Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates are the three macronutrients needed by the body for growth, maintenance and development. Carbohydrates are divided into two groups: Simple Carbohydrates – also known as simple sugars (i.e., table sugar, honey, molasses, and refined carbohydrates) and Complex Carbohydrates (i.e. fruits, vegetables legumes, and whole grains).
Simple sugars move through the bloodstream rapidly, while complex carbohydrates are broken down more slowly.
There is a wealth of scientific evidence that establishes health problems linked to overconsumption of sugar.
Reasons to Avoid Overconsumption of Sugar
- White sugar contains “empty” calories, meaning it adds calories, but lacks vitamins and minerals.
- Excessive sugar intake affects our metabolism. When we overconsume sugar, our metabolism operates inefficiently. This leads to fatigue and sluggishness.
- It raises blood sugar too quickly. ]When this occurs, a large amount of glucose is released into the bloodstream. This triggers the release of insulin.
- It suppresses the immune system.
- Excessive sugar intake promotes aging because the excess sugar attaches to proteins and promotes AGE.
- Causes dental cavities.
- It raises blood triglyceride levels, leading to weight gain and obesity (because when we consume more sugar than is needed for our body’s required energy needs, the rest is stored for later use and any excess is stored as body fat).
- Lowers good “HDL” cholesterol.
Diseases Associated With High Sugar Intake
These include metabolic syndrome and hypoglycemia, Candida (yeast), gallstones, kidney stones, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, hyperactivity, asthma, and arthritis. Also, high sugar intake is suspected in a few dozen other ailments.
Natural Sweeteners and Artificial Sweeteners
Natural sweeteners like molasses, maple syrup and honey are not so problematic because these sweeteners do contain some vitamins and minerals, but they still behave as sugar in the body and they should be consumed in moderation. A discussion of artificial sweeteners is beyond the scope of this article; however, they have been connected to harmful health effects.
What Happens When You Consume Too Much Sugar or Refined Carbohydrates?
Sugar (a fast absorbing carbohydrate) enters bloodstream
Blood sugar is raised
Pancreas secretes insulin in order to move this excess sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells where it is used for the body’s energy needs.
As a result, blood sugar plunges and any excess sugar (glucose) is converted into a substance called glycogen. And if there are excesses beyond what is needed by the body or beyond which can be readily converted to glycogen or if our glycogen stores are “full”, the excess sugar (glucose) and is converted into fat.
If this cycle persists regularly, it is a risk factor for Type II diabetes, since it places repeated stress on the pancreas. The pancreas, over time, can become exhausted and stop producing insulin.
Complex Carbohydrates ─ The Healthier Choice
Complex Carbohydrates contain fiber and digest more slowly and the powerful and sudden release of insulin into the bloodstream is avoided. As a result, the brain and muscles receive the correct amount of fuel, without excess turning to fat. Approximately two thirds of the sugar we eat is used for energy for our brain, and the other third is used by your muscles for their energy needs
The other advantage of complex carbohydrates is that they contain vitamins and minerals – the same vitamins and minerals that are needed to process the carbohydrates our bodies require.
Conversely, eating refined carbs and sugar causes your body to lose nutrients because those foods are devoid of nutrients and you have to get the nutrients from elsewhere in the body in order process those foods. Those sources then become depleted and unavailable for use for other body functions.