Articles on sugar

7 Top Reasons to Kick Sugar Today

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Do you have a sweet tooth? Are you always craving for something sweet to complete your meals? Try not to be overwhelmed when you learn about the basketful of harmful effects of sugar on your body. Honestly speaking, there is nothing sweet about sugar, in fact sugar is bitter and vengeful in all the ways it takes a toll on your body.The sugar found in our food is of two kinds mainly – sucrose and fructose. Sucrose or the table sugar increases blood sugar levels and initiates the pancreas to release insulin forces the sugar into cells, thus contributing to fat formation. Fructose on the other hand acts upon the liver and hence no insulin is secreted. But fructose is more detrimental to health as it releases the hormone for hunger – ghrelin making us hungrier; one continues to eat, leading to weight gain. Fructose is found in corn syrup which is used to sweeten most processed and packed foods.Here are top 7 reasons why you should get away from this addictive white powder:Sugar and cancer: Over consumption of sugar has been found to cause cancer. Studies have linked elevated blood sugar levels to cancers in women. Moreover, pancreatic cancer uses fructose to initiate a particular process that aids rapid cell division. Extra sugar present in the bloodstream feeds the cancer cells.Impact on liver: Sugar overdose hits the liver and causes the liver cells to bloat up and become fatter. This leads to liver complications and conditions like fatty liver disease. Research shows that extra calories fatten the liver cells first by 27% while external body gains hardly 2% of fat.Hurts your Heart: Excess sugar in the diet contributes to heart diseases and may even damage your arteries. Sugar is known to deplete good cholesterol levels in the blood.Prolonged exposure of the arterial inner walls to sugar causes it to get irritated and less responsive to body’s healing mechanisms. This results in malabsorption of oxygen and other nutrients into the cells.Addictive properties of Sugar: Sugar evokes addictive responses within our body which make us crave for it even more. It is a never-ending struggle that is triggered by the feel good hormones like dopamine in our body. However, the receptors that release dopamine weaken over time and hence need more sugar to get activated which leaves us wanting for more.Aids in ageing: Fructose especially contributes to ageing by boosting cell damage and causing cells to die faster. Sugars can also cause wrinkles as they are capable of breaking down the collagen and elastin of skin, which are responsible for the tightness and glow of the skin.Causes mental anxiety: Kicking back on sugar will help you feel more relaxed and less stressed. Excess sugars can also cause depression and reduce cognitive abilities like memory and so on.Bad teeth and bones: Sugar binds with the bacteria of the mouth to form acid that diminishes the quality of your teeth. Similarly, sugar works to deplete vital minerals like Calcium which causes osteoporosis and bone loss.Lastly, sugar directly leads to weight gain and diabetes, the silent killer.

How Sugar Is Deteriorating Your Body

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Is sugar really that bad? Sugar has continued to play an increasingly important role in our food industry. It’s not just sugary foods, but sugar has made its way into practically everything we eat. You can become addicted to sugar. Refined sugar in particular provides only empty calories and lacks all the essential and natural nutrients that the body requires.Here is how sugar deteriorates your body:1. Sugar makes you fatA high sugar diet makes the liver store fat more efficiently and overtime it could lead to the deposition of fat globules in the liver and other parts of your body, which makes you gain weight.2. Sugar affects your Insulin levelsSugar is high on the glycemic index because of which it causes a spike in blood sugar levels, leading to increased insulin production. High intake of sugar stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin to lower the blood sugar levels. Excess of Insulin in the body promotes fat storage.3. Sugar weakens your Immune systemSugar directly impacts the immune response. White blood cells accumulate Vitamin C in order to consume virus, bacteria or cancer cells but when we get overloaded with sugar, then white blood cells accumulate glucose and leave little room inside the cell, as Vitamin C and sugar have similar structures. Therefore, sugar slows your immune system down.4. Sugar reduces good cholesterol and raises bad cholesterolEmpty calories in sugar increase your risk of having high cholesterol. It raises the bad cholesterol, saturated fats and trans-fatty acids in the body which lead to heart diseases.5. Sugar leads to Type-3 diabetesSuzanne de lo Monte, a neuropathologist at Brown University had discovered the links between insulin resistance, high-fat diets and Alzheimer’s disease. In this type of diabetes, the insulin levels gets blocked in the brain due to which the brain’s ability to use glucose and produce energy is damaged.6. Sugar turns you into junkieEating sugar triggers the release of hormones like opioids and dopamine that makes your brain feel ‘pleasure’ and provides you a satiety value, due to which you will always look for junk food or high sugar foods.

