By Marsha Munsell
..Sugar has more far-reaching effects than the immediate energy burst, burn and drain. Here are a few things to think about. We know about tooth decay. But tooth decay can lead to gum disease and gum disease can lead to inflammation of the coronary arteries. Imbalanced blood glucose can lead to mood swings, fatigue and headaches. The December issue of Health and Nutrition newsletter from Tufts University features a study linking higher blood glucose levels with dementia. “We found that higher glucose levels were associated with an increased risk of dementia in populations with and without diabetes,” says Dr. Paul K. Crane, of the University of Washington, and colleagues.
Sugar is being linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Consuming sweet, nutrient-deficient foods doesn’t leave us much room for nutrient-dense foods. And it seems the more sweets we eat, the more we crave them. Crazy cycle. Ever feel stressed and irritable after too many sweets? Sugar can affect our cognition or our mind’s ability to learn. It can affect how we look! When we eat too much sugar, a process called glycation can occur, where some of the sugar we consume sticks to the proteins in our body, causing our body tissues to lose their elasticity. It can affect our skin and our internal organs. The faster the body loses its elasticity, the faster aging occurs.
How much is too much? Some doctors say any amount is too much. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar every day. And men should consume less than 9 teaspoons per day. That’s about 100 and 150 calories for women and men, respectively.
Good luck curbing your sugar cravings, especially walking by all the after-holiday candy sale displays at the stores. Try to think of the health of your heart rather than those chocolate hearts.....