Ah, that sweet, sweet granulated sugar! How tasty, tempting and delectable it makes some foods that we love to eat. Tucking into that amazingly sweet, succulent, rich chocolate gateau or that deliciously enchanting slice of sweet chocolate fudge and ice cream dessert is the stuff of dreams!
Unfortunately if you keep eating stuff like that, those fluffy, sugary dreams will soon turn into blubbery, fat nightmares screened from the inside of bleak hospital wards leading to the rapid approach of a coffin with your name on it! If there is one fact about refined sugar that no one can really argue with, it's that sugar bad for your health and it makes you gain weight when you eat too much of it!
The Problem of Too Much Sugar
Most people already know that consuming excess sugar in your diet will lead to weight gain. Despite knowing this, most overweight people still consume excess amounts of sugar in foods they know are bad for them. It's almost like they know but they just don't want to know. So they bury their heads in the sand and pretend it's not their problem.
But "problem" is exactly what it is, or will become, because ignoring something won't always make it go away.
We are referring to refined sugar here, as in sucrose which is the common form of granulated sugar and also fructose in the form of high fructose corn syrup. These two sweeteners are used in many processed foods such as ready meals, snacks and ready to eat desserts. It is important to improve your health by understanding how diets work, but it is also important to know how your body metabolizes certain foods.
Why is Sugar So Bad for You?
The reason these sweeteners are so bad for your health lies in the way in which the body processes them.
In order to perform work or even to just keep ticking over, the body needs energy in the form of glucose. Glucose is manufactured in the liver by breaking down complex sugars and then is released into the blood stream to "feed" the muscles that demand the fuel to carry out work. This includes larger muscles in the limbs and torso as well as many that most people are not so aware of, such as the heart and muscle tissue that integrates with other major organs responsible for keeping us alive.
All would be fine if the body were using as much glucose as the liver could manufacture from the available resources obtained from the consumption of food. This is how our bodies are meant to operate at an optimum level. The problem comes from the fact that we consume far more of these complex sugars than the muscles demand in the form of glucose. That doesn't stop the liver processing all the complex sugars into ever more amounts of glucose. It just keeps doing what it is designed to do in that respect. The excess glucose gets removed from the blood stream by insulin and taken to be stored in special cells designed for that purpose.
In the processing of complex sugars fructose and sucrose, a special kind of fat known as visceral or adipose fat is produced. This is the commonly dubbed "belly fat" that accumulates around the major organs in the abdomen and as levels increase, the fat actually pushes out the abdomen wall to give the appearance of the typical "pot belly" of overweight and obese people.
It should be noted here that visceral fat is distinct from the beneficial kind of fat (brown fat) or the less healthy but still not dangerous subcutaneous fat that is stored by the body chiefly beneath the skin with a more natural distribution.
Bad Belly Fat
The appearance of visceral, or belly fat should be a serious health warning for people. It is this type of fat that is responsible for creating insulin resistance, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
It not only means they are gaining weight, but that the special cells containing visceral fat are secreting hormones that have been shown in clinical tests to initiate and then promote the growth of cancerous cells. So far it has been definitely linked with breast and colon cancer. But there is worse to come.
Another by-product of the processing of these two refined sugars by the body is oxidation in healthy cells. Most of us know about the need to include antioxidants in our diet to help fight off the dangerous free radicals that can cause cancer. Well, guess what the anti-oxidants are also trying to combat?
The oxidation of our body's cells!
That oxidizing process releases free radicals into the body to cause mayhem and untold damage unless we keep them under control by consuming lots of antioxidants. Naturally, people who are eating a poor diet made up mainly of processed meals and foods are not getting anything like sufficient antioxidants to balance the oxidation. But rather than trying to fight the condition of oxidation, surely it would be more sensible to prevent the oxidation in the first place?
Correct. Prevention is better than cure, as the saying goes.
The obvious solution to this problem is to simply not consume any foods or drinks that contain these sugars. That reduces the load on the body and means that it can get on with processing only the necessary amount of sugars derived from healthy, fresh foods that it needs for fuel energy. Without the excess, there is no need for the constant rush of insulin to clear up the result of our overindulgence. There is no need for the storage of so much excess visceral fat in its potentially most dangerous form.
But how do you convince people to stop eating so much sweetened food and drinking so much sugar laden soda?
Well, there's the rub. You can't. People have to want to know about the problems and then to want to do something about it. You can lead a horse to water but you sure as anything cannot make him drink it. Just as you can tell people about the health dangers of consuming too much refined sugar, but you can't make them stop. You can offer them healthy alternatives, but you can't make them eat them.
Education is the key, but educating adults who are already set in their ways and have bad eating habits is much more difficult than educating kids who are keen to learn new things. This education should start in school and be thought of as far more important than some other subjects.
That's because knowing a load of facts and figures is not going to help you much if by ignorantly eating yourself slowly to death you face an uncertain future from the vantage point of a super-size hospital bed.
- webmd.com: The Truth About Fat