In recent years, sugar has been at the centre of a vigorous debate, spoken about mostly for the wrong reasons. To the common man, sugar translates to diabetes, fat, extra weight and a host of health issues. Here is a snapshot of the various ways in which sugar affects our bodies.

1. Sugar causes fluctuating glucose levels

Fluctuating blood sugar can cause fatigue, mood swings and headaches. Also possible are food cravings which lead to bouts of false hunger. Studies show, that those avoiding sugar report lesser cravings and also feel more energized and better stable emotionally.

2. Sugar enhances risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease

Often, foods that quickly impact blood sugar contribute more to the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Recent research also indicates a relationship between high-glycemic diets and various types of cancer.Most effects are the result of added sugars working on your body and you need to watch out what you eat. Of course, it’s human nature to binge once a while!

3. Sugar can affect the body’s immune function

Studies show that sugar can interfere our body’s ability to counter disease. Bacteria and yeast feed on sugar and excess glucose in the body causes these organisms to thrive and cause infections.

4. A diet high in sugar can lead to chromium deficiency

A trace mineral, Chromium helps in regulating the body’s blood sugar. Though found in meats, seafood, and plant foods, most could end up with a shortage of chromium due to the refining of starches.  Besides, carbohydrates can also deplete foods of their chromium supplies and the best thing to increase those mineral levels would be to limit the intake of carbs.

5. Sugar speeds up the aging process

While we know that sugars can impact our bodies in more ways than one, they can also tamper with your skin by causing wrinkles and sagging. Once sugar enters the bloodstream, it gets attached to proteins. The mix of these proteins and sugar results in the skin losing its elasticity that leads to wrinkles and aging.

6. Sugar causes tooth decay

Sugar negatively impacts at various levels. While we discuss the life-threatening aspects such as diabetes, there is the basic damage it does which most of us are told about since our childhood. Tooth decay. When sugar is deposited on your teeth, it speeds up the process of decay more efficiently than any other food. So, if you have been told at home or by the dentist to brush your teeth twice a day, it is something to be followed as it prevents sugars from encouraging bacteria and plaque.

7. Sugar could cause gum disease, which could lead to heart disease

Recent studies show that long-term infections such as those from dental issues could contribute to the development of heart disease. The connection that is felt emerges from the body’s inflammatory response to infection. Luckily, this works both ways. It is advised to maintain a healthy lifestyle, that minimizes the risk of infection and common illnesses which reduce the chance of getting a serious condition in the future.

8. Sugar affects cognition in children

It’s is important that we do things right when it comes to our little ones. In an interesting trial, New York City’s public schools reduced the sugar content in their lunches and breakfasts, which led to an increase in academic ranking by 15.7%! The trial also included eliminating artificial colours, synthetic flavouring and two preservatives. What better way to teach the importance of natural ingredients in children.

9. Sugar enhances stress

When we are stressed, our bodies immediately respond by releasing large amounts of hormones. Incidentally, the body responds similarly when there is a drop in blood sugar. This is recognized by the fact that when you eat a sweet, stress hormones raise your blood sugar resulting in anxiousness, irritability, and even shakiness.

10. Sugar replaces important nutrients

Studies have shown that people who consume sugar copiously have low intakes of essential nutrients- vitamins A, C, B-12, and calcium. This is particularly dangerous for children and teens who consume the most sugar while the demand of nutrients is specifically high.

So the next time, you are tempted to go for that extra serving of sugar, or plan to go for that additional slab of chocolate or sweet, think. It’s invariably high in sugar. And that could spell a low for your health.