up on the Harmful Effects of Sugar
So before you swear off sweets completely, consider a healthier alternative! Bougie Bakes creates sugar-free desserts using the sugar alcohol erythritol. As a result, these sugar-free cookies, brownies, and muffins are better for your health. Not only that, but all of our Bougie Bakes products are dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and non-GMO — we even have vegan-friendly options to try. Try them all with one of our Bougie Bundles and end your toxic relationship with sugar for good!