7 Sugary Sins – Why Sugar Can Be Bad

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Photo Credit: Colourbox

Good Evening loyal followers, and a very Happy New Year! I hope the first few days of 2016 have gone well. I am sure many of you have decided to start the age old tradition of a new years resolution? Maybe you’ve decided to join a gym, or quit smoking, start eating healthier, start a diary, take up a hobby, learn a new language, go travelling, bury the hatchet with old enemies, go see family more often? Any of which are fantastic ideas (and if your looking for any motivation to get you through and past the January high remember you can always come and check out our weekly ‘Kick Up The Up’. Although they are often fitness and clean eating related, they still can give you a bit of motivation when you need it). I wish you every success in your quest to improve your life in whichever way you see fit.

If you haven’t quite decided on a new years resolution, then Living Energetically may very well have a suggestion! This week is going to be a special one here at Living Energetically. Every day this week there are going to be special blog posts on SUGAR, and how it affects your life. The point of this I hear you ask? To possibly make you think about your sugar consumption and maybe even get one or two of you to give up the refined stuff for good. The articles are not here to patronize you, force you, or guilt trip you into giving up sugar, but simply to make you think about how much sugar we eat and whether lowering your sugar intake could improve your life. If by the end of the week you think your lifestyle, health or over all well-being could be improved by giving up sugar there will also be articles with come tips and tricks of how to reduce your sugar intake.

So to start us off we are going to look at why refined sugar is bad for you and how it can negatively impact your life. Some of these you will probably have heard of before, some however I think may surprise you. Each of these are ways in which refined sugar affects health, stress, energy levels and/or happiness and highlights how sugar effects so many aspects of your life, may of which you may not even have considered. So here goes – The Seven Sugary Sins.

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The Seven Sugary Sins

  1. Sugar has a Direct Effect on Weight – In order to encourage weight loss you need to stabilize blood sugar levels. As the name suggests sugar directly affects blood sugar levels. Sugar especially the refined kind sends blood sugar levels sky rocketing before it comes crashing back down. Your body does not appreciate this and punishes you by keeping a hold of fat. This is because when you eat large amounts of sugar your body produces large amounts of insulin which will process the foods into blood sugar. When your body starts producing large amounts of insulin it tells the body to start storing the fat instead of using it (there really is only so much energy your body can use in one go). On top of this it can also make you feel hungry, even if you’ve just eaten. This is all to do with the hormone Leptin whos main job in to inform your brain your full.  When you eat too many sugary food it affects Leptins ability to tell your brain your full. So not only does it make you retain fat it also makes you want to eat more (a bit of a vicious cycle really). If you want to jump start weight loss, ditching sugar is brilliant way to start.
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Photo Credit: Tanazkenmd.com
  1. Sugar is Pointless – Refined sugar has pretty much no nutritional value. The types of sugar found in chocolates, sauces, sweets and ice creams have been so processed they are just completely empty calories! They have been completely stripped of all vitamins and minerals and your body does simply not need it.
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Photo Credit: Africa Studios
  1. Sugar is Addictive– Sugar doesn’t just look like a suspicious white powder but also acts in a similar way. As soon as you try to take it away your body craves it. People even suffer withdrawal symptoms when giving up the white stuff (and yes I am still talking about sugar). By being addictive it also causes you to make bad decisions. It blocks your ability to make good choices by making you crave some more sweet stuff.
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Photo Credit: Blog – Replyall
  1. Sugar is a Silent Killer – Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stress, mental health problems; all of these can be affected by sugar. I’m not saying if you give up sugar you would never suffer with any of these issues, I’m also not saying sugar is the only cause of many of these ailments because that is simply untrue. Sugar can directly affect weight, stress and diabetes but cancer and heart disease are more of a secondary consequence, and are mainly affected by the potensial weight gain. Regardless of this reducing your sugar intake is still a pretty good way of trying to help prevent and treat many major health problems.
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Photo Credit: Patient.com
  1. Sugar Affects Energy Levels – As all ready mentioned sugar has an effect on blood sugar levels, which directly affects energy levels. Feeling sluggish even after a full nights sleep? That will be thanks to sharp spikes and declines in sugar levels causing your poor energy levels to undergo a bit of a roller-coaster ride.
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Photo Credit: Reveal.com
  1. Sugar Makes you Older – okay this one isn’t technically true it can’t actually make you age, but it can definitely make you look like you have. Sugar affects skin and can cause sagging, hence why it can make you look older than you are.
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Photo Credit: Best Anti Ageing
  1. Sugar Rots your Teeth – so this is the one you’re probably comes as no surprise, I mean who wasn’t brought up being told that too many sweets would rot your teeth. It’s important to include though as a reminder that when sugar sits on your teeth, it’s far more affective at decaying your teeth than any other foods.
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Photo Credit: Bill Frymire

