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Sugar: Angel or Devil?!

Sugar occupies so much of the world’s land. Sugarcane is the world’s third most valuable crop after cereals and rice, and occupies 26,942,686 hectares of land across the globe. The obesity epidemic – along with related diseases including cancer, dementia, heart disease and diabetes – has spread across every nation where sugar-based carbohydrates have come to dominate the food economy. Think chips, cookies, crackers, snackies. Sugar is more addictive than tobacco and alcohol. Sugar is

potentially responsible for approximately 20% of the caloric content of modern diets. It is central to not only the world’s economy, but also so much of our cultural heritage. Think of your favorite dessert- was it a recipe from your grandmother? Sugar and cholesterol :

“Sugar has deleterious effects on the heart, and it’s important to be aware of them,” says preventive cardiologist Haitham Ahmed, MD. “It has a negative impact on your lipids, your weight and your risk of diabetes. And it provides calories with no nutritional benefits.” Here’s a breakdown of sugar’s impact on lipids, the substances in your blood that contribute to heart disease:

  • Diets high in sugar make your liver synthesize more “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.

  • A sugary diet lowers your “good” HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.

  • Excess sugar profoundly raises your triglycerides (a type of blood fat). At the same time, it inhibits an enzyme that breaks triglycerides down.

Sugar and Metabolism:

Sugar’s impact extends beyond the bloodstream. When you eat sugar, your blood glucose levels quickly rise. This causes an immediate spike in insulin, the fat storage hormone. The more sugar you eat, the more insulin you secrete, and the more fat you build up. “When you have more fat, you become more resistant to insulin. So you secrete more insulin, which leads to more fat storage,” Dr. Ahmed says. “This vicious cycle results in prediabetes and diabetes, weight gain, and metabolic syndrome.”

Unhealthy Sugars:

Foods with a high glycemic index — like soda, fruit juices, pizza, pasta, muffins, bread, and pancakes — spike blood sugar, inviting insulin resistance and weight gain.

Healthy Sugars:

Foods with a low glycemic index — like fresh fruits and veggies, and whole grains — help to stabilize blood sugar. Focus on healthier fat sources like, nuts, olive, coconut, sesame, and avocado oils. Make your diet heavy on organic veggies, beans and legumes.

As I've said time and time again, moderation is the key to a healthy life. Of course we want cake on our birthdays or to ring in the New Year. Celebrate your friend's promotion, and enjoy- once in a while.

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