What Is Refined Sugar?

Quite interestingly, refined sugar was not there in the human meal plan a few decades ago. Today, it has become an integral part of our lives; in fact, it is the number one reason behind the American obesity epidemic. The USDA recommends only 32 grams of added sugar every day, but the average American eats more than 212 grams of added sugar per day. You can find plenty of it in most of the processed foods today, but you can also find it in sauces, breads, salad dressings, and frozen fruit.

What Is Refined Sugar?

During sugar manufacturing, a special process called refining is used to remove colored components and impurities from raw sugar to get pure, white sugar, which is also called table sugar. Most people think that refined sugar is the one they use in coffees and teas, but you can actually find different varieties of refined sugar.

  • Granulated sugar: It is the most commonly used refined sugar to sweeten beverages such as tea and coffee. It is also used in cooking and baking.
  • Sanding sugar: It has a coarse texture and is used in cake and cookie decoration. It can also add texture to a dessert.
  • Super-refined sugar: Commonly used in commercial food products, this type of refined sugar dissolves quickly and is a good choice for products such as sodas.
  • Powdered sugar: Also called confectioner's sugar, this type of refined sugar has a smoother texture and is a great choice for icings and dessert toppings.

Is Refined Sugar Bad for You?

What is refined sugar? You already have the answer, but is it good? Will it cause any harm?

Refined sugar is not good for your health. Tooth decay is the most common side effect of refined sugar, but it can have a variety of negative health effects, including cancer. Here's why you should avoid it:

  • Addiction: Just like drugs, refined sugar can be addictivemainly because it releases dopamine that makes you feel good. The more you eat, the higher will be the cravings and you will be in a vicious circle of sugar consumption.
  • Poor immunity: It damages your immune system by reducing the overall efficiency of your white blood cells. It makes you vulnerable to diseases and infections.
  • Mineral deficiency: It robs your body of potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and other essential minerals. You will have weaker teeth and bones if you consume sugar in large quantities.
  • Cancer: It may cause cancer because it makes your body to produce more insulin, which promotes the growth of cancerous cells. Several studies believe there is a link between excessive sugar intake and colon, breast, colorectal, pancreatic, and endometrial cancer.
  • Liver disorder: It damages your liver mainly because it is half fructose and half glucose, and your liver can metabolize a limited amount of fructose only. Excessive intake of sugar will overload your liver and lead to disease.
  • Elevated blood glucose: It elevates your blood glucose level and makes your pancreas to secrete more insulin, which will eventually lead to insulin resistance. This causes type II diabetes and leads to storage of fat that causes obesity. Rapid fluctuations in blood glucose levels can make kids hyperactive.
  • Aging: It makes you look oldeven though you're not. It attaches to proteins in your blood and damages collagen. This makes your skin to lose its elasticity and look old.
  • Mood swings: It makes you feel anxious, depressed, and irritable. It will make you feel good initially but your cravings will increase and you will experience a 'crash', which will cause mood swings and other issues.
  • Disturbed cholesterol levels: High sugar intake will lowers level of HDL and increases levels of LDL. This may lead to a heart disease.

How to Reduce Refined Sugar Intake?

You have already understood, "What is refined sugar?" and why it's bad for your health, the next thing you may want to know is how you can reduce refined sugar intake. Well, you need to make a conscious effort to keep refined sugar out of your diet plan.

So many foods contain refined sugar and you have to develop an understanding about those foods to make a healthy diet plan. Here are a few tips to help you limit your refined sugar intake.

1. Check the Label

Sugar isn't only in cake, chocolate, and cookies, it can also be in crackers, sauces, salad dressings, and condiments. Be sure to read the label before you opt for a new product.

2. Take It Slow

Be sure to cut it gradually. If you try to throw it out of your life completely, you will fail very quickly. Set realistic goals and cut back slowly.

3. Avoid Desserts

Say no to desserts, including cake, ice cream, brownies, cookies, and pastries because they are the biggest source of refined sugar. Eat a fruit instead of enjoying a dessert after your meals.

4. Control Sugar Beverages Intake

Limit your intake of sugar drinks because they cause obesity and increase your risk for Type II diabetes. One good idea is to replace sugar drinks like lemonade, sweetened tea, soda, and even fruit juice with water.

5. Find Alternatives for Sugar When Cooking

Be more innovative when cooking your food. You will find so many recipes, both sweet and savory, that require sugar, but you can often enjoy those dishes without even adding any sugar at all. You may not notice a huge difference by cutting sugar in brownie or cookie recipes by one-half. Keep experimenting and you will learn how to prepare delectable dishes without adding too much of sugar.

 
 
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