The Hidden Dangers of Sugar - 310 Blog

The Hidden Dangers of Sugar

There are so many types of sugars, but though delicious, not all of them are so sweet to your body. Sugars in your body can come  from dietary carbohydrates, not just from those sugar packets you add to your food or drinks. As you probably know, carbohydrates are found in bread, pasta, rice, vegetables, processed foods, and even fruits. These carbohydrates get broken down by the enzyme amylase, which converts those sugars into its simplest form, called Glucose.  Glucose is the primary source of energy for the body.

Not all carbs are bad. Where should we get carbohydrates from? Nutrient dense foods! You can actually get all the carbohydrates you need from green leafy veggies. But if you want something sweeter, fruits are nutrient dense and contain fiber to help keep us full. However, if we eat too many carb-filled foods that don’t contain nutrients and fiber or contain large amounts of added sugar, our body won’t use the glucose for energy. Instead, these empty carbs can get stored as fat and  potentially cause low-grade chronic inflammation, weight gain, high cholesterol, allergies, imbalanced rations of good and bad gut bacteria and many other complications.

Not All Sweeteners Are Created Equal.

A zero calorie sugar substitute still organically mimics sugar but is slightly altered or kinked making it unrecognizable by the human body, which is why it still has that similar sweet taste. Here’s a list of sugar substitutes,  in order from worst to least harmful:

  1. Cyclamate
  2. Saccharin
  3. Acesulfame-Potassium
  4. Aspartame
  5. Sucralose
  6. Stevia

If sugar is essential why is it so frowned upon?

Why do carbohydrates and sugars have such a bad rep? The real reason is portion sizes. Many of us consume a diet very high in carbohydrates and added sugars. This chronic overload has been the leading cause for diet related diseases like diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, endocrine/hormonal disorders, candida, heart disease and even links to cancer. For more information on diabetes check out our former blog “Can you avoid being diabetic?” Humans aren’t the only ones addicted to sugar. Bacteria literally lives off it! The most common risks for Candida also known as Yeast overgrowth, is having an unbalanced diet. A sugar detox is one effective natural remedy to lower candida/yeast in our body.

What’s the recommended intake for sugar?

There’s no set recommendation for added sugar. Different health organizations worldwide have made consistent suggestions on daily sugar intake. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends having no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men. You can get that in one 8 ounce soda! The AHA limits for children vary depending on their age and caloric needs, but range between 3-6 teaspoons (12 – 25 grams) per day. One granola bar alone can be 12-25 grams.

This being said, the average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons (82 grams) every day. That’s about 66 pounds of added sugar per person, every year! Holy cow! A lot of you might be thinking to yourself. Not me! Right? But sugar can be sneaky and if you’re not fully aware of those hidden sugars, they can all add up.  It’s easy to exceed those limits. The largest consumption of sugar typically comes from beverages. One 12 oz. soda contains 11 teaspoons (46.2 grams) of added sugar in just one single serving, which is close to double the daily sugar allowance suggested by the American Heart Association. The USA markets sugar very pervasively. One glass of that healthy cup or Orange Juice can range from 20 to even 40 grams of sugar depending on brand. One sport drink can be equivalent to two Krispy Kreme donuts! How do we spot these sneaky sugars? Flip the product around and read that nutrition label before purchasing. The FDA requires all added sugars to be on the label right under carbohydrates.

Sugar is addicting!

I think we all know that! It’s actually mental and physical.  Studies suggest that sugar causes characteristics of craving and withdrawal, similar to addictive properties of drugs such as cocaine and alcohol. Increasing your consumption of sugars increases the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. The most predominant neurotransmitters are serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin is known to help regulate our mood, social behavior, appetite, digestion, sleep, and memory. Dopamine functions in the brain as a type of motivational reward, with addiction properties that can affect our behavior.. Neuroscientists at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge published a study in the  “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”  on our brain’s neurotransmitters activity while on sugar. They  found that a carbohydrate-rich meal increases the ratios of tryptophan which converts to serotonin and tyrosine, eventually converting to dopamine (the feel-good chemical) in significant amounts. This identifies some of the causes of the addictive properties in sugar. Other research was done using brain-scanning technology by “The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse” which documented changes in brain chemistry while on sugar, highlighting parts of the brain that experience pleasure similar to that of drug addiction. Another study on the addictions of sugar done by Dr. Serge Ahmed, a scientist with the University of Bordeaux in France found that 94 percent of lab rats wanted sugar or saccharin (sweet and low) over the drug Cocaine. Sugar is very addicting as we see here in multiple studies. If you’re thinking about ridding yourself of sugar, you’re not alone. More and more research and awareness is emerging about the addictiveness of sugar. All this talk convincing you to try a sugar detox?


Try a Sugar/Keto detox!

Make sure you’re getting a diet rich in dark leafy greens, colorful vegetables, healthy fats and lean meats. Healthy fats are nuts, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and nut butters. If you have dairy you can have low fat cheese and plain greek yogurt that’s very low in sugar try and aim for less than 5 grams. Protein buy lean meats, when shopping look for 90 percent lean or higher. You can always snack on left overs or have leftovers for lunch, breakfast or snacks. Fruit has sugar, even though they are packed with vitamins and minerals you should not consume while on a sugar detox. Zero to low carbohydrate meal replacements like our 310 Shakes are perfect while on this detox!

Try to consume small portions every 2-3 hours for more energy. If you find yourself overeating we have you covered with our 310 Thin containing natural nutrients that are linked to suppressing appetite and curving those cravings. If your first meal is at 8:00 am your last meal should be 8:00 pm, get that 12 hour fast in!  Make sure you’re consuming adequate amounts of water. Get about 8 servings of 8 ounces of water a day.

Exercise should be a routine of light cardio to sweat out toxins. Try to complete at least 20 minutes of cardio or activity, and aim for 3-5 times a week. Go at your own pace. A sugar detox takes a lot of commitment, for your best success, try to premake meals for the week. Try it for 2, even 3 weeks long! A sugar detox can have a few side effects, one of them being fatigue and irritability. This should only last the first 4 days. 310 has you covered on low carbohydrate energy options, try our 310 Tea which now comes in delicious peach flavor, our 310 Metaboost to help you get through that work out!

310 can help you Detox!
Try our Complete Detox kit to help detox not only those sugar cravings but other toxins that might have built up during our lifetime. Replace 1 to 2  meals a day with our 310 Protein shakes which are sugar, soy protein, gluten and dairy free. What should I experience after I detox?

When you’re finished with the sugar detox, you’ll finally break free and have less cravings for sugar. Make sure to keep it up with the low carb meals after the detox.  Post our blog on social media with the hashtag #310sugarfree to spread the word!  You can join our Facebook 310 nutrition community for questions and information on all your nutritional needs 😊

About The Author:

Teresa Parker

BS Nutritional Sciences – University of Connecticut

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