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Excessive Sugar Intake Associated Risks & The Best Practices

Excessive sugar intake may be more harmful to your body than you think. And, it’s also important to realize, that various diseases that harm our bodies are a result of taking sugar excessively. After all, we have seen sounding warnings about the dangers of excessive sugar intake all over.

But, since ‘Ignorance is Bliss‘ all efforts and campaigns on excessive sugar intake often fall on deaf ears. As early as 1957, John Yudkin — a professor of nutrition at Queen Elizabeth College in London — argued that sugar — not fat — was the primary culprit of heart disease and other chronic ailments.

When people have too much sugar at once, there’s a large release of insulin. Resulting in hypoglycemia or insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, your body cannot properly absorb the glucose fast enough, which causes the glucose to build up in your bloodstream and liver.

And, for one thing, excessive sugar intake is affiliated with a catalyst called Fructose. Fructose, or fruit sugar, is a simple ketonic monosaccharide found in many plants. Whereby, it is often bonded to glucose to form the disaccharide sucrose. So, what is excessive sugar intake all about?

What Excessive Sugar Intake Is All About

Besides forming disaccharide sucrose, fructose is also one of the three dietary monosaccharides — along with glucose and galactose. In particular, regarding those that are absorbed directly into the blood during digestion.

On the contrary, when there’s too much sugar, the liver is almost overwhelmed to function well. And, as a result, it’s forced to convert excess sugar into liver fat. This process triggers a chain of events that eventually leads to insulin resistance and diseases associated with metabolic syndrome.

Men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories) of added sugar per day. And, as for women, the number is lower: 6 teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) per day. A component of table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup — in added sugars triggers your liver to store fat more efficiently, and in weird places.

Resource Guide: Visit The Land of Sugar to Learn More About Sugar

Generally speaking, you may have heard the term “sucrose” at one point or another — but what is that, really? And while it might sound overly technical or even man-made, sucrose is simply the chemical name for sugar. Always remember, good quality sugar is completely pure and contains no preservatives or additives of any kind.

Not forgetting, the simple Carbohydrates we know and love that are produced naturally in all plants like fruits, vegetables, and even nuts. And, of all plant types, sugar beets, and sugar cane have the greatest quantities of sugar. This is why they make the most efficient choices from which to extract sugar.

The sugar that’s extracted from sugar beet or sugar cane plants is identical to the sugar that’s still found intact when you bite into fruits and vegetables. That means the sugar we keep in our pantry, the sugar added to bread to help it rise and the sugar in sweet treats we enjoy in moderation is the same.

Resource Guide10 Main Disturbing Facts Why You Need To Avoid Sugar 

It’s also not good to forget about the sugar that’s naturally in peaches, almonds, sweet peas, and more. But, other many main manmade culprits can contribute to excessive sugar intake by the way of consumption. Suffice it to say, some packaging uses a color-coded system that makes it easy for you to choose the right foods.

More so, foodstuffs that are lower in sugar, salt, and fat. Look for more “greens” and “ambers”, and fewer “reds”, in your shopping basket. This means, that many products on the shelves today labeled as “food products” aren’t really “food.” One thing is for sure, there are many things inside these products and packages.

Something that makes them completely processed — even if its main role is to preserve their shelf life. Equally important, there are lots of different ways added sugar can be listed on ingredient labels.

Consider the following: 
  • sucrose
  • glucose
  • fructose
  • maltose
  • fruit juice
  • molasses
  • hydrolyzed starch
  • invert sugar
  • corn syrup
  • honey

In some cases, most nutrition labels will indicate and tell you how much sugar a food contains.

Always check for the following:
  • high in sugar – 22.5g or more of total sugar per 100g
  • low in sugar – 5g or less of total sugar per 100g

But, the nutrition facts label provides only a small fraction of the information. You have to read the actual ingredients to know exactly what is in the food or product. Most names for sugar will be listed as some kind of “sugar,” “syrup,” or end in “–ose,” there are some less common terms. Such as molasses, barley malt, maltodextrin, etc.

Something that we don’t tend to associate with sugars/sweeteners, more often. Other names include rice syrup, apple or grape juice concentrate, inverted sugars, evaporated corn sweetener, sugar cane juice, and fruit nectar, according to Susan Engle, MOE, RDN, LD, CLT, says. Added sugars are added to the food or product-like ingredients.

Resource Guide16 Foods With Way More Sugar Than You Realize

Meaning, that they don’t naturally occur in the food. For example, a 5.3-ounce serving of plain yogurt has approximately 10 grams of naturally occurring milk sugar (lactose). Whereby, the same serving of flavored yogurt has approximately 22 grams of sugar. Some ingredients that contain sugar are honey, molasses, and concentrates (think fruit juices).

Probably the most widely used food additive is maltodextrin, a derivative from corn or sometimes wheat. On one side, it’s commonly used in sodas and candy, beer, and light peanut butter. On the other side, it can also be used as a thickener in infant formulas or as a filler in a variety of other products.

