Too much added sugar can be one of the greatest threats to cardiovascular disease. Here's how to curb your sweet habit.
Sugar has a bittersweet reputation when it comes to health. Sugar occurs naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy. Consuming whole foods that contain natural sugar is okay. Plant foods also have high amounts of fiber, essential minerals, and antioxidants, and dairy foods contain protein and calcium.
Since your body digests these foods slowly, the sugar in them offers a steady supply of energy to your cells. A high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains also has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
Other Health Risks
Some of the dangers of consuming sugar
- Makes your blood acidic
- Rots your teeth
- Promotes wrinkling and aging skin
- Raises blood sugar level
- is addictive
- robs your body of minerals
- contributes to obesity
- can suppress your immune system
- contributes to diabetes
- weakens eyesight
- feeds candida
Aside from the risks listed above, sugar can harm your body in countless other ways. Research shows that too much added sugar can: Increase kidney disease disk: Having consistently high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the delicate blood vessels in your kidneys. This can lead to an increased risk of kidney disease. Negatively impact dental health:
Eating too much sugar can cause cavities. Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and release acid byproducts, which cause tooth demineralization. Increase the risk of developing gout: Gout is an inflammatory condition characterized by pain in the joints. Added sugars raise uric acid levels in the blood, increasing the risk of developing or worsening gout. Accelerate cognitive decline: High-sugar diets can lead to impaired memory and have been linked to an increased risk of dementia.
How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Excessive added sugar has many negative health effects. Fortunately, simply focusing on eating whole, unprocessed foods automatically decreases the amount of sugar in your diet.
> Swap sodas, energy drinks, juices and sweetened teas for water or unsweeten seltzer.
>Drink your coffee black or use Stevia for a zero-calorie, natural sweetener.
> Sweeten plain yogurt with fresh or frozen berries instead of buying flavored, sugar-loaded yogurt.
> Consume whole fruits instead of sugar-sweetened fruit smoothies.
> Replace candy with a homemade trail mix of fruit, nuts and a few dark chocolate chips.
> Use olive oil and vinegar in place of sweet salad dressings like honey mustard.
> Choose marinades, nut butters, ketchup and marinara sauce with zero added sugars.
> Look for cereals, granolas and granola bars with under 4 grams of sugar per serving.
> Swap your morning cereal for a bowl of rolled oats topped with nut butter and fresh berries, or an omelet made with fresh greens.
> Instead of jelly, slice fresh bananas onto your peanut butter sandwich.
> Use natural nut butters in place of sweet spreads like Nutella.
> Avoid alcoholic beverages that are sweetened with soda, juice, honey, sugar or agave.
> Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, focusing on fresh, whole ingredients.