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How Sweet is Sugar? The Hidden Dangers

This article might seem a little clichéd due to the holidays coming up as many authors like to write about the dangers of all of the fun holidays treats.  I know I have a very intelligent and practical audience who understand the common dangers that sugar can have on our health so in this article I wanted to focus on some of the lesser known health risks associated with sugar so you can keep them to moderate levels during the year and be able to splurge a little more during special holiday occasions.

Sugar: Getting up to Speed

One of the biggest problems with the attempt to keep sugar consumption to moderate levels is that sugar can be found almost everywhere.  Even if you think you are avoiding the obvious locations like candy and soda there are many other products that have sugar as an ingredient that you might not be aware of.  Ketchup, energy bars, specialty coffee, dried fruit and even common lunch meats all have added sugar.

It’s not enough to avoid the obvious, we have to check the labels and see if the other unassuming products that we consume have unnecessary sugar in them to enhance the taste and texture.  With all of the consumption of sugar from different sources it won’t take long for our total daily sugar consumption to reach astronomical levels.

Lesser Known Health Risks

  • There are some common diseases associated with over-consumption of sugar including: obesity and type II diabetes but there are several other lesser know health risks associated with excessive sugar consumption; enough of which should make anyone want to keep consumption to an absolute minimum.
  • Sugar disrupts the mineral balance in the body by disrupting the pH levels in the blood.  Several different minerals like sodium, potassium, magnesium, copper and chromium are used to correct this imbalance, however when they are used for this function they are not utilized for their intended use like proper bone and muscle building and function.
  • Too much sugar increases the rate of aging of the skin causing the decrease in skin elasticity.  Skin requires healthy collagen to maintain its shape and structure.  Too much sugar in the blood decreases the use of the minerals necessary to build and maintain healthy collagen in the body.
  • Testosterone can decrease in the blood up to 25% with the consumption of sugar because of the high insulin levels associated with excessive amounts of sugar in the blood.
  • One of the most alarming correlations is found in a recent US study where cancer cells use sugar (fructose) to fuel their division and proliferation.  With cancer being one of the most prominent diseases facing mankind and with the average American consuming about 100-120lbs. of sugar per year who knows if cutting down on sugar consumption would also decrease the risk of cancer.

Conclusion

It’s a shame that we can’t simply just trust the food that we consume to be beneficial to our health and well being.  We must take it upon ourselves to truly understand that what we eat can have either significant benefits or repercussions towards our health.  We must also dig deeper beyond the basics good and bad foods and truly know what is in the other sources we are consuming.  A healthy and balanced diet comes down to the decisions we make and the dedication we instill.

References:

Cancer Cells Slurp up Fructose

Effects of Sugar on Skin and Aging

Shocking: Sugar Content of Common Food Products

Sugar: A Sweet Invitation to Disease

Sugar Kills

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Monday, November 28th, 2011 Nutrition
 

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