Is sugar good or bad? You need glucose to live. Your brain needs it. But if you’ve followed the blog, you know I’m not a fan of added sugar. Recently, I heard of a conversation where someone said it’s good.
Why do I think it’s bad? Added sugar…
- Can lead to weight gain and obesity: Added sugars are high in calories but low in nutrients. When you consume too much added sugar, it can contribute to weight gain and increase your risk of developing obesity. This is because sugary foods and drinks can be high in calories and can lead to overconsumption.
- Can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes: Consuming too much added sugar can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, which can increase insulin resistance and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Can increase the risk of heart disease: High sugar intake has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, including risk factors like high blood pressure, inflammation, and high triglyceride levels.
- Can harm dental health: Consuming sugary foods and drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay and cavities, particularly if good oral hygiene practices aren't followed.
- Can increase inflammation: Consuming too much added sugar can lead to inflammation in the body, which is associated with a variety of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
Also, high dietary sugar can lead to advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which are a type of protein damage that occurs when sugars (including glucose) bind to proteins in the body. This process, known as glycation, can lead to the formation of stable, irreversible AGEs.
AGEs are known to play a role in a variety of chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and kidney disease. They can contribute to the development of these conditions by damaging proteins in the body and promoting inflammation.
When AGEs accumulate in the body, they can also contribute to the aging process by causing oxidative stress and promoting the formation of free radicals. This can lead to cellular damage, tissue dysfunction, and, ultimately, the development of age-related diseases.
AGEs can be formed naturally in the body as a result of normal metabolism, but they can also be formed as a result of consuming foods that are high in sugar and that have been cooked at high temperatures. Foods that are particularly high in AGEs include grilled, fried, or roasted meats, as well as foods that are high in added sugars.
To reduce your intake of AGEs, it's recommended to focus on a diet that is rich in whole, unprocessed foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats. You can also minimize the formation of AGEs during cooking by using lower heat settings and shorter cooking times, and by using cooking methods like steaming, boiling, or poaching instead of grilling or frying.
This last point is tough for me since I often love to pan-fry with coconut oil! But, I'll turn down the heat and look to do more with steaming!