Many of the foods we eat every day have added sugars, including refined sugars (such as white sugar). We discover what its effects on health are.
Did you know that between 2003 and 2013 the consumption of refined sugars per day and per person increased by 10%, reaching 63 grams? These are data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to data obtained by the International Sugar Organization (OIA). A higher consumption of refined sugars that has also been accompanied by an increase in cases of overweight and obesity, and with them the obvious health risks they pose.
Due to this alarming growth, the World Health Organization recommended a few months ago to reduce sugar consumption to less than 10% of the calories we consume daily, so that adults should not exceed 12 tablespoons (of coffee) per day, and in children up to 9 tablespoons of sugar.
Furthermore, the scientific evidence collected by the WHO shows that those people who consume less than 10% of their daily calories in the form of “free sugars” tend to be more likely to have an adequate or normal weight according to their height, complexion and age. Which in turn would reduce the risk of associated diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, heart disease and diabetes.
What are refined sugars?
While natural sugar is the one that we find naturally in certain foods, which are rich in sugar and also contain water, fiber and vitamins that help regulate both its absorption and metabolism, refined sugar is the pure extract of sugar , containing only sucrose or sucrose.
This means that these types of sugars are not accompanied by nutrients such as vitamins, minerals or fiber naturally present in sugar cane or beets.
In other words, refined sugar is effectively extracted from vegetable sources, but it has no vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, fiber, or microelements that make it a beneficial product for our health.
As many nutritionists and specialized doctors state, in reality sugar is not the problem of the current epidemic of overweight and obesity in which most of the world’s population lives immersed, but the very large amount of sugar that is consumed every day, which also it is commonly accompanied by unhealthy fats.
What are the harmful effects of consuming refined sugars?
In order for our body to be able to digest refined sugars, our own body must provide the necessary nutrients for their absorption. If we take into account that these types of sugars do not contain you (and therefore do not provide them), we find that refined sugar is a real nutrient thief.
Or, more nutritionally speaking, we are just eating empty calories. That is, it is a product that does not provide any nutrient. But to understand it better, we must find out a little more about how our body digests refined sugar…
We overload our body during its absorption and digestion
Refined sugars, such as refined white sugar, are a combination of glucose and fructose (two simple sugars). In our intestines we find an enzyme known by the name of sucrose, capable of rapidly breaking down sucrose into fructose and glucose. At this time, glucose is absorbed into our bloodstream, while the excess of it is stored in the liver. For every 100 milliliters of blood, it is estimated that there is a process of 100 milligrams of glucose, which translates into 1 gram of sugar for each liter.
When the concentration of sugar in the blood rises above this level, our pancreas begins to release insulin, a chemical with which it neutralizes glucose and lowers the level of glucose in the blood. However, when the concentration is low, it is the liver that releases the stored glucose, in the form of a substance known as glycogen.
As expected, the problem is not that we consume sugar, but that currently most processed foods contain an excessive amount of simple or refined sugars. Let’s take an example: have a simple cup of coffee with a lot of sugar, and also accompanied by a few cookies or a donut. The result? We have just caused our body what we could translate as hyperglycemia, causing our pancreas to work almost desperately to produce insulin.
Causes demineralization of the body
Unlike natural sugar that does provide essential nutrients, in the case of refined sugar we find that it does not contain fiber, minerals or vitamins. That is, it only gives us empty calories. What’s more, when it enters our body, it is actually separated from the nutritional components that we do find in the plant, from which it is obtained completely naturally.
As a result, it tends to balance itself by attracting mainly minerals (such as iron, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium) and B vitamins in order to absorb it, in a way that can cause demineralization and vitamin deficiencies.
Predisposes to obesity and diabetes
It is a product that almost directly influences weight gain and also the appearance of diabetes, since refined sugar tends to enter our bloodstream quickly, causing liver fatigue and some “stress” in the pancreas, since it must secrete a very large amount of insulin.
The result is obvious, as well as dangerous: while in the short term it tends to prevent our body from being able to assimilate food correctly, in the long term it ultimately influences the onset of diabetes.
The same thing happens with obesity: by producing rapid insulin peaks, glucose ends up being converted into fat stores, leading to an obvious weight gain.
Other negative effects on our health
In addition to the negative effects on our health indicated above, there are also others that we must mention:
- Acidifies the blood.
- Weaken our immune system.
- Create dependency.
- Increased tooth decay.
And what is the key to consuming less sugar? Always read the labels that contain the ingredients of each product, be more aware of this problem and try to reduce its consumption directly, preferably opting for slow assimilation carbohydrates.