It seems that we're surrounded by sugar everywhere we turn these days. From the foods we eat to the drinks we sip, we simply can't get away from it. That's why it's important for you to understand how sugar affects your body and how you can mitigate the damage.
First, let's break down a common misconception that we're only talking about white sugar, because there are lots of sugars out there. Here is a list of the most common sugars that you probably consume far more often than you realize:
So, now that you know what the sugars are, what's the damage they can cause? To begin, sugar can decrease your body's production of growth hormones, which makes it harder to stay youthful and lean. It can also weaken the body's immune system and interfere with the body's ability to absorb proteins. Combined with the fact that the typical human body changes sugar into fat at between 2-5 times the rate of starches, your sugar habit could quite easily keep you short and plump for a very long time.
Furthermore, sugar has some negative effects on our brains. Indeed, sugar can be as addictive as nicotine. Over time, sugar changes the chemistry of the brain, particularly as it relates to the stimulation of the hypothalamus. This causes "cravings" which your brain tells your body you need to fulfill. So, the next time you reach for a snack, your brain will tell your body it really wants that candy bar that's packed with sugar as opposed to that rice cake which has very little.
So, how can you counter the threat of sugar? First, don't quit eating sugar cold turkey, as this will amplify your cravings. Instead, gradually reduce your sugar intake over a period of time. As you are doing this, gradually replace these harmful sugars with healthier ones such as Xylitol, which can be found in many fibrous vegetables, plums, and even as a packaged sweetener. Over time, your body will gradually stop craving sugar altogether.