Associated Risks Plus Best Practices

Just like many Britons, we Kenyans do eat too much sugar: 700g of the sweet stuff a week. That’s an average of 140 teaspoons per person. So, there is no denying that Kenyans, like many other Africans, love their steaks and ribs. Lamb, beef, or chicken — slapped over the coals on the nyama choma grill, prepped as kebabs, etc.

Or even soaking some meat in stews — are often on the menu of those who can afford it. Added sugars, such as table sugar, honey, and syrups, shouldn’t make up more than 5% of the energy you get from food and drink each day. That’s about 30g a day for anyone aged 11 and older.

Luckily, there are some excess sugar intake risk recommendations from the American Diabetes Association that you ought to know — thanks to sugar’s clear impact on the disease. Below are some of the dangers to consider.

1. Heart Disease And Blood Pressure 

But, the reality is that heart disease and diabetes are intricately related. For instance, heart disease and stroke are the number one causes of death among people with type 2 diabetes. In reality, accounting for 65% of those deaths. Added sugars cause excess insulin in the bloodstream, which takes its toll on your body’s circulatory highway system, your arteries.

Chronic high insulin levels cause the smooth muscle cells around each blood vessel to grow faster than normal, according to The Sugar Smart Diet. This causes tense artery walls, something that puts you on the path to high blood pressure. And, ultimately, this makes a stroke or heart attack more likely.

Sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. These unwanted invaders attack nearby proteins and damage them. Including protein fibers in collagen and elastin, the components that keep your skin firm and elastic.

2. Inhibiting Bad Cholesterol Buildup 

There is an unsettling connection between sugar and cholesterol. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that, after excluding people with high cholesterol and/or diabetes and people who were highly overweight, those who ate the highest levels of added sugars experienced the biggest spike in bad cholesterol levels.

In addition to dangerous triglyceride blood fats, and the lowest good (HDL) cholesterol levels. One theory? Sugar overload could spark your liver to churn out more bad cholesterol while also inhibiting your body’s ability to clear it out. Much like street drugs, sugar triggers the release of chemicals that set off the brain’s pleasure center needing more.

Over time, a diet high in fructose could lead to globules of fat building up around your liver. Not to mention, it’s a precursor to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease — something rarely seen before 1980 and adds weight. Surprisingly, a PLoS study found that for every extra 150 calories of sugar available per person each day, diabetes prevalence rises by 1.1%.

3. Its Addiction May Turn You Into A Junkie

And as they do with street drugs — like opioids and dopamine — most people may develop a tolerance for sugar. Meaning, that they need more sugar for a feel-good “fix.” In rat studies looking at sugar addiction, when animals binge on the sweet stuff, they experience chattering teeth, tremors, shakes, and anxiety when it’s taken away.

Realistically, excessive sugar intake may turn into an addictive behavior with devastating results. You know the feeling. You grab a chocolate candy bar, and with it, get that brief jolt of energy. Soon to be replaced by unrelenting fatigue. Science shows it takes just 30 minutes or less to go from a sugar rush to a full-on sugar crash.

This sugar spike-and-crash sets you up to want more sugar—a vicious cycle. To add insult to injury, The Sugar Smart Diet points out that sugar also triggers the release of serotonin, a sleep regulator. So much for an energy bump! The results of too much sugar — are dry, brittle protein fibers that lead to wrinkles and saggy skin.

How To Measure And Control Your Consumption 

Of course, there is no doubt that most people from all over the world do eat too much sugar. Technically, in this case, how much sugar is too much is based on an individual basis. People have various caloric requirements, and the carbohydrate and sugar content, to some degree, will vary. Based upon their requirements, health, or exercise goals.

The average person consumes about 19.5 teaspoons (78 grams) of sugar per day, which is about 2-3 times the suggested amount. The American Heart Association advises a limit of 6 teaspoons (24 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men from added sugars in a likely manner.

In reality, the biggest culprit that continually knocks sex hormones out of balance is sugar in all its many forms. Including all flour products, which raises insulin and creates a hormonal domino effect. Once you understand how insulin impacts other hormones, you’ll begin to connect the dots. Perse, about how excessive sugar intake can ruin your sex life.

Based upon these guidelines, we recommend limiting added sugars to 8 or 12 grams for women and men, respectively, per meal. On that note, before moving on, make sure that you read more about sugar disorder remedies in detail. That said, below are a few ways how to cut down on sugar in your dietary plan.

(a). Breakfast Diet

Swapping a bowl of sugary breakfast cereal for plain cereal could cut out 70g of sugar (up to 22 sugar cubes) from your diet over a week. Not forgetting, porridge oats are cheap and contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Make porridge with semi-skimmed, 1% or skimmed milk, or water. Usually, if you add sugar to porridge, add a few dry apricot chops.

Or a sliced or mashed banana instead — or you could try our apple-pie porridge recipe. Bearing in mind, that many portions of cereal in a breakfast diet are high in sugar. So, try switching to lower-sugar cereals or those with no added sugar. Such as plain porridge, plain wholewheat cereal biscuits, or plain shredded wholegrain pillows.

