But have you ever thought of what sugar does to your body beyond the joy it gives?
Shockingly according to modern science, sugar – in its raw form – is one of the red-flag elements you should keep off your diet.
Nutrition experts explain that sugar should definitely be in your diet, but with certain restrictions. If taken raw – more specifically in the form of candy – sugar can cause damage to your blood insulin levels and your metabolism.
You have approximately 5 liters of blood traveling around in your blood vessels and heart at any given moment. In these 5 liters of blood, you need only about one teaspoon of sugar for all of your regular activities. If you have more than a teaspoon of sugar floating through your blood vessels on a regular basis, the excess sugar will slow down your circulation and cause all of the problems you could expect to have if you had thick maple syrup clogging up your blood vessels. This is essentially what happens when a person becomes diabetic.
In order to keep the amount of sugar floating through your blood vessels at around a teaspoon, your body releases insulin whenever you eat foods that result in sugar entering your blood stream. Most carbohydrates fit this category. Sugar, most sweeteners, grains, cookies, pastries, cakes, pasta, and starchy vegetables like potatoes all lead to a release of sugar into your blood stream. Insulin works by stimulating your cells to sponge up this excess sugar out of your blood stream. Once inside your cells, sugar is used for energy, with any excess amount being converted to fat tissue.
If you eat sugary foods and too many processed carbohydrates for long enough, your body will have released so much insulin that it will begin to lose its sensitivity to insulin, which means that your cells won’t receive as strong a signal to sponge up excess sugar out of your blood. This will lead to excess sugar floating around your blood vessels and all the health problems that come with this scenario.
If you have too much sugar floating around in your blood vessels, it is likely that you also have too much insulin traveling through your system as well. Even if your fasting blood sugar level is in a healthy range, it is possible that you have too much insulin floating through your vessels, particularly if you have high triglycerides and/or are overweight. Normal blood sugar and high blood insulin can be the result of your cells losing some sensitivity to insulin, which necessitates that your body releases extra insulin into your blood circulation in an attempt to stimulate your desensitized cells into sponging up excess sugar out of your blood circulation.
Excess insulin is known to cause:
- Weight gain, since insulin promotes the storage of fat
- Lower cellular levels of magnesium, a mineral that is essential for keeping your blood vessels relaxed and your blood circulation efficient
- An increase in sodium retention, which leads to holding excess water in your system, which causes high blood pressure
- Increased amounts of inflammatory compounds in your blood, which can cause direct physical damage to your blood vessel walls and encourage the development of blood clots which can lead to heart attacks and respiratory failure
- A reduction in HDL cholesterol, an increase in undesirable small molecules of LDL cholesterol, and an increase in triglycerides, all of which increase your risk for heart disease
- Possibly a higher risk for cancer due to insulin’s ability to contribute to cell proliferation
What can you do with your food and lifestyle choices to support healthy blood sugar and insulin levels?
· Make non-starchy vegetables the foundation of your diet. Dark green leafy lettuce, tomatoes, celery, cucumber, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and all unmentioned green vegetables are excellent choices.
· Reduce or eliminate your intake of sugar and all foods that contain sugar. Some of the most concentrated sources of sugar are soft drinks, cookies, chocolate bars, donuts, pastries, ice cream, and ketchup.
· Reduce or eliminate your use of sweeteners like molasses, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, pasteurized honey, and maple syrup.
· Don’t drink fruit juices. Even freshly squeezed fruit juice taken over the long term can lead to high blood sugar and insulin levels. If you want to taste fruit, eat whole fruit, not the juice. The fiber, vitamins, and minerals that come with whole fruit help to slow down the pace at which the natural sugars from fruit enter your blood stream.
· Do activities and exercises that build or maintain your muscles. Muscle tissue acts as a storage site for extra sugar. The more muscle tissue you have, the better you can regulate your blood sugar and insulin levels.