What happens in your body when you eat sugar? Is fruity better than classic white sugar? And what exactly is sugar?
Common sense tells us that sugar is bad for your health. But what exactly happens in your body when you eat sugar? It is a difficult question that doctors and scientists have not yet solved completely, but there is some certainty.
Our body produces energy from the three macronutrients: lipids, proteins and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are made up of sugar molecules and are divided into simple carbohydrates, such as those found in sweets and white sugar, and complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains and vegetables.
When we talk about sugar that is bad for your health, we mean the classic white sugar and simple carbohydrates found in sweets and white flour. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are metabolised in a completely different way and are useful and healthy sources of energy. I mean, it’s better to stay away from the classic sugar. Why is that? For five reasons.
Sugar makes you fat
First, the body breaks down all carbohydrates into their individual constituent elements. What remains is glucose, which is then metabolized by insulin. Insulin guarantees the supply of sugars to the cells in the form of energy.
The more sugar you eat, the more insulin will be produced. Excessive consumption of sugar alters the level of insulin in the blood, causing it to increase dramatically. This phenomenon is dangerous for two reasons. First, insulin reduces the burning of body fat. Secondly, after reaching the apex, the insulin rate quickly drops to the lowest level with the consequence of causing a new attack of hunger. As you can see, it is the beginning of a vicious circle that leads you to continuously consume sugars, increasing your daily calorie intake.
Sugar is addictive
Sugar ensures the release of dopamine in the brain’s reward system. Unfortunately, however, this state lasts only for a short period of time and as soon as the effect is exhausted, the brain asks again. This triggers a vicious circle that leads you to eat more and more sugar.
Sugar makes you sick
It’s nothing new, overweight, type 2 diabetes and cavities are the well-known dangers faced by people who eat too much sugar. Studies also point out that an excessive amount of concentrated fructose promotes the formation of fat, invisible but harmful, which is deposited between and around the organs. Isolated fructose, which is used to sweeten fruit drinks and sweets, also inhibits the secretion of the hormone leptin, responsible for the sense of satiety.
Sugar has no added value for your body
In the course of evolution, the different types of sugar were essential sources of energy, but today it is different. Your body can produce glucose from a variety of healthy energy sources and, strictly speaking, does not need an external supply of sugar. In addition, sweets, soft drinks, white flour and the like have virtually no added nutritional value.
The case of complex carbohydrates is different. They also provide you with fibre and minerals and are slowly released into the bloodstream. Therefore, they do not have the same negative effects as refined sugar and should be included in every diet.
Especially those who practice endurance sports and need energy quickly available and should, therefore, prefer complex carbohydrates as an energy source.
Sugar ages your appearance
If you eat so much sugar at once, your body is not able to turn it all into energy so the excess sugar molecules bind to the proteins that are responsible for the elasticity of the skin. Consequence: unsightly wrinkles.
These sugar and protein compounds also bind to immune cell receptors, causing skin inflammation and poor skin circulation. So, the more sugar you ingest, the uglier your skin will be.
Are there any snacks with no added sugar?
Does it seem impossible to completely give up on added sugar? Let’s just say it’s hard, especially if you’re not home. But if you tool up early, it’s easier. The mix of nuts and berries, protein muesli and protein bars with no added sugar and the natural sweetness of fruit are the perfect alternatives.
Sugar isn’t everything the same
There are different types of sugar. A basic distinction is made between single, double (disaccharides) and multiple (polysaccharides) sugars according to the chemical structure of the molecule. The most common terms are simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.
Single and double sugars are metabolized and used immediately, hence the term “simple”. The classic white sugar, used in desserts & Co., is double and consists of two simple sugars: glucose and fructose. Each time it is ingested, your body separates it into these two components to produce energy. Whether it’s white sugar or cane sugar, it doesn’t make much difference.
Fructose: the exception
Fructose, known as fruit sugar, is a simple sugar naturally present in fruit. In itself it is no less critical than the classic simple sugars but the difference is the combination: fruit contains, in fact, also valuable vitamins and dietary fibers that prevent the sugar to reach the liver too quickly. So, fruit yes! Juices and shakes made with fruit concentrates and added fructose, no!