Coming from a childhood where I would literally pour pure sugar into a cup and eat it raw, I can attest to the sugar filled environment a large majority of people are subject to. From holidays like Easter, Halloween, and Christmas, it seems that there is no escaping the inevitable sugar rush of seasons. Even though too much of the substance was believed to be harmful to your teeth (cavities), It wasn’t until later into my last few years in high school and early years in college that I began to research the substances drastic effects on the human body.
In the early stages of my search to answer the question: why is sugar bad for you? I remember being up one night studying and happen to come across an article talking about a family who “canceled” sugar from their everyday diet. In the story written from the perspective of the mother, a normal suburban family tried an experiment :to cut out sugar and observe it’s effects! About several months went by and ironically the wife detailed her increase in overall energy throughout the day. The most interesting part of the story however was how she detailed their “cheat days” : the family would allow for birthdays and other special occasions. As time went on, the family noticed they didn’t even miss the substance that was contained in almost every ingredient in their household. Since their reduction in sugar, she detailed how now she receives a headache followed by sever fatigue anytime she consumes foods high in sugar.
I remember reading this story several years back and wondering at the time if I would try it out for myself and see what was on the other side. To my surprise, in my experience with cutting out the substance my body reacted the EXACT same way! The longer I began to cut it out of my life the least tolerant my body became to it. I can also attest to the increased levels of physical and mental stamina.
The concept of using “sweetener” is believed to have been originated in the country of Polynesia in 510 B.C. During a clash between the native lands of India and Persia, a subtle sweetener was found and eventually kept secret for many years:calling it “the reed which gives honey without bees.”
Becoming very profitable in trade during the expansion of the Persian Empire, the product had become a rich commodity while the secret of how to harvest it remained closely guarded.
Later on the during the expansion of the holy Catholic church, the crusades lead it to become one of most traded items in western 11th century Europe. Some calling it the exotic spice from god himself!
Also, its no secret that sugar can also made its way to the Americas becoming one of the most popular commodities.
Sugar Today, and It’s Effect on Mainstream Society
Sugar comes in many forms and is contained in the tissue of every single plant. Through a process called photosynthesis, sugar is created as the plant’s food source: this gives way to the sweet tasting fruits we’ve all known to come and love.
Sugar today can come from a variety of different sources which also dictate the grain of sugar themselves.
The raw unrefined sugars of the industry contain carbohydrates such as :
The table sugars which make their appearance in most of the foods we eat, contain sucrose.
Today, it’s no stranger to anyone sugar’s mass infiltration into the homes of everyday American life:”The average person consumes about 24 kilograms (53 lb) of sugar each year (33.1 kg in developed countries), equivalent to over 260 food calories per person, per day. Since the latter part of the twentieth century, it has been questioned whether a diet high in sugars, especially refined sugars, is good for human health.” ( Wikipedia.org)
Why is Sugar Bad for You?
Like with a large portion of the food we eat today, there is a difference between organic and processed (refined) products. When it comes to the natural raw sugars found in the membranes of plant’s, their is little refute in it’s necessity in our bodies. However, the sugar that most of us consume on a daily basis that makes it’s way to our everyday household items comes with a few issues.
For example, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont, Rachel Johnson details the effects of high refined sugar becoming linked with lowering cholesterol levels, increasing blood pressure, promoting inflammation, and it’s correlation with heart disease.
She states that although, the substance itself if abused and cause serious ailments, in healthy amounts it is virtually harmless.
“There’s a couple issues with sugar. The biggest thing is that there’s no nutritional value. Foods that tend to have a lot of sugar added, they don’t provide the satiety that you get from other more healthful foods, so people tend to consume more calories when they eat foods with more sugar in it.” (Director of nutrition and medical affairs at the ADA)
Foods high in refined sugar also enormously contribute to the epidemic of obesity by containing high amount of “bad” calories. Obesity is directly linked with heart failure, cancer, gout, diabetes, muscle weakness, and many others.
If your ever wondering if the food your are consuming is either too high , or contains unrefined sugars, check the label of the ingredients your eating.
Considering the negative effects refined sugar can have on the body, cells still require sugar to convert into energy. How one chooses the dosage of the intake affects the process enormously. All in all, sugar, just like with any other substance has its place in our everyday diet but just in appropriate amounts. Its been proven that its safe to consume high sugar foods occasionally but overconsuption could land you in a hospital bed.
So, to answer the question as to whether or not sugar is bad for you: a simple answer would be, it depends on the amount and type of sugar we’re talking about!