Do you have a sweet tooth or live for a daily energy drink? The effects of sugar on the body go well beyond an increase in calorie consumption. From the brain and liver to the heart and skin, sugar can wreak havoc on your entire well-being. Making the best dietary decisions starts with understanding how this addictive substance affects the body.
Sugar in its natural form provides a source of energy, which can be acquired from foods that contain carbohydrates — such as fruits, dairy, vegetables and grains. The body is able to digest these foods slowly, leading to a steady supply of energy to cells. Added sugar, on the other hand, provides calories but lacks essential minerals, vitamins and fiber. Americans consume approximately 57 pounds of added sugar each year.
Sweetened beverages, such as energy drinks and sodas, are one of the biggest sources of refined sugar in the average person’s diet. In fact, sugary drinks are the leading cause of tooth decay among children in the United States. After consuming sweeteners, bacteria in the mouth form a thin layer of plaque on the teeth. If left on teeth, plaque can dissolve enamel and cause cavities.
An excess of sweetened foods and beverages can also lead to Type 2 diabetes, weight gain and hypertension, among other health conditions. For more information on how sugar affects the body, see the accompanying resource.
Provided by Zuma Nutrition