It’s hard not to indulge in foods that are high in sugar, especially if you have a sweet tooth. Although consuming moderate amounts of sugar is fine, as long as you adopt an active lifestyle along with a well-balanced diet, eating foods that are high in sugar on a regular basis can significantly damage your health.
It doesn’t help that sugar is extremely addictive as well. In fact, research has shown that foods that are loaded with sugar heavily impact the reward system called the mesolimbic dopamine system in the brain. Interestingly enough, drugs are thought to have the same effect as sugar. This is largely due to the fact that once the mesolimbic dopamine system is activated, it induces cravings and addiction. Drugs and sugar both play a large role in leading to the release to dopamine.
Unfortunately, most of us consume sugar on a daily basis. We add sugar to our coffee, tea and even our food. Moreover, not all foods that are high in sugar taste sweet. For instance, batter fried fish, french fries, and frozen pizza are classified as simple carb foods that can be quickly and easily broken down into sugar in the body. By now, I’m sure you are aware of the health implications of consuming too many high-sugary foods. Extensive research has shown that foods that are loaded with sugar can increase the risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Foods You Should be Avoiding
Cereals have always been the breakfast go-to for many people. They are time-savers and extremely delicious as well. Besides being fast, simple and tasty, they are also loaded with sugar, especially the varieties that are marketed to children. It’s best to opt for healthier cereals which contain nuts, dried fruits and whole grains. The high content of dietary fibre and protein in these cereals will leave you feeling fuller and sated for longer. At the same time, they ensure that you start your day the right way. Be aware that some brands may contain relatively small amounts of sugar. Hence, it is best that you read the labels before making a purchase.
Drinking vitamin water has gained a lot of traction over the years. In fact, there has been a growing consensus in the health community that vitamin water contains a significantly higher benefit for the body as opposed to regular water. On the contrary, this isn’t the case. In a nutshell, vitamin water is essentially water that is fortified with minerals and vitamins. Apart from the nutrients that touted to be extremely beneficial for the body, vitamin water contains significant amounts of sugar, to be specific, about 32 grams of added sugar and in addition, an estimated 120 calories in each bottle. In this case, it would be best to stick with normal, plain water instead. If you think you need extra intake of certain vitamins and minerals, consider taking supplements, which will meet the nutritional requirements for your body.
Flavoured Green Tea & Coffee
It’s no surprise that drinking green tea benefits health in numerous ways. Coupled with low amounts of caffeine and high amounts of antioxidants, green tea has been noted for combating certain diseases, preventing premature ageing, and boosting the overall health of the body. However, due to high demand, there has been a rise of flavoured green tea in the market. The distinct flavour and sweet taste of these drinks have essentially become so popular that more and more people are choosing them over regular green tea. However, these flavoured versions contain high amounts of sugar and artificial sweeteners. Additionally, coffee also plays a major role in increasing your sugar intake. It goes without saying that most of us, like our coffee with some amount of sugar and cream. Instead of ordering coffee that is high in sugar, opt for black coffee without any sugar or cream. This way, you are reaping the benefits of caffeine without a truckload of calories to follow. Do keep in mind that drinking too much coffee can adversely affect your health, as caffeine is known to increase cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol, if you aren’t aware, is the body’s main stress hormone, it works with certain parts of your brain to regulate motivation, fear and mood.
Beverages: Sports Drinks, Packaged Fruits Juices & Soda
These days, it seems like a growing number of people are turning to sports drinks to stay awake or even complete a regular activity. In truth, sports drinks are loaded with sugar and they were specifically engineered for athletes and marathon runners who require a readily available high dose of glucose to sustain them for longer periods of time. If you lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle, it is best to steer clear of these kinds of beverages. The same goes for packaged fruit juices that are not only low in fibre and nutrients but high in added sugar, additives, artificial colours and flavours.
It can be a challenge to reduce your sugar intake when most of the foods you encounter on a day-to-day basis have some form of added sugar. On the bright side, limiting your sugar intake has been shown to promote weight loss, improve the overall complexion of your skin by keeping acne at bay, boosting your overall mood and enhancing your sleep.