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Sweet Tooth: Sugar and your Body

There are so many foods now a days and its always hard to tell what we are really eating, its great and so crucial to know what is in what and to check how much sugar is really in the ingredients and also what that sugar does to the body, when things are icky internally we can even have those external icky results in our image, skin, and etc. !

What is sugar?
Sugar is a carbohydrate. If it ends in a “ose” on the label, its going to be a sugar!
There are different kinds of sugars two main categories of sugars are:

monosaccarides like glucose, fructose, and galactose.
then are more complex forms like
dissaccharides like sucrose, maltose, and lactose.

lets break these down a bit and see where hess sugars come from with a cheat sheet..
Cheat sheet to naturally occurring sugars:

Glucose: Occurs naturally in plants and fruits, and is a byproduct of photosynthesis. In our bodies glucose can be burned as energy or converted into liver and muscle fuel(glycogen). Our bodies can actually produce glucose when needed.
Fructose: Is a fruit sugar, which of course occurs naturally in FRUIT. It is major sweet and also occurs naturally in cane sugar and honey!
These next sugars are more complex.. we have:
Sucrose: Found in the stems of sugar cane, roots of sugar beet, and also can be found naturally alongside glucose mainly in certain fruits and other plants.
Lactose: Lastly we have this sugar which is mainly a milk sugar. This is something created as a rest of a process happening in our bodies. Children carry the enzyme necessary to break down the molecule into lactose to be used by the body, while most of adults don’t. We would call that being lactose in tolerant!

These are a few key types of sugars but where do they actually originate from?!
Sugar is usually created as a result of the processing of or mixing of one of two types of plants: sugar beets and sugar cane. These plants are then harvested, processed, and refined and then eventually resembles the white sugar we have come to know, LOVE, and CRAVE! With absolutely no nutritional vale whatsoever, its just pure, refined, sugar.

So the question we have all been waiting for… What happens in our bodies when we eat this sugar?!

Firstly sugar is the living source of tooth decay, and cavities! Shocker? I hope not.
Going further than the food entering the mouth, when it enters the body, it begins to process the sugar in a very specified way..
When consumed your body has two options on how to deal with it:
we can burn it for energy, speaking of fitness being a HUGE plus
we can allow it to convert to fat and store in our fat cells.. of course a huge BOO!

So now we have this sugar in our blood stream and body, so we ask.. What happens next?
When our pancreas detects a great amount of sugar entering in, it then releases a hormone called insulin to help deal with all that sugar rush.
Insulin then helps regulate that level of sugar in our blood stream. Insulin helps store all of this glucose in the liver and muscles as glycogen and in fat cells. Now, often our body struggles to get that balance right, when we consume to much sugar quickly. at this point way to much insulin is released and then results in our blood sugar dropping way below normal levels.

This is what we call A SUGAR CRASH or if you want to get smart in terms (hypoglycemia) and then our bodies respond by telling us GIVE US MORE SUGAR.
This usually happens often and then we consume more sugar and of course the more sugar you consume, the more blood sugar sky rockets up and then our body needs more insulin. Biggest result from this process is fat storage, those pesky fatty areas we all dread and are disgusted of.

Knowing about sugar and how it affects the body is so crucial to being able to know how much we are consuming, be more aware of checking the sugar amounts in all you eat. Of course we can’t completely cut out sugar forever, and if you can then power to you non-sugar goers! But just having a awareness of what amounts of sugars are in what as we grocery shop, eat those bags of chips we always love to eat, and/or just go out regularly for meals!

Carry on with your life but have an awareness and love your body thats been given to you!

Natalie Alvarez