Sugar, the deadly danger drug
According to the scientific community an excess of sugar can lead to serious pathologies. Weight gain is just one of the effects that include diabetes, heart disease and other disorders.
Refined sugar is considered a drug as it is increasingly difficult to do without it.
Let’s see which are the effects of sugars on our body and what to do to fight them effectively.
How the body process sugar
Sugars, carbohydrates, and saccharides are an essential energy source for our body. Together with the foods that contain them, the sugars are metabolized in different phases. Complex sugars are divided into glucose, fructose and galactose through the passage into the digestive tract until they reach the liver.
The liver converts fructose and galactose into glucose. To this the liver conveys the glucose to the cells that need energy. When an excess of sugaris present the liver stores it in the form of glycogen, and transforms the rest into lipids.
The supply of glucose in the blood must be continuous and this occurs through the glycemia which keeps it constant. When the glucose level rises, for example after meals, then the insulin intervenes which brings the levels back to normal.
This natural process is very complex and delicate. Our body is programmed to deal with an excess of sugar from time to time, but what if the process is put to the test for a long time?
Why high blood sugar is dangerous
Taking too many sugars compared to our body real needs leads to many problems and disorders.
First of all it causes an increase in weight and fat, especially belly fat. It takes just a few months to gain some pounds, but this is just a first step. Understand this is not only an aesthetic problem as it is a signal that hides other issues. In fact behind the weight gain is also hidden the increase in cholesterol which can lead to cardio-circulatory desease.
Also, when there are too many sugars in our bood, glycemia increases and consequently increases insulin in the blood. At this point the glycemia falls below normal levels causing fatigue, drowsiness, lack of concentration and shortly after giving a feeling of hunger that drives us to eat even more.
Over time, insulin cannot cope with its task and is no longer produced regularly. It is at this point that we develop type II diabetes. Once we are used to a diet rich in complex sugars, sweets, snacks, fruit juices, it is harder to go back. Why, despite all these dangers, can’t we give up sweets?
Sugar is a drug
Many studies have confirmed that sugar is almost as addictive as a drug. In addition to the glycaemia and insulin mechanism that leads to hunger, has been studied the effect of sugar on the brain.
Sugar acts on the part of the brain associated with the control of emotions. Almost like alcohol and nicotine, sugar is perceived as a pleasure that the brain continues to seek and demand.
Addiction is even more difficult to eradicate if it starts from an early age. Children who eat a lot of sweets, candies and ice cream without any rules, are much more likely to develop obesity and diabetes as adults.
So if you can’t get on a diet and give up sweets you have to consider a set of physiological and psychological processes built up over the years that are hard to fight. Yet once the causes are known, the trend can be reversed.
In fact, if it is true that eating more sweets leads to want even more, slowly decreasing the doses can make you get out of the vicious circle and return to a healthy and balanced diet
Understand the difference between natural sugar and refined sugar
Processed foods such as snacks, soft drinks and ice creams contain a higher concentration of sugar, especially refined sugar, with little or no nutritional value. These are the most dangerous products for health and the first we must learn to recognize.
Following are the carbohydrates derived from cereals. Bread, pasta, pizza, cakes and other baked goods are complex carbohydrates, and even if they come from natural products such as wheat, they are processed and refined and contain a high concentration of sugars.
Finally come the processed fruit juices and drinks. There are many types of juices and many of these contain between only 20 and 30% of fruit with a significant amount of added sugar. These are even more insidious because they give us the idea of drinking a healthy drink.
Natural sugars are present in most foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and milk. Natural sugar requires more time to be metabolized, it avoids the glycemic peak and does not involve health risks.
Tips to avoid and replace refined sugar
Let’s see some practical advice on how to reduce refined sugar.
