Sugar – A Slayer in Disguise

Dr Sonali Sharma
We all have witnessed moments of guilty pleasure, basking into the ecstasy of our favorite dessert slowly melting down our mouths. Tempted? Well, sugar is to be blamed for this, not you. From the time we come into this world, we get accustomed to the sweetening taste of lactose. And thus develops the unending urge of sugar munching. The divine pleasure of sweetness becomes a part and parcel of our lives.
Sugar is an instant source of energy, breaking into glucose and reaching out to the cells. You wouldn’t be able to enjoy those day long festivities, packed with never-ending stamina, if sugar was missing from your life. Sugar boosts-up your mood instantly and gives a happy heavenly feeling, making it one of the best anti-depressant. Providing immediate energy to the body, it also helps in improving intellectual skills.
But all that glitters is not gold. Excessive sugar leads to a devastating aftermath. According to the World Health Organization an adult male should take in 150 calories per day which is 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons and female around 100 calories per day which is 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar. But today, an average human consumes about 25 -30 teaspoons of sugar per day. Shocking, isn’t it?  The big question which arises now is what happens to the excessive sugar we consume?
As per one of the most renowned nutrition experts Dr. Davis Reuben, the white refined sugar we eat, doesn’t fall into the category of food. The commercial sugar which we use in our day to day household is basically a pure chemical extract from plant source. It is even said to be a purer form of cocaine. No wonder why we feel addicted to it.
The dilemma of ditching sugar in today’s scenario is such that, sugar exists in practically every second thing we chomp on. From mayonnaise to soft drinks, fruits to medicines, you name it and it has a certain amount of sugar present. Completely avoiding sugar is practically impossible but choosing the right form of sugar intake is what we can actually control.
There are basically two types of sugar- the good sugar and the bad sugar. The former can be consumed in form of fruits, which is natural sugar. The later which you consume in form of those high-fructose corn syrups or figure licking chocolate pastries, those are the real Satan! You would be surprised to know that around 184,000 deaths take place worldwide every year because of excessive intake of sugar.  The processed food which we keep crunching on is slowly killing us. The happy meals aren’t making us happy enough!
Sugar not only damages our liver, but also tricks our body into gaining weight, slowly affecting the leptin and insulin rate.  With a forte in metabolic malfunctioning, sugar also increases the Uric acid level in our body, affecting the kidney. So many health hazards and such little benefits;
Well, quitting sugar has always been a good option. But as we know sugar causes addiction, ditching sugar would take more than just words. A lot of determination is required first of all, followed by a strict self-controlled regime. It will be a big self-achievement if one can go sugarless completely, but this too has its side effects. The best way to quit sugar is by lowering the intake gradually. This will give more time for the body to adjust, avoiding headaches, nausea and other side effects.
There are also many healthy substitutes present if you still crave for sugar. Healthy sugar like Honey, Molasses, Stevia, Brown sugar, coconut sugar, date sugar and much more are readily available in the market. Now you can stay healthy while satisfying your sweet tooth. So, go ahead and detoxes your body from artificial sugar and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Because this life, it is yours, and so are your choices!
(The author is Dietician,  Amandeep Hospital, Pathankot)