JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - We all know we need to take it easy on sweets, even though sometimes we can't help but to indulge. However, Dr. Vandana Bhide, with the Mayo Clinic, said there are eight ways sugar is not so sweet to our bodies.
For starters, sugar can cause weight gain because the body stores excess sugar (fructose) as fat.
We've all heard it before, “Exercise and eat right.” But if you're wondering why you're fighting persistent belly fat, it could be from excess sugar that wasn't burned off.
“Avoid having it (sugar) in concentrated forms,” Bhide said. “For example, processed foods and soda.”
One culprit of pesky belly fat that may surprise you is fruit juices.
“It doesn't have the fiber like regular fruit does, so it's much better to have fruit rather than juices, because that fiber, again, slows the absorption of sugar,” Bhide said.
Now, of course, fruit is good for you, but best if eaten in its natural forms.
“If you eat, for example, fruit, even though it's the same type of sugar, you have things like fiber in fruit, and, so, (with) the way the sugar is handled, you don't get the spike of sugar,” Bhide said.
Sugar can also be addictive.
“It stimulates the pleasure center of your brain, the reward centers, so the brain wants more,” Bhide said.
The best way to get out of the habit is to turn to natural fruit and to just push through the cravings. Your body will eventually get over the need for sugar.
Studies have shown that stress can lead to eating foods high in sugars, which can lead to weight gain, or anxiety, ultimately causing more stress.
Other studies have shown that sugar can affect the brain by contributing to depression and anxiety.
Another negative aspect of sugar consumption is hunger attacks. Sugar makes you want to eat more because insulin forces cells to absorb sugar quickly, forcing blood sugar to drop, leading to hunger attacks.
Sugar can also make your skin age faster by creating creates a process known as glycation, during which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products.
Sugar forces cells in the body to pay a steep price because sugar can cause resistance to the hormone insulin, which can contribute to many diseases.
One of the most common negative effects of sugar is crashes. A sugar crash, or reactive hypoglycemia, is the fatigue felt from low levels of glucose in the body.
“You get that spike, and then you get a lower level, so over time you have the up and down levels of stress hormones,” Bhide said. “It's better to do things like exercise, which will also decrease cortisol the stress hormone.”
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