Sugar is a carbohydrate, just like bread, rice, cereal and potatoes. When people talk about sugar they are usually referring to sucrose, the most commonly used sweetener. However there are many types of sugars, including sucrose, glucose and fructose found in plant foods, and lactose, found in milk. Like any other carbs, sugar is broken down into glucose, which is used by the body as an energy source.
If you are a competitive athlete, sugar has the benefit of offering quick energy during intensive training or competition, but if you aren’t doing a huge amount of high-intensity exercise, your body is likely to store those extra calories as fat!
Eating lots of sugar can contribute to the following:
Sugar is by far the leading cause of dental deterioration – cavities in teeth, bleeding gums and loss of teeth
Sugar is the main cause of diabetes
Increases overgrowth of the candida yeast organism
Increases chronic fatigue
Can trigger binge eating in those with bulimia
Increases PMS symptoms
Increases hyperactivity in about 50% of children
Increases anxiety and irritability
Can increase or intensify symptoms of anxiety and panic in susceptible women
Can make it difficult to lose weight because of constantly high insulin levels, which causes the body to store more fat.
You can probably guess the most common foods that are packed with sugar: chocolate bars, ice-cream, doughnuts, cake etc. But you also find sugar in less obvious foods, such as smoothies, salad dressing, iced tea, spaghetti sauce, even soup!
I would recommend that you start looking at food labels more carefully. Look for the keywords: sucrose, glucose and fructose and choose foods with lower sugar content. Also, skip the soda and sweetened drinks. Eat your fruit rather than drink it. A glass of fruit juice contains an average of 8 fruits, much more than you would eat in one serving!