As a health coach, I’m often asked how many grams of sugar per day are considered acceptable. I like to repeat Dr. Lipman’s “sugar is the devil” warning as I advise clients to keep sugar out of their diet, period. While we all know that sugar is not a health food, given our sugar-saturated culture, it’s all too easy to compare ourselves favorably to those around us who are snacking on sweet treats, ordering desserts, or drinking juice every day.
Given how ubiquitous sugar is in restaurant meals and packaged foods, it takes real effort to completely eliminate sugar from our diet. So, the next time that you’re faced with a tempting treat, remember these key detrimental effects of sugar on your body:
1. Blood Sugar Regulation
Sugar consumption directly impacts the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels and can lead to insulin resistance, hypo-and hyperglycemia, pre-diabetes and diabetes. Uncontrolled blood sugar also can cause damage to blood vessels, impacting the health of the heart, kidneys, nerves, and eyes.
2. Immune System Suppression
Sugar suppresses the immune system through decreasing activity in immune system cells that attack bacteria.
3. Mineral Balance
Sugar inhibits mineral absorption, depriving the body of key minerals necessary for health, and depletes the body of magnesium, which is required for proper functioning of every single cell in the human body and essential for calcium absorption and utilization.
4. Brain Health and Mood
If you’ve read David Perlmutter’s incisive critique of carbohydrates and sugar on brain health, “Grain Brain” you already know that sugar has powerful effects on mood and long-term brain health. Additionally, since B vitamins are required to metabolize sugar and carbohydrates, sugar consumption can lead to deficiencies in the mood-boosting B-complex vitamins.
5. Skin Health
Sugar binds to proteins and fats in the body during digestion to create “advanced glycosylation end products” or AGES, which are free radicals that reduce collagen and elastin in the skin, ultimately causing wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity.
*Image of “sugar” via Shutterstock