So I hope you’ve enjoyed the first instalment of the Living Energetically week of posts about sugar! I would also like to just point out that although I do have a Biology degree I have no medical training and most of this information has been taken by things I have read out of interest over the years and some as part of my degree. Please consult a trained professional if you are serious about omitting sugar completely and feel you need more guidence. During the week I will also supply you with some information on natural sugars which I regularly include in my diet. I shall see you tomorrow for ‘What to Expect When Quitting’ and once again Happy New Year!

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2 thoughts on “7 Sugary Sins – Why Sugar Can Be Bad

  1. N Jones

    As an interested reader on this contemporary and current topic, I was intrigued at some of the points you’ve covered in your ‘The Seven Sugary Sins’ blog. I was surprised when reading your rationale on how sugar has a direct effect on weight; yes a high consumption of foods containing high concentrations of sugar (surcrose to be specific) could potentially cause substantial weight gain, however this is not is not as a result of the body ‘punishing you by keeping hold of fat’. High blood glucose levels (mmol/L) does have a direct on insulin secretion, which as a result could affect carbohydrate and fat utilisation, however high carbohydrate diets are usually to blame for this, and not ‘sugar’ as a singular culprit. Consuming a diet within calorific surplus is arguably the only reason for weight gain; insulin spikes are rarely responsible.

    Simply stating that sugar consumption is directly related to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stress, mental health problems contradicts current research; no studies have found a significant correlations between diets high in sucrose and the health problems stated. Clear conclusions however have been made through several published articles that diets high in fat have a direct relationship with CHD, type 2 diabetes, Obesity, etc.

    In regards to your other point, I.e. that sugar effects energy levels due to its ability to cause insulin spikes during sleep, this isn’t correct (Unless you’re type 1 diabetic and is subjected to a hypoglycemic episode due to an decline in blood glucose).
    I don’t want to go tear through your blog point by point because in some areas you do make some valid arguments, however you need to referencing your conclusions to reputable published articles if you’re highlighting certain findings in your blog.

    You are correct, sugar (surcrose) can have negative impacts on health however I do feel you’ve taken it out of context. Diets high in fat have been proven to cause the most detrimental health outcomes according to recent research, however moderation is key. When both sugar and fats are consumed in moderation, both within the foundations of a healthy calorific diet that also contains fibre, various other carbohydrate sources in addition to protein, I believe we indeed enjoy a range of foods, but also live a healthy lifestyle (this comes hand in hand with sufficient physical activity).

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    1. Hi N Jones,
      I find your feedback very interesting and have taken much of your feedback on board. I have tweeked certain parts of the article as I think you raised some valid points. Within the first draft I decided to omit certain scienctific points in order to make the article more accessible but upon reflection I agree that some more information needed to be included to provide people with accurate information.
      I also agree that omitting refined sugar isn’t for everyone and as long as you live a healthy and active lifestyle there is usually no need to take such drastic measures. In the past year however I decided to ‘quit sugar’ and have seen a dramatic change in my energy levels and overall well-being. I have always lived a active and healthy lifestyle but was shocked by how much I changed when I gave up sugar completely.
      I still eat carbohydrates such as sweet potato and brown rice regularly and I am not encouraging anyone to give up these types of food. I simply want to highlight to people how refined sugars can affect your life.
      I appreciate your comment as I feel I have now improved the article and I hope you like the changes.
      Thank you for reading the blog and for getting in touch. I look forward to hearing any future feedback or comments you may have 🙂
      LE x

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