7 More Reasons to Give Up Sugar

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Many of us are addicted to sugar and need some form of sugar every day. For most of us, sugar has become a mandatory food group and is a part of our daily diet. But we are not completely aware of the adverse effects of excess sugar consumption. Find below a list of some of the various adverse and negative side effects of excess sugar consumption.1.It accelerates aging according to one research. Sugar contains fructose, which is stronger than glucose in building up free radicals, due to which so many people across the world are facing health problems such as diabetes, heart ailments, etc. These ailments are detrimental to the body and ultimately accelerate aging.2. Daily overdose of sugar leads to ‘browning’ or ‘rusting’ of tissues. Overdosing of sugar will not only affect age but also lead to browning of tissues due to internal chemical reactions in our body, which proves to be harmful for our health.3. Excessive sugar intake will affect our hormonal system and balance. Sugar contains fructose , which if consumed in large quantities tricks our brain into believing that we haven’t eaten enough, even when we actually have. This leads to overeating and unnecessary cravings.4. Eating a diet high in refined sugar is a leading cause of obesity. Sugar is directly converted to fat by your body, and the more sugar you eat, the fatter you will be. Many people think that eating fatty food is the main cause of weight gain. But that is not true. Sugar is the main cause for fat gain, for most people.5. Sugar destroys your teeth and gums. The combination of sugar, saliva, and bacteria creates the perfect recipe for tooth decay. So, try to avoid consumption of sugar to maintain oral health.6. Sugar makes you fat and sick. When we eat sugar (actually, any refined carbohydrates) it gets turned into glucose. Excessive glucose converts into triglycerides in our livers and is then stored in fat cells. Sugar makes us fat. Again, as you can see, it isn’t necessarily dietary fat that makes us fat. It’s most likely sugar.7. Sugar leads to malnourishment. Sugar leeches minerals from the body and makes you over-weight. You become simultaneously malnourished and fat.To avoid excessive consumption of sugar, do read nutrition labels before buying packaged foods. Control sugar intake with cautious and smart grocery shopping.

Your Brain Knows the Difference Between Real Sugar & Sugar Free Food

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
In today’s lifestyle, it has become a fad to substitute regular food with zero or low-caloric food products just to save a few calories. The most common is the use of sugar-free or artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. It seems logical to replace a sugar-loaded or based food item with a low calorie version of it, and which should automatically lead to weight loss. But according to many researchers, it’s been shown that such sugar-free foods are actually making you fat as compared to real sugar. Let’s see how artificial sweeteners make you fat.Sugar and sweeteners don’t chemically resemble each other; they belong to different classes of substances. Sugars are simple carbohydrates or glucose and are easily metabolized to energy. But sweeteners are prepared by synthetic procedure and act as a food additive for the sweetening effect. They are calorie-free or low-calorie but are up to 450 times sweeter than real sugar because they are made up of sweet-tasting compounds.When sugar is metabolized by the body cells, levels of dopamine hormone (a neuro-transmitter) rise, which leads to the feeling of satisfaction and satiety value. It sends a signal to the brain that the body’s energy needs are met. But when artificial sweetener is consumed, the brain keeps on waiting for the calories to come; it causes a drop in blood sugar which triggers hunger and cravings for more food. People are not metabolically satisfied after consuming them. Artificial sweeteners are also know to rapidly stimulate the release of insulin and Leptin hormones that are involved with satiety and fat storage, and may therefore lead to weight gain.So, next time think twice before reaching for your artificial sweetener. Instead eat the real thing but keep a check on the quantity. Instead of having two teaspoons of sugar in your tea, try one. Or you can switch to more natural sources like fruits to satisfy your sugar cravings without compromising on your health.

