The recommended daily amount of sugar is 6 tablespoons for women and 9 tablespoons for
men. Unfortunately, Americans are averaging around 20 tablespoons of added sugar per day.
This number does not include the natural sugars found in such things as fruits and milk. The
high daily consumption of sugar is detrimental to our daily wellbeing and is proving to be
dangerous for our systems.
In The Brain
The effects of sugar start with the first bite, sending signals to the brain that raise dopamine
levels. And like with other addictions, more and more sugar is needed to achieve the satisfied
feeling. This increased need is what leads to over consumption.
And a study showed the brain can take glucose and change it into fructose. Fructose is the
sugar that will tell the brain, the body is not full. This also leads to over consumption.
The raised dopamine must eventually come down to be regulated. It is suggested this process
is leading to depression, beyond the sugar ‘crash’ because of the messages sent to the brain.
When not regulated, a dangerous cycle with the brain leads to impairment of function.
In small amounts, sugar does not lead to weight gain, especially when there is plenty of
exercise. However, sugar in all its forms, when consumed in higher amounts, will lead to
considerable weight gain. And unfortunately, having a ‘sweet tooth’ is not the only issue with
weight and sugar. Sugar is present in more than just desserts and sweets. Sugar is also added
to savory items such as BBQ sauce and ketchup. It can also be found in canned soup! And just
when you think low fat yogurt and protein bars are a healthy option, you find added sugar.
Much like with the brain, there is an unfavorable cycle with sugar and weight. The pancreas
produces insulin every time you eat, and too much sugar builds an insulin resistance. Insulin is
the hormone to transfer the glucose to cells to convert into energy. The resistance makes it
harder to be active and weight gain harder to lose.
Precursor to Disease
These effects on the brain and weight are leading to diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes. Also,
because of the fat accumulation around it, the liver cannot function properly. And since sugar
raises uric acid levels, kidney and heart disease development are a concern.
But these concerns can be alleviated. To avoid short term effects and long term danger, sugar
must be decreased to safer amounts. Since the added sugars are sometimes disguised, care
must be taken with all food and drinks by reading labels and keeping track of daily amounts.
And then these lowered amounts of sugar will help overall health.