If you are on a fitness journey and you just can’t seem to shake off stubborn fat, it may be sugar that is the culprit. Many people feel addicted to sugar, and there are millions of others who just don’t know how to break the habit. There is actually a reason for this. Here you will learn a whole lot about sugar and why it is evil!
Kinds of Sugar
Sugar has made its way into virtually every food item in the market. Today, sugar can be found in practically everything, and it is almost impossible to completely avoid. Sugar is actually a carbohydrate and comes in many forms. Monosaccharides are the simplest of sugars, and it continues to the complex sugars like disaccharides.
Glucose occurs naturally in fruits and plants and happens to be a byproduct of photosynthesis. Glucose can be burned by the body as energy, but the body can actually produce this sugar when it is necessary. Fructose is the fruit sugar which occurs also in honey and in cane sugar, and it is very sweet. For the complex sugars, we have sucrose which is found in sugar cane and sugar beet. Last, there is lactose which is found in milk. Plants are harvested and processed to produce refined sugar and would you believe it – this refined sugar has zero nutritional value. Nothing at all!
How Sugar Affects The Body
The way that sugar sabotages your fitness efforts is that your body does one of two things with it – burns it as energy or stores it as fat. When you consume sugar, it enters your bloodstream and the rush of sugar is detected by your pancreas. Insulin, a hormone, is then released and its job is to regulate the blood sugar levels. Insulin stores the glucose in the liver and in the muscles as fat cells or as glycogen. Depending on the amount of sugar you consume, your body can sometimes struggle with getting the balance correct. When your sugar levels drop below normal, you’ll be craving more sugar! And naturally, the process starts all over again with more fat deposits taking place.
Sugar and Fitness
Sugar doesn’t just make you fat. Fitness is about more than fat, and sugar is responsible for a whole lot more in health crimes! Obesity, diabetes, dementia, renal failure, macular degeneration, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease all have links to sugar consumption. Yikes!
Unfortunately, it takes more than simply cutting down your consumption of sugar to stop all this horrible stuff from happening to your body. As it happens, your body processes many carbohydrates in much the same way as it processes these sugars. You are likely to have across the Glycemic Index before and the Glycemic Load. The GI is a calculation of how fast your blood sugar levels spike after eating specific foods. It has been found that the I of simple carbohydrates are almost identical to that of glucose. The more refined or processed the carbohydrate is, the more like sugar it behaves in the body, and so the more fat deposits you will ultimately have – among a host of other health risks.
Now that you know to steer clear of processed, refined carbohydrates, and sugars, what about sugar alternatives? If you simply must have a sweetened drink, perhaps the most nutritional of sweeteners would be honey. This is a natural sugar but still needs to be treated with caution as it causes the same spikes as other sugars. The difference comes in that it boasts a range of nutritious compounds. As for aspartame, there isn’t enough reliable scientific research to properly come to a stable conclusion about the health risks involving this alternative. Sucralose is a sweetener that is 600 times sweeter than regular table sugar, and so it can be used in far tinier amounts than regular sugar and apparently does not have a significant effect on blood glucose levels. Win! Saccharin is another hazy alternative as research showed a correlation with saccharin and cancer in rats, but not in humans. Be wary!
Ultimately, if you are on a quest for the best level of fitness you can achieve within your means, cutting down simple sugars and carbohydrates from your diet will take you far further than you imagined. This is especially true if you consume a lot of sugar-containing products already. Give it a shot!