11 Foods That Sneak Sugar Into Your Diet

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
We all know sweets, chocolates, candies, ice creams and sweetened food contain high levels of sugar and therefore stay away from them as much as we can. Sugar is addictive and is a source of instant energy. But eating too much sugar is unhealthy and leads to excess fat storage and increase of insulin.Although we limit ourselves from the most obvious forms of sugar there might be 'sugar coated' ways that you are consuming sugar. Here are a few example of not so healthy ways that we might be consuming sugar without really being aware.Cereal Puffs: Regular v/s non coated cereals. The market is flooded with different flavored cereals like choco wheat puffs, honey puffs, flavoured muesli. Because of their wheat and muesli content one believes them to be healthy and overlooks the sugarcoating on the cereals. This is hidden sugar that adds up your waistline without you even realizing it. Stick to non-flavored cereals as they are the healthier option.Flavored Yoghurt: We get varieties in yoghurts and different flavours too. Sweetened yogurt is commonly available these days which contains added sugar in it, which may not be healthy. Best is to stick to the most original flavor of yogurt and enjoy it.Jams: Commercially packed jams have quite a high percentage of sugar in it finding space into your meals on breads and toast. Try consuming it in moderation or opt for one prepared in your house with less sugar.Commercially Packed Juices: Commercially packed juices are not so healthy as portrayed. They are prepared from fruit concentrates or prepared with water, sugar and fruit pulp with additives to preserve it. The sugar level is pretty high as compared to its natural form and thus not so healthy. Stay away from the fruit squashes, crushes and fruit syrups as they have more sugar than packaged juices.Malted Drink Supplements: Malted drink supplements are sold on the basis of nutrition, but they contain sugar. That's how they taste sweet. Skip them if you're trying to avoid sugar.Honey: Honey is a natural source of sugar but its still sugar. Honey contains nutrition and thus has health benefits, but don't let those trick you in to eating too much honey.Peanut Butter: Peanuts are great for health. So peanut butter is also supposed to be healthy. But peanut butter that is sold commercially contains a varying amount of sugar.Granola Bars: A study showed that some granola bars contain as much sugar as chocolates. So, choose wisely, and not all granola bars are healthy.Ketchup: The most ubiquitous dressing of all time- the primary ingredient for ketchup is sugar besides tomatoes. So, while tomatoes in ketchup are heart healthy, all that sugar and preservatives aren't so healthy.Salad/Sandwich Dressings: Most dressings either are high in sugar or in fat. That's what gives the flavour to your salad or sandwich. Check if your salad is healthy.Biscuits: Last but not the least, some people eat biscuits assuming that it can help you snack light and potentially lose weight. But they have their share of sugar. See how biscuits slow down your weight loss.Learn to read the nutrition labels correctly so you can read the sugar content present in it to check whether it is healthy for you or not. Include sugar, glucose, sucrose, inverted sugar and corn syrup as not so healthy components. Consume sugar through the natural form as present in fruit and vegetables.

