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Health & Medicine

The Dangers of Sugar

— October 3, 2019

There is one habit you can start practicing that can change everything, reading food labels.

Sugar is a double-edged sword. On one side, it makes us happy to indulge in and tastes delicious and on the other side, it can have some serious repercussions to our health and mental state. The American Heart Association suggests that females consume 6 teaspoons of sugar a day and males consume 9 teaspoons. It is reported that the average American partakes in 24 teaspoons of sugar a day, well above the average. Is this because of irresponsible eating or because of lack of knowledge? Turns out it can be both in many cases.

The first thing that happens when we indulge in sugar is we feel good. Why does that happen? Well, when a large amount of sugar first enters the body, our brain gets dumped with a bunch of dopamine, the pleasure chemical. Think about that first bite of a cookie, it’s always the best bite! We’re also likely to get a boost of energy from it because the cells in our body instantly turn to the sugar to burn for energy. Unfortunately, it will burn out the sugar very quickly and look for more which is why it’s common to not feel very good a little while after indulging. When you look at these simple facts, it really shows you how powerful of an effect sugar can have on the body.

What happens to some people? They love that initial feeling sugar gives them and when they start to crash they go look for some more; it’s not farfetched to

Man in blue hoodie sitting on sofa; image by Christian Erfurt, via
Man in blue hoodie sitting on sofa; image by Christian Erfurt, via

compare sugar to something like a drug addiction. I’ve tried to quit sugar completely before and it was nearly impossible. My body would be craving for some and if I saw something sweet in a weak moment I would give in very quickly. The aim however is to reduce sugar intake, not completely eliminate it. 

How dangerous is sugar? Well it can cause things such as:

  • Increase risk of heart disease
  • Acne
  • Increase risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Depression
  • Major cavities
  • Weight Gain

So how do we reduce sugar intake? There is one habit you can start practicing that can change everything, reading food labels. Nutritional values are on practically everything but meat and produce at a supermarket. Unfortunately in today’s advertising world, many things advertise their product as healthy when in reality it contains enough sugar to put you well beyond what the AMA suggests. Things like protein bars, yogurt, condiments and pre-made smoothie drinks can have a deceivingly high amount of sugar thus why reading nutrition labels can really change how you view what is good for you and not. 

As I mentioned earlier, quitting/reducing sugar can be as hard as quitting drugs, I would know as I have been sober for nearly five years. The hard part about it is that most advertising focuses on unhealthy options and it is impossible to ignore. The hardest part is always just getting started. After a few weeks, your body will start to reward you greatly and will improve areas of your life you didn’t even know would be affected. Just know this, sugar is dangerous and it will have a major impact on your life at some point if you continue to indulge in too much. 

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