Peter Bravo

Dev Marketing - Dev Marketing
London - United Kingdom

    The Shocking Truth About Sucrose: What the Sugar Industry Isn't Telling You

    October 26, 2016

    If you eat a typical Western diet, you’re probably eating too much sugar. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that sugar should be about 10% of your total calorie intake, at most. That means that if you’re eating a 2000 calorie diet, only 200 calories of that should be sugar.

    You’re probably thinking, “No, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. Not me.” But you might be wrong. If you drink soda every day, it’s almost guaranteed that you’re consuming too much refined sugar. A single can of soda has around 35 grams of sugar and 140 calories, or 7% of your total calorie intake. This means that a can of soda has already gotten you close to your WHO-recommended quota and a full cotton candy supply. If you’re like most people, you go through a few cans without a second thought.

    Wait, is my three sodas per day, too much? Why haven’t I heard about this before?

    Historically, sugar was an expensive luxury until the 18th century. But today, it’s a massive multi-billion-dollar industry -- with a lot of lobbying power. Until quite recently, the health effects of excess dietary sugar were largely downplayed or ignored. Even today, it’s widely alleged that the sugar industry’s political lobbying efforts have been responsible for outdated and scientifically questionable dietary recommendations from government organizations.

    Until very recently, no one ever told you to worry too much about your sugar intake. Remember how in the ‘90s, you’d hear so much about low-fat this and low-fat that, but nothing about sugar or other simple carbohydrates? The sugar industry would love for you to think that way.

    Too much refined sugar is bad for you. Really bad for you. It’s bad for your body, it’s bad for your mind, and it’s bad for your appearance. Here’s what the sugar industry wants you to ignore.

    Sugar can be addictive.

    People get addicted to all kinds of things. You can get addicted to drugs that cause physical and psychological dependence, like alcohol or opiates. You can get addicted to behaviors, like gambling or binge eating. But did you know that sugar can also be addictive? The effects of sugar on the brain have been demonstrated to share genes and neural pathways with other, more well known forms of addiction, notably alcohol.

    In both human and animal studies, it’s been discovered that in some individuals (though not all), consuming sugary foods or beverages primes the brain for the release of endorphins and dopamine within the nucleus accumbens. This mechanism plays a huge role in the neurophysiology of addiction. This tendency appears to share genetic markers with alcohol dependence, bulimia, and a tendency toward obesity. By triggering these neurological processes, the act of consuming sugar can become an addiction.

    A lifetime of chronic sugar consumption can make you more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

    People today eat more sugar than ever before -- and as sugar consumption has risen, so have the rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Both randomized clinical trials and epidemiological studies have revealed a correlation between high sugar consumption and heart disease -- not to mention obesity, type II diabetes, and hypertension. Correlation isn’t always causation, of course, but recent research actually has suggested a causal relationship between sugar and heart disease. This relationship is independent of other risk factors like obesity and hypertension. Even after adjusting for typical CVD risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure, there still appears to be a significant relationship between high sugar intake and elevated risk of CVD. This suggests that the data isn’t a coincidence: sugar itself really can raise your CVD risk.

    Keep in mind that the paper linked above defines “too much sugar” as equivalent to seven or more services of sweetened beverages per day. That’s a soda per day. Does that sound like you? We’re not talking about binge eaters gorging themselves on gallon tubs of ice cream. A huge proportion of otherwise normal people are consuming an unhealthy amount of sugar, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

    Why would too much sugar contribute to heart disease risk, even if someone isn’t overweight and has a relatively balanced diet otherwise? The causal mechanisms aren’t yet clear, and more research will be needed to figure out exactly what’s going on. But the fact is, there’s a link.

    You’re Probably Eating Too Much Sugar

    Too much sugar has serious health effects. Not only can it spur a true addiction in people who are already genetically predisposed toward it, but it raises your risk of heart disease. Plus, because of the way it’s metabolized, it can make your body more likely to store energy from foods as body fat. It’s just not good for you, but it’s everywhere. Even an innocent loaf of bread contains high fructose corn syrup, and it’s not even something you’d think of as “sweet.”

    To protect your health, it’s a great idea to cut some of the excess sugar out of your diet. Try replacing soda with water (but not fruit juice, which is a sugar bomb masquerading as a health food). Pay attention to what you’re putting in your body, and try cooking meals yourself so you know what’s in them. These little changes can make a big difference in your long-term health -- plus, you might even lose a few pounds without those calories from soda.

    Recent research has been very clear: despite what the sugarindustry would like you to believe, refined sugar has serious health consequences. This psychologically addictive and metabolically damaging substance is in almost any packaged food you buy, but by educating yourself, you can start making changes that will protect your health.

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