Sugar is the primary ingredient in many delicious and popular foods. Regrettably, sugar is very unhealthy, which means that limiting sugar intake is an important part of living healthily. While it is difficult to resist the temptation to indulge in sugary foods, there are many benefits to doing so. Here are the six biggest reasons to consume less sugar.
Reducing sugar intake makes it much easier to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.Part of the problem is that foods high in sugar tend to be rich in fat as well. Plus, sugar has lots of fructose, which can only be metabolized by the liver. If more than a small amount of fructose is consumed, it is mostly turned into stored fat. Even worse, fructose encourages overeating since it contributes only minimally to feelings of satiety and fullness.
Much lower risk for diabetes
Obesity is extremely common in modern society, and high sugar consumption is one of the chief culprits. Consuming sugar directly increases risk for diabetes by harming the liver, thereby promoting insulin resistance and fatty liver. These effects in turn disrupt insulin production in the pancreas. Plus, high sugar consumption can contribute to obesity, which in turn greatly increases risk for diabetes.
Sugar provides no benefits
Sugar is nutritionally worthless, providing the body with none of the nutrients required for functioning. Sugar contains absolutely no vitamins and minerals -- it is literally nothing but empty calories. While foods that contain sugar can certainly have other nutrients, their sugar content only serves to make them less healthy.
Worse dental health
Eating sugar leaves a sticky, harmful deposit of protein and carbohydrates behind on the teeth. The harmful bacteria that form plaque and wear away enamel feed on this residue. Sugar consumption thus contributes significantly to the development of cavities and other oral health problems.
No 'sugar crashes'
Consuming lots of sugar in a short time causes blood sugar levels to yo-yo. After an initial sharp rise in blood sugar levels, a heavy drop off occurs -- the phenomenon known as a 'sugar crash.' The fall in blood sugar results in symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, hunger, headache, and sleepiness.
Better mental health
Eating more sugar increases risk for mental health problems such as depression. A nutritious diet is crucial to a sound, healthy brain. Sugar actually damages brain cells, ultimately contributing to cognitive decline. Plus, being overweight or in poor physical health can make people feel bad about themselves, contributing to mental problems. Sugar is used as a coping mechanism by some depressed or anxious people, but that is a destructive habit.
Sugar is incredibly unhealthy. Even worse, sugar can have an effect akin to addiction. While a person cannot become physically dependent on sugar, human's natural preference for sweet-tasting foods means a very strong predilection for sugar can be developed. While completely eliminating sugar consumption is not a reasonable goal, it is clear that strictly limiting consumption of this nasty carbohydrate is extremely wise.