Sugar is one thing that ranks high when it comes to addiction, but an Igbo adage says: ïfe na aso uzo ne’gbu egbu (sweet things kill).
However, despite this warning, some persons have clung to sugar and are willing to allow it drag them to a late life full of health complications.
Sugar is one of the natural components of foods that we eat daily, as far as that food has carbohydrates.
Fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and other foods you eat have it, but these whole foods are not the bad guys.
The sugar they contain is natural and very okay for your body. In fact, that is the very kind that your body loves and needs.
Sugar in whole grain is digested slowly and it gradually goes to the bloodstream to supply energy to your body.
Everyone needs this energy, but people go beyond this kind of energy supplier to take deadly ones.
They take sweetened drinks like every day, consume beverages, drink beer, sweetened yoghurt and even eat other snacks laced with sugar.
It has become a habit for them, but there is a reason you should pick up a new habit.
Danger Of Consuming Added Sugar
High intake of this substance has been linked to chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Its consumption has continued to increase, with companies that even produce seasoning and tomato pastes adding sugar to their products.
The issues around diabetes and sugary drinks is even over flogged and everyone should know that.
But how it affects the heart is still complex for many to fathom.
Your Heart At Risk
The engine room in the body that must not fail at any time in one’s life is the heart.
But added sugar is one way of increasing the risk of heart diseases.
A 2018 study stressed that refined carbohydrates, especially sugar-sweetened beverages, increase the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). This means that it increases the chances of an individual dying of heart disease.
How does this happen?
The directly impact it has on the heart is not an easy one to explain, but we will try to do so citing experts.
Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says high amount of sugar overloads the liver.
“Your liver metabolises sugar the same way as alcohol, and converts dietary carbohydrates to fat.
“Over time, this can lead to a greater accumulation of fat, which may turn into fatty liver disease, a contributor to diabetes, which raises your risk for heart disease,” he was quoted as saying.
Another thing about added sugar is that high consumption can raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation. These are pathological pathways to heart disease.
You may find our article on 8 Ways To Stay Safe From Heart Disease helpful
On the other hand, excess consumption, especially in sugary beverages or processed foods, adds to your chances of gaining weight.
Evil Of Weight Gain
Sweetened drinks trick your body into turning off its appetite-control.
You cannot get the kind of satisfaction you get from solid food from liquid calories. So people who want to get satisfied or full increases the number of liquid calories they take when they do.
One of the evils of weight gain is that there are likelihood of bad cholesterol in the body and they sneak into your arteries, clogging them and increasing the pressure on your heart.
“The effects of added sugar intake — higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease — are all linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke,” says Dr. Hu added.
Unfortunately, there is no universal recommendation for the amount that your body needs.
But in the U.S. the American Heart Association gives a suggestion. Men should consume no more than 150 calories (about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams) of added sugar per day, it says.
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It is very okay to stick to natural sugar as the form of sugar that you consume.
Meanwhile, one way to get by is to find substitutes that are more healthy and ensuring that you read food labels.
Nigerians are often shocked when we tell them that there is sugar in their seasoning and tomato paste. This is because they do not read labels.
- sweeten your drinks with date
- brown sugar
- corn sweetener
- corn syrup
- fruit juice concentrates
- high-fructose corn syrup
- invert sugar
- malt sugar
- syrup sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose).
It will be great to share this with your loved ones to help them know why they should cut down on their intake of sugary.