Effects of sugar on health

Effects of sugar on health

You may understand that white cane sugar is bad for you in many ways, yet still not totally understand why. For a start, it’s just “empty calories” – no nutrients – and its consumption creates a mineral deficit, i.e. it depletes mineral levels in your body.

Ingesting sugar, (white, brown or raw) can cause a too-rapid rise in blood sugar. Unless you happen to be exercising furiously while you’re eating, your body can’t possibly use this energy all at once.

In an effort to rid the bloodstream of excess sugar, your pancreas releases a big supply of insulin, forcing the cells to accept the excess sugar, not for immediate energy, but for immediate storage as fat. In some people, this insulin surge is also followed by a precipitous drop in energy and strong cravings for still more sugar. (Yes sugar is addictive!)

When this happens too regularly the pancreas cells become less effective in releasing insulin, creating insulin resistance.

Another type of sugar which is particularly nasty is high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). It sounds natural, (after all corn is a vegetable). But it works in the same way as can sugar.

Good alternatives: Pure honey in moderation provides us with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. But remember that it is still a sugar, so don’t consume too much. Stevia, (a herb), in its natural form provides concentrated sweetness without raising blood sugar levels. Stevia extract is available from health shops, but some commercial stevia contains other ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and is not much better than artificial sweeteners, so be careful about the brand you choose, e.g. Nirvana is a pure extract. Coconut sugar is expensive, but contains minerals so is a healthier choice than cane sugar. Fresh fruit provides a sweet treat, but even fruit too should be eaten in moderation, because an overload of fructose will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. One or two pieces of fruit a day is a healthy choice.