Reduce gradually. If you are used to take tea or coffe with 3 teaspoons of sugar, begin to use only 2 and a half teaspoon for a few days. Then pass to 2 teaspoons and continue to decrease the dose in the following weeks. Trying to eliminate sugar all together can be counterproductive and could
Use sweeteners. If you can’t drink bitter coffee at all you can use sweeteners, but choose natural ones. For example, stevia is a plant extract that works perfectly and gives a slight aftertaste similar to licorice that can give a new aroma to your coffee. Stevia is also excellent as a substitute in the preparation of sweets, creams and baked food because it has zero calories.
Dark chocolate and bitter cocoa. When you feel like dessert after meals, you can avoid the sweet and eat a small piece of bitter cocoa or dark chocolate (at least 80%). Just a few grams and the bitter sweet taste of cocoa will overcome your sugar craving. Unlike chocolates, natural bitter cocoa contains a very little amount of sugar while has mineral salts capable of boosting morale without affecting diet.
Eat fresh fruit. When you feel like eating away from meals, eat only fresh fruit. If possible with the peel. Apples and pears are the fruits with the least concentration of sugar, but you can prepare a small fruit salad with the addition of some grapes, banana or melon, to mix flavors and aromas.
Chew. In addition to a high concentration of sugars and fats, desserts, ice creams, creams and fruit juices have such a consistency that it melts in the mouth, gives us immediate pleasure but does not take away hunger. Not forget that chewing plays an important role in satisfying hunger, if you skip this step you will remain unsatisfied. Furthermore, when you chew the food you spend more time eating and you tend to introduce less food into the body.
This also applies to natural foods, in fact drink a glass of fresh orange juice in a few seconds it is different than eating two whole oranges. Althought sugar and calories are quite the same, whole oranges will fill the stomach for a few hours.
A sugar substitute: honey
Once you reduce the content of refined sugar in our diet and eliminate excesses, you will notice that the taste for food has changed and you will appreciate the more delicate flavors.
Among the many sugar substitutes there is honey, a natural food rich in mineral salts. For the same weight, honey contains a slightly lower quantity of sugar. For 100 g of white sugar we have 99, 98 g of sugar, while for 100 g of honey we have 82 g of sugar. Even if the difference is minimal, honey has a greater sweetening power than refined sugar and by its nature and consistency can be used in smaller quantities.
For example, when a cake recipe requires a cup of white sugar, we can replace it with half a cup of honey. So if we are used to using two teaspoons of sugar in tea, we can only put one of honey, and so on.
How to swap honey for sugar in recipes
To live well and in health it is not necessary to completely give up sweets, and on many occasions we cannot do without them. For example, if we want to make a nice birthday cake or breakfast biscuits. Let’s see some delicious recipe with honey.
Whole-grain honey biscuits
300g whole wheat flour
125 g yogurt
2 teaspoons baking soda
Start smashing the softened butter in a bowl. Add the whole wheat flour little by little and the baking powder continuing to mix. Add the honey and mix until it forms a sandy mixture. Finally add the yogurt and vanilla extract.
Place the dough into a piping bag and make biscuits of all shapes. Bake the biscuits at 356°F for 20-25 minutes.
Soft honey cake
250 g honey
150 ml milk
2 teaspoons baking soda
Whip the eggs with the honey until they become clear and frothy, then add slowly milk and the softened butter.
Mix flour with baking soda and add it to the mixture a little at a time. Pour the mixture in a cake pan and bake at 340°F for about 45 minutes. After cooking let it cool completely, remove the cake from the pan and sprinkle with icing sugar.
Fruit salad with honey
1 tablespoon honey
Wash and peel the fruit and cut it into pieces. Put it in a pan and add a glass of water, some raisins, a pinch of cinnamon and honey. Cook the fruit for about 15 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes. Serve the fruit salad with some dark chocolate flakes on top.
An excess of sugar can lead to serious health problems. To reduce the quantities and replace it with natural products, you need to know the food and its composition. Thanks to constant attention you can reverse the trend and rediscover healthy and natural foods without giving up the desire for dessert. As soon as you start you will find things easier!