Consistently eating too much sugar, leads to sugar addiction and can influence how food affect blood sugar levels.
Carbohydrate-containing foods have the most significant impact on blood sugar, as they break down into glucose during digestion.
Eating foods rich in unhealthy sugars, carbohydrates, such as grains (rice, bread, pasta), starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn), legumes (beans, lentils), and fruits, can raise blood sugar levels. However, carbohydrates differ in their glycaemic index (GI), which is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar. High-GI carbohydrates (e.g., refined grains, sugary snacks) cause a more rapid and significant increase in blood sugar than low-GI carbohydrates (e.g., whole grains, non-starchy vegetables).
Sweets and chocolates
Foods and drinks high in added sugars, such as soda, candy, chocolates, pastries, cookies, and sweetened desserts, can cause sharp spikes in blood sugar levels due to their high sugar content. Rather go for water, unsweetened tea, or naturally flavoured water as healthier alternatives.
Many breakfast cereals, especially those marketed towards children, are loaded with added sugars. Sweetened Cereal Bars, Fruit Snacks, Baked Goods, Cakes, cookies, muffins, and sweet breads often contain high amounts of added sugars.
Processed foods often contain added sugars, refined grains, and unhealthy fats. These can lead to rapid increases in blood sugar levels. Examples include packaged snacks, sugary cereals, sweetened beverages, and fast food.
Many condiments and sauces, such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, and salad dressings, can be high in added sugars. Check labels for sugar content or consider making your own healthier versions at home.
Foods high in dietary fibre, such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits, can have a more moderate effect on blood sugar levels. Fiber slows down the absorption of glucose, resulting in a slower and more controlled rise in blood sugar.
Consuming protein and fat alongside carbohydrates can help slow down the digestion and absorption of glucose, leading to a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Including lean protein sources (chicken, fish, tofu) and healthy fats (avocado, nuts, olive oil) in meals can help stabilize blood sugar.
Drawbacks of Eating Excessive Sugar!
Unhealthy sugars, especially in excess, can have several negative effects on your body. Here are some of the keyways in which unhealthy sugars can impact your health:
Weight Gain and Diabetes
Eating high content sugary foods and beverages, can lead to an increase in calorie intake. When these excess calories are not burned off through physical activity, they can contribute to weight gain and obesity.
A diet high in unhealthy sugars can lead to insulin resistance. This can result in elevated blood sugar levels and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Chronic Health Conditions
High sugar intake has been linked with an increased risk of heart disease. Excessive sugar can raise blood pressure and increase triglycerides in your body. This leads to the accumulation of visceral fat around the organs, all are risk factors for cardiovascular problems.
When you consume too much sugar, especially fructose, your liver can become overloaded and convert excess sugar into fat. This can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and can progress to more severe liver conditions.
Sugars can promote the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth, leading to tooth decay and cavities. Sugary drinks and snacks, in particular, are harmful to dental health.
Physical Health Conditions
Excessive sugar consumption can lead to chronic inflammation in the body. Inflammation is associated with various health problems, including arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and some cancers.
High sugar intake can affect the collagen and elastin in your skin, leading to premature aging and an increased risk of skin conditions like acne and rosacea.
Mood and Mental Health: Sugar can cause rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, which may lead to mood swings, irritability, and increased anxiety. It can also contribute to addiction-like behaviors and cravings.
Cancer: Some studies have suggested a link between high sugar intake and an increased risk of certain types of cancer, including pancreatic, colorectal, and breast cancer.
Reduced Immune Function: High sugar consumption may weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off infections, making you more susceptible to illnesses.
Digestive Issues: Sugary foods and beverages can disrupt the balance of beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gut, potentially leading to digestive problems and conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
It’s important to note that not all sugars are inherently unhealthy. Natural sugars found in whole fruits, vegetables, and dairy products come with essential nutrients, fibre, and other health benefits. The concern primarily revolves around added sugars, which are sugars added to food and beverages during processing or preparation.
To maintain good health, it’s wise to limit your intake of added sugars and focus on a balanced diet rich in whole foods. Reading food labels and being mindful of sugar content in your diet can help you make healthier choices and reduce the negative effects of excessive sugar consumption.
It’s important to note that your individual responses to different foods can vary. Factors such as your metabolic rate, insulin sensitivity, and overall health can influence how specific foods affect your blood sugar levels. So, it’s a good idea to start cutting out eating unhealthy sugars and substituting the good ones.
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