Sugar - the sneaky substance lurking in almost everything we consume. Somehow, sugar always manages to find its way into our diet. Cakes, sugared drinks, candy and baked goods are usually the main sources of sugar in our diet. However, even savoury foods such as bread and rice contain sugar as well, making it all too easy for our sugar intake to spike.
While you have probably heard the saying “consuming too much sugar is bad for you”, chances are the consequences never fully registered in your mind. We all know too much sugar is bad, but how exactly does it detriment our body? Read on for a closer look on how excessive sugar consumption can ruin your health.
More often than not, sugary food are made up of ‘empty’ calories, which are lacking in nutrients and usually do not keep you full. Thus, this lack of satiety can lead to over-consumption of more foods that are high in empty calories. Accompanied with a sedentary lifestyle, these extra calories are stored in the body as fat and result in weight gain over time. If this bad habit further escalates, the risk of obesity will increase as well.
Insulin, a hormone, is responsible for regulating sugar levels in the human body. High insulin levels will convert excess glucose into glycogen to be stored in the body. Thus, a diet high in sugar will lead to prolonged periods of high insulin levels, causing the body to be desensitized to it. Eventually, glucose will build up in the blood as insulin loses its ability to convert glucose to glycogen.
This common disease often occurs as a result of insulin resistance. The persistently high blood glucose levels can eventually result in a multitude of other complications, such as high blood pressure and bad vision.
Fructose is a component of table sugar and high fructose corn syrup (often found in processed foods). High consumption of sugar, especially fructose, can cause the liver to go into overdrive, triggering it to store fat more efficiently. A diet high in fructose can lead to a fat building up in the liver over time, leading to the phenomenon of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The term ‘sugar rush’ should not be unfamiliar to any of us here. Unfortunately, bad news wait for those who rely on a mountain of sugary food for that spike of energy or adrenaline. After a sugar rush, unrelenting fatigue usually follows after the crash. This only results in craving for more sugar, which creates a vicious cycle. Sugar has also been known to trigger the release of serotonin, a sleep regulator, causing you to feel even more exhausted than before. So much for a sugar rush!
Insulin resistance has shown to be linked to high blood pressure - consistently high insulin levels may cause the muscle surrounding the walls of arteries to grow faster than normal. This causes tense arteries and can restrict blood flow, eventually leading to high blood pressure.
Now that you know more about the detriments of a high sugar diet, make sure to cut down on it before your health goes down the drain. One great substitute for sugary drinks would be tea, which is sugar free and high in nutrients and antioxidants. Be sure to check out Nilufer Tea for some amazing organic tea options! They are not only delicious, but also contain a hint of subtle sweetness to satisfy your sweet tooth without giving you the unwanted health problems.
While the sugary goodness of a doughnut seems to be the obvious choice for a quick breakfast or snack, the harms of a doughnut far outweigh the momentary sweet thrill that your brain craves. On the other hand, while herbal tea may not be everyone's number one choice, it will leave you feeling energetic, refreshed and optimised to do your best. Not only are herbal teas the healthier option, they come in a wide variety of flavours such that you would surely be able to find something that you like. Still thinking of herbal teas as weird concoctions of strange brown liquid that you might get from a TCM practitioner? Read on to open your mind to the natural sweetness of teas, especially floral ones, and the benefits they provide as opposed to the sweet deception of doughnuts.
Teas such as lemon tea help to detoxify your blood helping to stave off fatigue and lethargy. If your tiredness is due to poor sleep, teas with ingredients such as chamomile, valerian or lavender help to relax, leading to a better night of rest and better productivity in the morning. The sugar in doughnuts gives you energy in the form of empty calories. Empty calories are calories that do not provide you with any kind of nutrition – they are just plain energy. While this sounds amazing at about 3pm when you are trying to continue working or studying through your lethargy, it really does not benefit you much. The sugar found in doughnuts will give you a quick pick-me-up but it also leads to an inevitable sugar crash a few hours later. Herbal teas on the other hand do not work as quickly as sugar does but they target your body’s deficiencies and impact your overall health.
The truth is you won't stop at one doughnut, would you? Once you have had one, you definitely get the urge to polish off the others in the box. Poor self-control aside, there are scientific reasons for this craving. Consuming sugar releases the same chemical – dopamine – in the brain as taking drugs. Since your brain feels rewarded by the sugar, it is no surprise that you begin to crave more and more of it. With increased sugar intake comes a whole host of problems such obesity and insulin resistance. Replace sugary food with a flavourful cup of tea and not only will you be reaping a whole slew of benefits, your craving for sugar will drastically decrease. With teas, there is no danger of addiction especially if you are careful to choose teas made of organic ingredients and with no added caffeine or sugar.
It has long been thought that saturated fat is the leading factor of clogged blood vessels but recent studies show that there is also a strong association between heart disease and added sugar consumption. The Havard Health Blog discusses a 15 year study on the effects of sugar on health and reports people who took more than 25% of their daily intake of calories as sugar are twice as likely to die from heart disease. While having a doughnut once in a while won’t kill you immediately, it is important to take note of your daily sugar consumption in order to stay in the pink of cardiovascular health. Teas such as green and white tea help to reduce the risks of such diseases.
Fortify your skin with specially selected teas made of ingredients such as rooibos, ginger and peppermint for clearing the skin and giving it a glow. Even though the chocolate-glazed-rainbow-sprinkled fried piece of heaven looks beautiful to you, once it passes through your mouth it is as not pretty and wrecks havoc on your skin. Sugary doughnuts cause a massive change in your blood sugar levels which leads to inflammation. This inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin which means your skin is more likely to sag and wrinkle. The more sugar there is in your blood, the faster you age. Teas not only purify your blood, they can also help with your digestive system which in turn keeps your skin looking healthy.
For teas that can keep your youthful skin looking radiant, try the Ginger Rooibos Tea which contains a wealth of anti-inflammation properties!
With all the dangers of sugar looming in the horizon, you might forget about the immediate harm done to yourself. With the consumption of sugar, you are providing the bacteria in your mouth easy access to energy which in turn does not bode well for your oral health. Some tea ingredients such as ginger, cinnamon and lemongrass are anti-bacterial or anti-inflammatory work to decrease such problems.
You may think that herbal tea will never achieve the sweet pleasure that doughnuts provide, but there are some herbal teas, such as Nilufer Tea, which actually have the natural sweetness graced by the high quality ingredients within the unassuming sachet. With the benefits that herbal teas provide, our quality of health and life can increase and it is definitely worth it to include it into your diet. They definitely taste as good as they look!