Too much sugar is bad for you: Why & How?
We all know that sugar is an energy source required for our body's normal functioning. Let us find out more about how our body utilizes sugar.
Why and how much sugar do we need?
Our bodies need sugar in the form of glucose to survive. Glucose is the number one food for the brain, and it's an extremely important source of fuel for the body to do any work and function normally. Foods containing carbohydrates break down into glucose and insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas that moves sugar from your blood into cells, where it can be used for energy. Recommended daily Allowance (RDA) as per the Indian Council of Medical Research is 100-130 g of carbohydrates/day to ensure brain glucose utilization for ages 1 year and above. The body does not require added sugars to function properly. But most of us consume too much sugar from drinks and foods that contain added sugar.
All about sugar and calories (below given numbers are approximate)
One rounded teaspoon of sugar weighs approximately 5 grams. A gram (g) of sugar contains about 4 calories. It takes 20 steps to burn nearly 1 calorie. A serving of traditional Gulab jamun may contain up to 60 grams of added sugar which is 240 calories. So, the number of steps required to burn it would be 4800 steps. Now you know what a sedentary lifestyle would do to your body.
What happens to the excess sugar consumed
Hormone Insulin produced by your pancreas not only moves sugar from your blood into cells for normal function of the body but is also involved in energy storage whenever there is excess than required either as fat or glycogen. Excess glucose is stored in the liver as glycogen or, with the help of insulin converted into fatty acids, circulated to other parts of the body and stored as fat in adipose tissue, this causes weight gain. Fat also builds up in the liver when there is an overabundance of fatty acids. Consumption of large amounts of added sugar can lead to chronically elevated blood sugar levels known as hyperglycemia which can cause serious harm to your body, including weight gain. One way hyperglycemia leads to weight gain is through promoting insulin resistance which means insulin no longer moves sugar into cells and cells stop responding properly to insulin ultimately leading to insulin resistance. All this leads to high blood sugar causing fat storage, especially in the belly area.
Additionally, high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance interfere with leptin (satiety hormone) a hormone that plays a major role in energy regulation — including calorie intake and burning — and fat storage. High sugar diets are associated with leptin resistance, which increases appetite, contributes to weight gain and excess body fat, and causes a snowball effect on weight gain.
Diet and lifestyle for healthy weight
Eliminating added sugars, processed food, sugar-sweetened beverages and maintaining a diet rich in whole foods, high in fiber and protein, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, stress-free lifestyle, and regular physical activity all of these are crucial to attaining & maintaining a healthy weight. Being overweight and obese are risk factors for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. In addition, being overweight also exacerbates many other chronic diseases, such as hypertension, osteoarthritis, gallstones, dyslipidemia, and musculoskeletal problems.