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FOOD & NUTRITION BLOG
It is shocking to know how much sugar we consume in a single day. I watched this intriguing documentary called, Fed Up, that highlights the main reason why obesity and being overweight is now an epidemic for the developed and developing nations. You may not be surprised that the main culprit is in fact sugar, and not fat (as many people used to believe). We had a trend of making everything low fat in the 1980s and 90s, but the documentary made an interesting point that as we lowered or eliminated the fat content, food industries have upped the sugar content to make it more palatable.
Sugar is like a drug to the body- it is incredibly addicting and the body reacts in ways that are similar to when you take actual drugs. You feel an incredible sense of euphoria with surges of feel-good hormones like dopamine being released in your body. Studies on obese children have also shown that their brains light up differently when they eat sugar. Sugar in high amounts over time wrecks havoc on the body and leaves behind an unsavory aftermath of chronic disease and sky high medical bills.
It was discovered that sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) accounted for a large portion of daily calories consumed. SSBs are any beverages with added sugar- these would include any flavored juices, sweetened tea, non-diet sodas, energy drinks, coffee drinks, sports drinks and electrolyte replacement drinks. SSBs have little to no nutritional value and have been linked to increasing rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.
Here’s a helpful infographic to show you how much sugar is in drinks you may normally drink:
Most of these drinks are empty calories that consumed without much thought can add unnecessary calories in your day and usually goes straight to your tummy fat (the liver converts the stored sugars into fats, so that the excess energy can be transported to the fat cells for longer-term storage)! In addition, the surge of sugar in your system makes your pancreas go into hyper drive to pump out insulin, a hormone used to decrease the amount of blood glucose in your bloodstream. Continual abuse of your pancreas and insulin overproduction can lead to insulin resistance and a slew of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dental caries, gout, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In addition, drinking high calorie, high sugar beverages also contributes to increased hunger following the drop of blood sugar after insulin kicks in. SSBs can contribute to obesity because many individuals fail to compensate for the added calories from their beverages which result in consumption of excess calories and sugar.
It's pretty obvious that the drink of choice is water, even though the majority of individuals simply don't drink enough in a day! To address this, you can check out my blog post on 5 easy ways to drink more water which you can find here.
Next time you reach for a drink, be aware of what kind of drink you're reaching for- sugary drinks only make you more dehydrated and won't hydrate you in the same way that water can. Good luck and make wise drink choices!
Information on the documentary Fed Up --> click HERE
News article on the effect of sugar on brain activity--> click HERE
Article on SSBs--> click HERE
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