For a more gradual approach, you could eat sugary cereals and plain cereals on alternate days, or mix both in the same bowl. If you add sugar to your cereal, you could try adding less. Or you could eat a smaller portion and add some chopped fruit, such as a pear or banana, which is an easy way of getting some of your 5 A Day.

If toast is your breakfast staple, try wholemeal or granary bread, which is higher in fiber than white bread, and see if you can get by with a little less of your usual spreads like jam, marmalade, honey, or chocolate. You could also try sugar-free or lower-sugar options.

(b). Main Meals

Surprisingly, many foods that we don’t consider to be sweet contain a large amount of sugar. Some ready-made soups, stir-in sauces, and ready meals can also be higher in sugar than you think. A third of an average-sized jar of pasta sauce (roughly 150g) can contain more than 13g of sugar, including added sugar – the equivalent of 3 teaspoons of sugar.

When eating out or buying takeaways, watch out for dishes that are typically high in sugar. Such as sweet and sour dishes, sweet chili dishes, and some curry sauces. As well as salads with dressings like salad cream, which can also be high in sugar. Condiments and sauces such as ketchup can have as much as 23g of sugar in 100g.

This is roughly half a teaspoon per serving. These foods are usually served in small quantities, but the sugar count can add up if eaten every day.

(c). Food Snacks

Healthier snack options are those without added sugar, such as fruit (fresh, tinned, or frozen), unsalted nuts, unsalted rice cakes, oatcakes, or homemade plain popcorn. If you’re not ready to give up your favorite flavors, you could start by having less. Instead of 2 biscuits in 1 sitting, try having 1. If your snack has 2 bars, have 1 and share the other, or save it for another day.

Likewise, if you’re an “all-or-nothing” type of person, you could find something to do to take your mind off food on some days of the week. When shopping, look out for lower-sugar (and lower-fat) versions of your favorite snacks. Buy smaller packs, or skip the family bags and go for the normal-sized ones instead.

Below are some lower-calorie substitutes for popular snacks:
  • Cereal Bars:– despite their healthy image, many cereal bars can be high in sugar and fat. Look out for bars that are lower in sugar, fat, and salt.
  • Chocolate:– swap for a lower-calorie hot instant chocolate drink. You can also get chocolate with coffee and chocolate with malt varieties.
  • Biscuits:– swap for oatcakes, oat biscuits, or unsalted rice cakes, which also provide fiber.
  • Cakes:– swap for a plain currant bun, fruit scone, or malt loaf. If you add toppings or spreads, use them sparingly or choose lower-fat and lower-sugar varieties.

Dried fruit, such as raisins, dates, and apricots, is high in sugar and can be bad for your dental health because it sticks to your teeth. To prevent tooth decay, dried fruit is best enjoyed at mealtimes – as part of a dessert, for example – rather than as a snack.

(d). Food Desserts

Work out some ground rules. Do you need to have dessert every day? How about only having dessert after your evening meal, or only eating dessert on odd days of the month, or only on weekends, or only at restaurants? Do you have to have chocolate, biscuits, and cake every day? If you had this type of sugary snack less often, would you actually enjoy it more?

Less sugary desserts include fruit – fresh, frozen, dried, or tinned, but choose those canned in juice rather than syrup – as well as lower-fat and lower-sugar rice pudding, and plain lower-fat yogurt. However, lower fat doesn’t necessarily mean low sugar. Some lower-fat yogurts can be sweetened with refined sugar, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, and fructose syrup.

If you’re stuck between choosing 2 desserts at the supermarket, why not compare the labels on both packages and go for the 1 with the lower amount of sugar?

(e). Sweetened Drinks

Nearly a quarter of the added sugar in our diets comes from sugary drinks, such as fizzy drinks, sweetened juices, squashes, and cordials. A 500ml bottle of cola contains the equivalent of 17 cubes of sugar. Try sugar-free varieties, or – better yet – water, lower-fat milk, or soda water with a splash of fruit juice.

If you take sugar in tea or coffee, gradually reduce the amount until you can cut it out altogether, or try swapping it to sweeteners instead. Try some new flavors with herbal teas, or make your own with hot water and a slice of lemon or ginger. Like some fizzy drinks, fruit juice can be high in sugar. During whole fruit extraction to make juice, there’s a release of sugar.

And this can damage your teeth. Your combined total of drinks from fruit juice, vegetable juice, and smoothies should not be more than 150ml a day – which is a small glass.  Fruit juices and green smoothies do contain vitamins and minerals and can count towards your 5 A Day. However, they can only ever count as a maximum of 1 portion of your 5 A Day.

You could try flavoring water with a slice of lemon, lime, or a splash of fruit juice. But, watch out for the sugar content in flavored water drinks. Whereby, a 500ml glass of some brands contains 15g of sugar – nearly 4 teaspoons of sugar.

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That’s it! Everything to know about excessive sugar intake and the long-term risks and dangers. We hope that the above article provides an exclusive eye-opener to you or even someone you know. Especially towards limiting yourself to excessive sugar intake. But, if you’ll have more contribution inputs, please feel free to Consult Us and let us know.

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