Why should you eat less sugar? After all, your brain needs it.
Yes your brain does need glucose a form of sugar. In fact, your brain would not function without it. Glucose is the sugar that your brain utilizes for energy. In fact, your brain utilizes one half of the sugar energy in your body.
Sugar (Sucrose) is composed of two molecules glucose and fructose. Your brain can only utilize glucose for energy. Even though your brain does need sugar for energy, studies show more and more that too much can also be bad for your brain.
In fact, in a study by Boston University school of Medicine found that people who consumed more sugary drinks had poorer memory and reduced overall brain volume (particularly in the hippocampus the area of the brain that houses short term memory.) They did the study with sugary drinks as these do not have nutritional value beyond the sugar to slow any absorption.
The authors of this study calculated that one to two sugary drinks per day was associated with 1.6 years of brain aging. More than two sugary drinks per day was associated with two extra years of brain aging.
This is the part I was astounded by –
For memory, one to two and greater than two sugary drinks per day was associated with 5.8 and 11 years of brain ageing respectively. Wow. This makes me want to not drink any soda at all!
Your Brain needs sugar just not added sugar and too much sugar especially fructose.
How Much Added Sugar Are You Eating?
Americans seem to have the worst sweet tooth in the world. We are at the top of the list at 126 grams per day consumption per person.
According the the U.S Dept. of Agriculture we are consuming 156lbs of added sugar every year. Naturally occurring sugar in our diets is that which we get from fruits and grains. The added sugar is in processed foods. These processed foods make up most of the American diet.
Consider that a typical diet is 2000 calories a day. The amount of sugar Americans consume everyday is equal to 440 of these calories. That’s about 1/4 of the daily calorie intake. The surprising part is that it is all added sugar.
If you could save 440 calories a day you would lose some weight I would say!
So it is added sugars that do you harm.
How to Identify Added Sugar in your Diet
Sometimes identifying the added sugars in processed foods can be difficult. Here is a list from Choose My Plate:
- anhydrous dextrose
- brown sugar
- confectioner’s powdered sugar
- corn syrup
- corn syrup solids
- high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- invert sugar
- malt syrup
- maple syrup
- nectars (e.g., peach nectar, pear nectar)
- pancake syrup
- raw sugar
- white granulated sugar
Also from Choose My Plate is this list of the typical foods that the American diet has:
- regular soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks
- pies and cobblers
- sweet rolls, pastries, and donuts
- fruit drinks, such as fruitades and fruit punch
- dairy desserts, such as ice cream
Too Much Added Sugar is Linked to Disease
Eating too much sugar can cause your risk for disease to skyrocket. Some of the diseases or medical conditions a diet high in added sugar include:
- Type I Diabetes
- Type II Diabetes
- Insulin Resistance
- Tooth Decay
- Impaired glucose tolerance
- Heart Disease
- Impaired Immune defense
- Gum Disease
- Fatty Liver Disease
If that list is not enough, then there is sugar addiction! Sugar causes a large release of Dopamine in the brain and because of this can cause a sugar addiction in some.
You Can’t Live Without Sugar
Sugar is good for your body. In fact, you could not live without it. The preferred type of sugar your body requires is glucose. The brain only utilizes glucose. Your brain cannot make glucose.
Your liver is the organ that produces, stores and releases glucose for your body’s energy needs. Every cell in your body uses glucose for energy. Insulin is the carrier molecule that carries the glucose into the cell.
It makes sense to me that natural sugars are more healthy for your body than the processed foods with all that added sugar. So don’t try to give up sugar altogether, but instead, eat your sugar strategically.
Naturally occurring sugars that occur in milk, fruit and vegetables are perfectly fine. No need to cut out dessert either. Just eat strategically and in moderation. After all, we can’t live without sugar!
Eating too much added sugar can be very bad for your body. Why should you eat less sugar? Too much added sugar is linked heavily to medical conditions and diseases like Diabetes and Heart Disease. Our brain uses glucose for energy as well as all cells in our body.
We all need sugar to live and it is best to keep added sugars in check. Read labels to identify added sugars and eat them in moderation. Eating strategically you can still have your dessert!
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