High on sugar?

High on sugar?

addiction

High on sugar?

Sugar is something all of us love. Particularly, table sugar. However, consuming too much can prove to be fatal. First, let’s break down what sugar contains. Simple sugar is made of a monosaccharide like fructose, glucose or galactose. On the hand, table sugar is a disaccharide. This gets converted to glucose and fructose in the body.

Our bodies cannot make fructose but can produce glucose from the stored glycogen. Consuming too much fructose will lead to conversion to fat and since the process takes place in the liver, one can have a fatty liver. Sources of fructose include fruits, table sugar, added sugars and processed foods. Fruits usually can never be overeaten, but it’s not surprising to see people do that on fruit-fad diets, which include fruit juices without any
fibre. Consuming high doses of fructose can lead to numerous diseases like insulin resistance, diabetes, cancer and obesity.

Every living cell has glucose, without which survival is impossible. But sugar is
addictive; several studies attest to this fact. However, many would argue ‘shouldn’t we eat sugar for energy? What do you mean give up sugar, how will we live?’ The
recommended sugar levels are 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons for men and 25 grams or 6 teaspoons for women in a day. While almost all foods contain sugar in some quantity, it’s important to know how much is in there and curb on the intake, as we can become addicted to sugar quite easily.

As sugar releases dopamine, the hormone that makes us happy, we crave for more. If you consume large quantities of sugar, try to give it up now. It’s a condensed calorie and it will not fill up the stomach. Hence, it becomes very important for one to first figure out how much sugar they intake everyday. Excess sugar can cause inflammation, have adverse effects on your heart, increase your risk for diabetes and possibly cause kidney damage.

In moderation

Moderation is the key. In other words, consuming high-sugar foods and then adding an artificial sweetener to beverages is of absolutely no use. So, how do we reduce our craving for large amounts of sugar in our diet? Here are a few ways of doing it right:

Don’t let one night of fun ruin your efforts of cutting down on sugar. A party will end, but the cravings won’t.

Read food labels carefully before buying them. Choose foods with less amount of sugar. Preferably, 10 mg or less per serving.

Reduce your consumption of alcohol. This contains a lot of sugar, often called empty calories.

Avoid artificial sweeteners as these low-calorie replacements have a variety of side effects.

In time, you will develop a taste for low sugar intake. It’s a habit, which one has to work on. So, choose your sugars wisely.

(The author is a Delhi-based obesity, metabolic medicine & clinical nutrition
consultant)


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