Is there anything better than waking up in the morning to the smell of sweet, warm,sugary cinnamon rolls? Going out for a nice, cold, refreshing ice cream cone after a long, hot day? Or feeling flushed with nostalgia around Halloween time, ripping open a bunch of fun-sized trick-or-treated candies? Ever since we were little, we’ve constantly heard: “Don’t eat too many sweets! All that sugar and you’ll have a mouthful of cavities!” So, yes, we all know that sugar can cause tooth decay and cavities and similar dental problems.
But what else is so bad about sugar?
I consider myself a healthy eater, for the most part. I make sure every day to eat fruit, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and everything else I’ve been told is good for me. Of course I eat ice cream and cookies and junk, too, but I do try to eat well most of the time. Sometimes, though, I’m confused. Fruit is really healthy, but some of it is loaded with sugar. Is that sugar okay, because it’s naturally occurring? Or is it equally as bad as eating a Hershey bar? That’s what I am planning to find out.
Dr. Mercola, a NY Times Best Selling Author, seems to have a lot to say about sugar. He discussed an experimental study in rats that were fed fructose (another name for sugar) solutions. The rats fed fructose showed cognitive impairment. An infographic found on his website showed that sugar increases the risk of serious medical problems like heart attack, diabetes, arthritis, and more. It is also one of the main culprits and gateways to obesity, a growing problem in our world.
Americans definitely eat too much refined sugar in their diets. It is cheap and accessible, and delicious, too.
But what, again, is the difference between eating a sugary banana and a sugary twinkie?
According to Organics, there are two types of naturally occurring sugars, and a couple of times of refined sugars. Fructose and Glucose are the natural ones. High fructose corn syrup, table sugar, molasses, and many other types are refined sugars. They are processed types and are the kinds found in delicious treats we encounter every day. Glucose is essential in the human diet. Excess of any sugar is not good, but it is indeed healthier to eat natural sugars because they come from foods that contain many other nutrients, such as dietary fiber and vitamins and antioxidants.
So, essentially, there are more consequences than cavities from consuming too much sugar. Sugar is correlated with weight gain and obesity. Sugar is an addiction, actually. Obesity can lead to many other diseases, too, like heart disease. Sugar can also have damaging effects on all different parts of the body and increases risk of things like heart attack.
It is better to eat naturally occurring sugars from things like fruit, and glucose is absolutely necessary for energy. Naturally occurring sugars are better because they usually go hand-in-hand with lots of other nutrients.
In general, though, we should be conscious and cautious about consuming too much sugar. Too much of anything is not a good thing.