How much Sugar? such a loaded question. Let’s first understand what sugar is used for. It is the preferred fuel for the brain, kidneys and red blood cells. It is the first fuel source that the body draws on for energy.
We can put sugar into two classification: Simple and Complex meaning Sweet or Starch based.
The Simple Sugars include; soft drinks, fruit juice, and sweets. The body typically stores these as fat as the body does not utilise the amount of energy they provide.
Other names for simple sugars include; Corn Sugar, Honey, Maple Syrup, Molasses, Golden Syrup
The Complex Sugars include; Green Vegetables, Brown Rice, Wholegrain Breads and Pasta, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Corn, Carrots, Sweet Potato, Beans, Lentils, Peas, and Oatmeal. These foods are often rich in fibre which is important for bowel health and they are high in vitamins and minerals which the body requires for many metabolic processes.
Fructose – Even though fructose is classified as a low GI, the body utilises it differently. The liver requires an enzyme to convert fructose to glucose. The liver is the only place that can take up the fructose. If the body cannot use the glucose converted from the fructose in the liver, the body will convert in into fat which is stored in the liver and as science is seeing today this is also now causing fatty liver disease.
So how much sugar should we consume. Remember that 4.2 grams = 1 Teaspoon of sugar. We should try to limit our daily intake of sugar to 6 teaspoons or around 22 grams. Try tracking your food on a calorie counter app, you might be surprised how hard it can be to keep your sugars around 6 teaspoons. Tracking is a great way to make changes.
Effects of Sugar:
Your Brain: Eating sugar gives you a brain surge through a chemical process called Dopamine. When the brain gets used to having sugar it starts to crave it more and more to get the Dopamine (feel good hormone) release. Studies have linked a high sugar intake to a greater risk of depression in adults.
Your Teeth: Sugar can accelerate tooth decay
Your Skin: Excess sugar attaches to proteins in your bloodstream and creates molecules called “AGEs,” which age your skin. They damage collagen and elastin in your skin. This results in wrinkles UGG!
Your Joints; Sugar as been known to be a precursor of joint pain. Sugar causes inflammation in the body which will create a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Sugar also effects your Heart, Pancreas, Kidneys, and not to mention your Body Weight.