Three times more sugar is consumed today than was by our grandparents generation. Stats Canada says that the average Canadian eats roughly 26 teaspoons of sugar a day (that’s a whopping 88 lbs per year). The largest culprit being sweetened beverages like pop and juice. While processed table sugar is a booming business, it comes at a major cost to our health.
Photo from industrialspecialist.co
Refined sugar, generally coming from cane or beets, is processed in a way that removes all possible nutritional value. What’s left is empty calories that put a damper on our health. Here’s a list of the top 3 reasons to avoid processed sugar:
1. Increased Risk of Diabetes:
Sugar causes insulin resistance. Insulin transports glucose into the cell to use as energy. When we consume too much sugar, the pancreas becomes overworked and loses its ability to produce insulin. This leads to elevated blood sugar levels, which is toxic to the body. Studies show a direct correlation between increased sugar consumption and diabetes.
2. Increased Risk of Obesity:
The aforementioned elevated blood sugar and insulin levels will actually signal the body to store fat. Hormone Sensitive Lipase (HSL), a hormone your body uses to burn fat, literally gets shut off when we consume too much refined sugar. Since obesity is a top killer (more people die of obesity than starvation), we need to be really cautious of both the type and how much sugar we are consuming.
3. Processed Sugar Stops You From Feeling Full:
Refined sugar has been shown to physiologically prevent the feeling of satiety. For one, the consumption of processed sugar increased blood flow to the brains hunger regulator, the hypothalamus. This makes the hypothalamus more active, signalling the feeling of still needing to eat. It also prevents the decrease of grehlin, a hunger hormone. In fact, it tells your body to produce more grehlin. Thus, we end up feeling much hungrier than we actually are.
Pictured above: coconut sugar
Don’t worry if you have a bit of a sweet-tooth, natural sugars are a great replacement for table sugar and actually have health benefits. Unrefined cane sugar and coconut sugar, for example, both contain a variety of vitamins and minerals and are lower on the glycemic scale. This means they don’t affect your blood sugar as drastically as processed sugar. Try adding one of these natural sugars to your favourite recipes and let us know what you think!