The sweet season is upon us. Yet more than ever before, we have reason to believe sugar isn’t quite as sweet as it makes itself out to be.
Whether you're talking about heart disease or diabetes, inflammation or immunity, sugar has a hand in a long list of ailments. And it’s in everything, too. Look at the labels for pretzels and peanut butter, pizza crusts, sauces, cereals and yogurts. It’s abundant in energy bars and drinks as well. It’s even in supplements. In fact, give your kids vitamin gummies and you might as well be giving them candy.
Dextrose, fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose—no matter the form of sugar, it offers calories without nutritional value. It is void of nutrients, protein, healthy fats and enzymes. But it doesn’t stop there. Not only is it void of nutrition it can be damaging to your health.
Although honey is actually part fructose, in its raw form it does offer health benefits. Yet, other “natural” sweeteners such as agave are still largely fructose and are not as natural as their claims make them out to be.
Still, we know that our taste buds are trained for sweetness, that’s why Tespo uses Stevia instead of sugar in its formulas. With Stevia, which derives from the leaf of the South American stevia plant, a little goes a long way in offering a sweet taste. It has zero calories while also scoring zero on the glycemic index. This means it has the sweetness without the unhealthy side effects.
Questioning your sugar intake? Here are 5 more reasons to consider limiting your intake of the sweet stuff:
- Heart disease: A recent study published in JAMA again outlined the significant relationship between cardiovascular disease and eating foods with added sugar. Yet, the sugar industry has never liked these studies. Recent research unveiled that when the heart disease versus sugar conversation began in the 60s, the Sugar Research Foundation paid two prominent Harvard nutritionists to discount the story. This may be why despite a correlation between cardiovascular disease and sugar, Americans continue to consume an average of 20 teaspoons of sugar per day. A number well above the recommended 6 to 9 teaspoons.
- Diabetes: Diabetes affects more than 29 million U.S. children and adults. In fact, a recent study by JAMA estimated that nearly 50% of adults in the U.S. have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Studies have shown that consuming just one serving of a sweetened beverage a day increases your chances of diabetes by 15%. As well, consuming a high amount of fructose or glucose increases blood sugar levels while reducing our sensitivity to insulin. Both of these side effects are considered stepping stones to Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes.
- Immunity: Eating or drinking too much sugar can suppress the body’s immune response. In fact, it can hinder the effectiveness of your white blood cells to fight bacteria for up to 4–6 hours. This is because sugar cells actually resemble the cell structure of Vitamin C. White blood cells rely on Vitamin C to help fight bacteria. But when sugar is present, white blood cells can mistake them for Vitamin C cells. Doing so negates the fighting capabilities of white blood cells.
- Inflammation: It’s known that sugar stimulates inflammation. Why is this bad? Well, heart disease, certain cancers, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, memory loss, even acne can result from inflammation. A little inflammation is okay and even helpful to warding off infection or injuries. But too much can become chronic and lead to serious health consequences. Sugar fans the flames of inflammation by causing increased production of cytokines—messengers promoting inflammation.
- Overall health: Ultimately, sugar can cause weight gain. Weight gain is considered a pathway to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other diseases. Certain cancers, such as pancreatic cancer also have been tied to sugar intake as well as gout, kidney and liver diseases. Sugar has also been associated with reduced memory function. Not to mention, we all know that sugar is bad for our teeth.