The Side Effects of Sugar

Sugar is getting a lot of bad rap these days, and it’s not surprising as sugar not only contributes to weight gain and obesity, but also to diabetes. Read on to learn more.

The fact is that the body changes sugar into two to five times more fat in bloodstream than in starch. The rapid absorption of sugar promotes excessive food intake in overweight adults and obese children. Foods with a high glycemic index stimulate the production of LPL (lipoprotein lipase), the enzymes that encourage the body to store food in fat cells. Thus, low fat diets that contain carbohydrates with a high glycemic index can actually cause weight gain. Refined starches, such as white flour, white rice, white pasta, and cornstarch are more likely to turn into body fat than natural starches, such as whole grains, which, because they contain more fiber, are digested more slowly and raise the blood sugar less drastically.

New research suggests there is a physiologic connection between carbs and cravings. Sweets trigger an increase in the hormone serotonin – a mood-elevating hormone. The body and brain get used to this higher level of serotonin and even depend on it for a sense of well-being. Therefore, when the serotonin level dips, the craver dips into the chocolate to ‘correct’ the situation. The cycle continues, and in time, the association between food and mood is developed.

Sugar can also upset the body’s mineral balance. The junk sugars in soft drinks also take good things out of the body. High doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners increase the urinary excretion of calcium, leading to weaker bones, or osteoporosis, and to the formation of kidney stones. The phosphoric acid present in many soft drinks further robs the body of calcium by increasing the loss of magnesium and calcium in the urine.

Tips for sugar in your family’s diet:

Don’t forbid sugar completely

Some parents forbid sweets, however, forbidding sweets completely may increase a child’s fascination with them and cause candy binges. With candy and other sweets so readily available in stores and vending machines, sugar consumption cannot always be monitored.

Limit the amount of sweets your family eats

While one candy bar is fine, eating an entire bag of candy is unacceptable. You can best do this by setting a good example. Make exceptions and allow candy on holidays and birthdays.

Don’t Reward With Sweets

Do not tell your children they will get candy if they finish their homework or clear their plate. Rewards are great incentives; just don’t offer food as the treat.