“Drawn to sugary treats like bees to honey, our generation is the generation of suicide bombers, ever willing to be consumed by the sweet poison.”
It is not a lesser-known fact that the oodles of white substance we add to our diet is an evil, but when have the facts stopped us from doing what we please. Smoking, drinking, drugs, sugar, we love the adulterations, don’t we? The Telegraph in an article, ‘Sugar is as dangerous as alcohol and tobacco, warn health experts’ have given names to the refined sweetener, as “Sugar is the new tobacco “ & ”alcohol of childhood”. Why are we juxtaposing sugar to alcohol & tobacco? Because it shows no mercy to the weak. Tying us down into its shackles, the addiction to sugar is more dangerous as it falls under acceptable social grounds.
Victoria Lambert in her article on Telegraph on ‘Sweet poison: why sugar is ruining our health’ states a study & say, “French scientists in Bordeaux reported that in animal trials, rats chose sugar over cocaine (even when they were addicted to cocaine), and speculated that no mammals’ sweet receptors are naturally adapted to the high concentrations of sweet tastes on offer in modern times.” The rising number of patients with heart diseases, diabetes and obesity is a major concern with scientist globally.
Why is Sugar Addictive?
Now that we have understood that sugar is addictive, it is imperative that we learn how & why it traps us. Toffee, candy, tea, coffee, milkshakes, syrups, sweets these are a few direct examples of sugar consumption whereas rice, pasta, cereals etc. are some of the indirect yet potent forms of sugar we consume on an everyday basis. When we consume sugar, our body releases the feel good hormones, dopamine & serotonin, which creates a feeling of satisfaction & pleasure. The pancreas release insulin to tackle the excess sugar in the blood stream. Once insulin has done the job, the blood sugar level drops drastically. In short, you first experience a sugar rush, which makes you feel good, then you go through a sugar crash, which makes you depressed. And you are once again ready to binge on some more of the silent killer.
Why is sugar harmful?
Furthermore, excessive consumption of sugar leads to metabolic dysfunction, where insulin stops doing its job as the cells become insulin-resistant leading to diseases like type II diabetes. Insulin resistance is also connected to cancer cell growth and many studies back this theory as a rise in insulin levels creates inflammation, which is one of the leading causes of cancer.
Our liver, also plays an integral role in balancing the sugar levels of the body, as it stores the extra sugar as glucose. This extra glucose is released into the bloodstream in between meal times when the cells need energy. When the level of sugar store crosses the bar, the liver converts it into fatty acids leading to nonalcoholic fatty liver. This, along with other problems comes knocking to our doorstep, gradually. These unannounced guests stay for a long time to wreak havoc; therefore prevention is better than cure.
So what does sugar really do with our system that it is extremely deteriorating because in the modern times, addiction is a norm.
To start with, how about we put it like this? Refined Sugar is a bag of empty calories as it has no protein, no minerals, no fiber, no enzymes and no good fat. In order to process refined sugar, our body depletes the bank of vital nutrients, it receives from other food substances. Macrobiotics.com, A UK-based site mentions, “Calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium are taken from various parts of the body to make use of the sugar. Many times, so much calcium is used to neutralize the effects of sugar that the bones become osteoporotic due to the withdrawn calcium.” From the teeth to knees, all the boney parts of the body suffer from the sugar mayhem.
Not to mention that the calorie rich sugar is a direct contributor to obesity, and is one of the biggest contributors to belly fat. Hindering the functioning of a hormone called Leptin, excess fructose does not allow the hormone (Leptin) to send signal to the body on how much food to consume. The body does not receive signals from the brain to stop eating, resulting in overeating. Over eating directly leads to obesity. Also, sugar is a storehouse of calories and it turns the calorie meter up for any food item it is added to. This gives birth to the simple equation of ‘Excess sugar leads to excess calories to excess weight’. If you fall into the category of weight watchers or the health conscious generation, it is time you took matters in your hand.
Apart from making us sluggish, sugar also adds to the aging process and makes us look older than our true age. It does not spare anything in its wake. From brain to cells, if consumed, everything is flooded with its damaging consequences.
Lastly, sugar is lurking in almost all processed food items with different names. Some of the names are barely malt, buttered syrup, carob syrup, corn sweetener, demerara, lactose, maltose, sorbitol, sucrose etc. In order to escape sugar, the only solution is, to increase the cooking time, read labels and change eating habits.
Image 1: Flickr creative common image by Marco Knuutila https://www.flickr.com/photos/markoknuutila/
Image 2: Flickr creative common by jeanny https://www.flickr.com/photos/jayangel/