Emerged to be the single most hazardous component of modern age diet.
Ancient Indian tradition has always regarded sugar and sweet consumption as intrinsic. Data from the India sugar trade industry (2013) show that India is the second largest (after Brazil) producer and largest consumer of sugar in the world.
Refined white sugar such as sucrose and high fructose corn syrup contain an excess amount of calories and zero essential nutrients. Consuming unto 10-20% more sugar than recommended amount can contribute to adverse health effects. It can have harmful effects on metabolism and contribute to a variety of lifestyle diseases.
Padma Shri Awardee Dr. K.K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement said that, “The major problem with sugar is that it contributes to acute inflammation of the walls of blood carrying arteries. The resultant insulin spike from excess sugar consumption starts to damage the fragile arterial walls. Not only this, the tendency of blood to form clots and plaques also increases proportionately with white sugar consumption. This altogether creates an inflammatory environment in the circulatory system which can cause heart disorders and stroke to precipitate. Sugar is also linked to neural damage, recent studies have linked high sugar consumption to pre-mature cognitive decline.”
Sugar also contributes to weight gain which when coupled with sustained high insulin levels, can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes—which further increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.
“Free sugar that is the sugar unbound to any fiber such as in fruits, can lead to global instabilities in the blood which over prolonged periods can lead to health problems. Refined white sugar is also damaging to the digestive system, particularly for those who have difficulty digesting carbohydrates. Moreover, white sugar also increases the effects of hormonal imbalance in women leading to androgynous manifestations like facial hair and in rare cases, ovarian dysfunction. It is better to opt for sources of natural sugar such as sugarcane, honey and jaggery. The sugar in these products is fiber bound and hence healthy.”, added Dr. Aggarwal.
Some tips to avoid excess refined sugar:
• Stay clear of high fructose corn syrup. Watch out for this ingredient in labels.
• Use natural sweeteners like sugarcane, honey or jaggery.
• Eat several small meals a day, rather than three large meals. By eating little portions spread throughout the day, you’ll feel more satiated and be less inclined consume unhealthy sweets.
• Limit alcohol intake.Alcohol contains a large store of hidden sugar.
• Restrict bread and bread products as much as you can, especially those containing wheat. Wheat has a higher glycemic index than table sugar. Avoid white rice and white maida as well as much as you can.