Does Sugar Cause Cancer?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Sugar is a commonly used food additive. Sugar is found naturally in fruit, vegetables, milk and honey. It is also added to other foods and beverages like sodas, juices, and desserts to sweeten them.Our brain requires sugar for proper functioning. So you would wonder why sugar is bad for us if it is so essential for the functioning of the brain. The problem arises when we consume more sugar than we need to, and even when that sugar is processed and not natural. In a recent study, excess sugar has been linked to cancer.How sugar effect cancer cells?Every cell in your body requires sugar (glucose) for energy. All cells in your body consume sugar as they grow and divide. But the problem arises when you consume more than you need to.In a recent study, it was found that high sugar levels in the body activated a gene responsible for cancer progression. High sugar levels in the intestine increase the activity of a protein known as Beta-Catenine. Increased activity of Beta-Catenine is known to be responsible for the development of many cancers. In fact, the activity of Beta-Catenine is strictly dependant on sugar levels.Basically, high sugar levels in the body lead to increased activity of Beta Catenine, which makes normal cells cancerous.Here are some tips regarding use of sugar which you need to watch out for to reduce your risk of cancer due to sugar consumption: • Check nutrition labels to help you avoid foods high in sugar. Here are some hidden “sugar” words to look out for: • fructose (natural sugar from fruits) • lactose (natural sugar from milk) • sucrose (made from fructose and glucose) • maltose (sugar made from grain) • glucose (simple sugar, product of photosynthesis) • dextrose (form of glucose) • Drink water or unsweetened fruit juice instead of soft drinks and juices. Try diluting fruit juice with sparkling water if you find it hard to give up sweetened sodas. • Gradually reduce the amount of sugar you add in your coffee or tea. • Have a piece of fruit when you’re craving something sweet. Have a slice of melon or fresh berries with a low-fat yogurt instead of cookies for a mid-afternoon snack. • Choose whole grain breakfast cereals that are not coated with sugar or honey. If you find it hard to get used to the new taste, try sprinkling a little bit of sugary cereal on top of your healthier option at first. Then use a little less each day. • Try using half the amount of sugar you would normally use in your recipes. It works for most things except jam, meringues and ice cream. • Choose natural sugars such as honey, molassess and fruits over artificial sweeteners. Natural sugars contain anti-oxidants which help to prevent cancer.Excess sugar consumption not only increases your risks of obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance, but even increases your risk for cancer. There is more and more reason to stay from processed and unnecessary sugar. 

Reasons for Your Sugar Addiction

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Your sugar addiction might be psychological, and if that is the case, then it might be harder to overcome. Whenever you feel bored, lonely, depressed or nervous, you may get addicted to sugar. And when you try to avoid sugar during such an addiction, it might lead to temporary headaches, fatigue, lethargy, etc.Causes of Sugar Addiction: Sugar stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin and these hormones make us feel happy and calm. You may develop a higher dependency on the effects of sugar with time: the more sugar you eat, the more it will comfort you. And then there comes a time when you can’t control your sugar cravings any more.Following are the reasons for your sugar cravings and solutions to overcome those:1] You might be consuming artificial sweeteners: When artificial sweeteners are consumed, the brain keeps on waiting for more sugar to enter the system; which causes a drop in blood sugar levels, triggering hunger and craving for more sugar. Artificial sweeteners are also know to rapidly stimulate the release of insulin and Leptin hormones, which are involved with satiety and fat storage, thus leading to weight gain.Solution: So, next time think twice before reaching for an artificial sweetener. Instead, eat the real thing but moderate the quantity. Instead of two teaspoons of sugar in your tea, try one.2] You might be feeling tired or bored: If you are bored or haven’t slept well, you crave for sugar for an immediate burst of energy, especially if it is easily accessible. It also provides a pleasurable distraction while you are waiting.Solution:Try to divert your mind by doing some household work or some other activity, or eat a fruit. Also, refrain from keeping sugar loaded processed foods at home.3] You might be feeling depressed: Sugar helps lift your mood. It gives you pleasure and makes you feel better when you are depressed, disappointed or angry.Solution: Instead of eating sugary foods, opt for a food high in fiber and good fats - fruit, nuts, chickpeas, etc.4] You might be bingeing on sugar: You might have a sweet tooth, because of which you can’t control your cravings for sugar. But sugar addiction may deteriorate your body and health.Solution: Instead of bingeing on sugar loaded foods, try eating sprouts, fruits, plain roasted chickpeas or peanuts. Or try to divert your attention to some other activity, to avoid cravings.5] You might be starving: Waiting too long between your meals or starving might lead to consumption of sugary foods for instant satisfaction.Solution: Don’t starve yourself. Have 3 major meals with mid-meal snacks. Having a healthy balanced diet with fixed meal and snack timings helps control sugar cravings.

