Sugar is added to nearly everything in the common modern American diet and can increase your risk of disease.
Not all sugar is bad. Sugar is not only a “fuel”, but is also an essential nutrient that’s required for the normal function and operation of your body and brain. By consuming normal amounts of sugar, your brain is able to function properly.
Let’s take a look below and see what researchers are saying is important about proper sugar consumption and the critical role it plays in a healthy lifestyle.
What is sugar?
Sugar is used by your body as fuel energy.
There are several common types of sugar that exist within the body, as well as many different types of sugar found naturally in food or from processing.
The journal of American Diabetes Association say there are up to 59 different types of sugar manufactured by sugar companies.
Common types of sugar include:
In today’s modern food, approximately 75% of all packaged food contains sugar.
Even the the FDA currently claims sugar is generally recognized as safe (GRAS), the Center For Science In The Public Interest is in the process of getting the FDA to take down the GRAS claims of products that have excessive amounts of sugar added.
Positive effects of sugar?
Even though sugar is added to most grocery store products, most of the average people are consuming way too much sugar and might need to think about cutting back.
Depending on the source and type of sugar, there can be several potential positive effects.
According to the European Journal Of Nutrition, when consumed in small amounts, sugar (fructose) can have potential beneficial effects.
Positive effect of sugar newborn baby
According to the journal American Diabetes Association, there are two types of sugar that’s shown to have a benefitial effect on newborn infants.
The two types of sugar are glucose and sucrose and have been shown to be an effective standard of care for newborns undergoing certain procedures.
The benefitial effect of sugar on newborns helps them reduce pain from various potentially painful procedures.
Procedures that sugar helps reduce pain in newborn infants includes:
- Heel lancing
- Intramuscular injection
What are the benefits of eating sugar?
Sugar has numerous beneficial effects on the human body that are essential for normal function of the entire organism.
How sugar works in the body includes:
- Stimulates insulin secretion
- Stimulates special cells used for taste
- Releases neurotransmitters to transmit information to the brain
- Produces complex responses (neural, endocrine, and motor responses)
- Stimulates reward pathways
- Releases dopamine
In moderation, sugar is essential to the body and brain’s survivability.
The required daily amount of sugar, according to the American Heart Association, is less than six teaspoons for adult women and less than nine teaspoons for adult men.
However, the average modern American consumes much more sugar per day than the recommended guidelines.
The average American eats 19.5 teaspoons of sugar per day, which equals to approximately 66 pounds of sugar per year.
Each standard can of soda pop has about 16 teaspoons of sugar in it.
Back in the year 1790, the estimated average annual consumption of sugar was only eight pound, which is equal to about two teaspoon of sugar per day.
Positive effects of sugar on health
Nutritionists warn us to learn from previous paradigms that have consequences that were not intended.
Due to focusing on one single nutrient, and demining it harmful, shouldn’t be the sole focus as your strategy for a healthy diet.
In focusing on a healthy diet, researchers point out there are several factors involved in a healthy diet.
Consuming natural sugars found in fruit (fructose) and in dairy (lactose) can play a critical part in your diet.
Since all sugars are simple carbohydrates, the body utilizes sugar by converting it into energy in the form of glucose.
There’s a big difference between refined sugar and natural sugar found in whole foods.
Refined sugar is heavily process and most commonly extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets.
Sugar that’s been refined and extracted is usually the type of sugar called sucrose.
Sucrose is a mixture of both fructose and glucose.
The body processes and metabolized refined sugar much differently than how it processes natural sugars found in fruit and dairy.
When the body processes refined sugar, it metabolized and breaks it down very quickly.
In rapidly breaking down refined sugar, the body’s blood sugar and insulin levels will spike and go really high.
Once the body quickly processes and digests refined sugar, you’re left still feeling hungry.
However, when you consume sugar that comes from whole foods — such as fruit — the fiber contained in the natural whole food raw fruit helps to slow down the metabolism.
When the body processes the fruit at a slower pace, the gut will expand and you will start to feel the sensation of being full.
Dieticians recommend you get your sugar from whole foods that are unprocessed without any added or refined sugar.
Positive effects of sugar on the brain
The journal of Trends In Neuroscience reveals how the human brain is dependend upon glucose for it’s primary source of energy.
When the body is engaging in the normal intake and processing of glucose, it plays an important role in the various brain functions.
In the research linked to above, they dive deep into understanding the critical role that glucose plays in sustaining the basic function of the brain, it’s various systems, and cell cooperation.
When the normal glucose metabolism is disrupted, that are specific processes that breakdown and can lead to disease.
A disruption of the normal function of metabolizing glucose is the underlying cause of numerous diseases that impact — not only the brain — but the whole organism.
Glucose fuels brain function and is the core of the cell’s ability to perform maintenance.
Not only does glucose give the brain fuel energy to perfrom and function properly, glucose also plays a role in the generation of neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters act as the chemical communicators between brain cells (neurons).
Sugar that’s been “added” to your food is shown to contribute to reduced brain function in certain areas such as the lesser ability for memories to form, learning disorders, depression, and more.
Healthy diets require a certain amount naturally occurring sugars in whole foods.
The brain requires daily amounts of sugar to function properly.
In fact, brain cells needs twice as much energy as every other cell in the body — taking up a total of approximately 10% of all the energy requirements. Even though the brain is only about 2% of the total weight of your body, the brain utilizes up to 20% of energy derived from glucose.
Specifically, neurons require the most energy that requires a constant flow of glucose supplied from the blood.
Sugar is not necessarily the enemy to the body or brain, but, it’s the type of sugar and quantity of refined sugar that starts causing problems.
According to the journal Neuroscience, refined sugar can alter the structure of the brain and it’s functionality.
Refined sugar is also shown to have an effect on the regulation of neurotrophins, specifically Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).
Neurotrophies are a collection of proteins the help neurons survive, grow, differentiate, develop, and function as they should.
In the chronic consumption of sugar, BDNF’s are reduced.
With the reduced levels of BDNF, the chemical in the brain begin the process of insulin resistance.
Good effects of too much sugar
Too much of anything, is usually a bad thing.
Consuming more sugar than is recommended by dietary guidelines can cause a wide range of health issues.
Eating too much added sugar can lead to:
- Weight gain
- Heart risk
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cancer risk
- Risk of depression
- Increase the aging process of your skin
- Cellular aginig increases
- Energy crash
- Fatty liver disease
- Increases kindney disease risk
- Bad teeth
- Gout risk increased
- Decline of cognitive abilities
While in the short term, sugar offers instant gratification to your mouth area.
Sugar is instantly sweet and signals your brain with all sorts of various reward indicators.