To Lose Weight & Control Blood Sugar - Eat Fruits Before Meals

Dr. Nikhil Prabhu, Diabetologist
Many fruits are rich in micronutrients, essential vitamins, fibre content and antioxidants. Along with that fruits occupy more space and less calories making your tummy full and giving you feeling of satiety or fullness.Most of the fruits have high fibre content, they come in soluble or insoluble form. Both forms are indigestible. They form a bulk & increase water content of stool, making it softer and easily movable in Gastrointestinal tract. High fibre diet reduces cardiovascular morbidity & mortality.Diabetic person should avoid eating fruits with high glycemic index i.e. those fruits which readily digest in stomach and raise your blood sugars more than others like Mango, Chickoo, Banana (Green), Grapes, Custard Apple, etc.Also, one should avoid drinking fruit juices as condensation process increases sugar content of juice. A glass of juice is roughly equivalent to eating 2-3 fruits at a time. It is always better to eat a fresh fruit instead of drinking a fruit juice added with or without preservatives.Managing blood sugars by a diabetic person is all about balancing food intake. For example, suppose Person (A) who is diabetic had four bread slices for breakfast at 9.00AM and his blood sugars are measured at 11.00AM were found out to be 300 mg/dl. If the same person (A) divides the breakfast into 2 halves and takes 2 bread slices at 8.00AM and 2 bread slices at 10.00 AM then his blood sugar roughly remains around 130 mg/dl. In this example the food intake is not decreased but instead it is divided into small quantity and consumed frequently.Normally we consume most of the meal in the first 20 mins of starting a meal so eating a fruit before the meal delays food intake and gives the feeling of fullness or satiety much earlier. That eventually leads to consumption of less food at meal time, so less calorie intake. Many colorful fruits like berries are rich in antioxidants ( Lycopene, Beta-carotene, etc.). In diabetes high bloood sugar values cause damage to nerves, retina, blood vessels and other systems via specific pathways. One of them is through generating free oxygen radical species, these anti-oxidants react with such harmful oxygen radicals and scavenge them, thus minimizing the tissue damage in diabetes.What fruits to eat in diabetes ?Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries etc. all berries are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and low in carbohydrates.Peaches are rich in vitamin A & C, potassium and fibre.An Apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples are rich in fibre, vitamin C & low in carb. Don’t peel the skin as it contains antioxidants.Oranges are great in vitamin C, low in carb, contain potassium and folate, other citrus fruits like grapefruits are also equally good to eat.Pears are good in potassium and fibre. Other fruits like apricot, guava are also rich in vitamin A and good to eat .Eating fruits before meals helps you to loose weight & control your blood sugars. Making this as a habit helps obese individuals and known diabetic people.If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends & family. Awareness is Prevention.

Side Effects Of Artificial Sweetner On Your Health

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Weight Gain Artificial sweeteners increase your appetite thus increasing calorie consumption, which ultimately leads to weight gain. You tend to eat larger portions when you eat foods with artificial sweeteners. Most of the foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners are high in carbohydrates.Diabetes Artificial sweeteners may disrupt body's ability to regulate blood sugar, causing metabolic changes that can be a precursor to diabetes. According to the recent reports, too much consumption of artificial sweeteners instead of sugar is one of the major causes of diabetes.High Blood pressure and cardiovascular disease The risk for coronary heart disease gets significantly elevated in those who consume more than two artificially-sweetened beverages a day. It has the same effect as sugar sweetened foods. It increases the risk of cardiovascular disorders.Metabolic Syndrome Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that commonly include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together, and increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, and other diseases. It has been observed that people consuming artificial sweeteners on regular basis have a double risk of contracting metabolic syndrome compared to non-consumers.Taste buds become dull Artificial sweeteners are a lot sweeter than regular table sugar. The exposure of your taste buds to such high intensity of sweetness makes them less receptive to naturally occurring sweet foods, such as fruits. Also, when your taste buds become dull, you tend to seek out sweeter foods to satiate your sweet cravings.If you are really looking for a sugar substitute, then it’s always better to go for natural sweeteners like honey. They will provide taste without being a potential hazard for your health.